Neve McIntosh, Shaun Dooley, Linzey Cocker, Trevor Hancock, Dean Andrews, Paul Opacic, Kevin Harvey, / Fiction / English
A military experiment goes horribly wrong, in this triumphant low-budget Brit horror.
Families and horror go together, from Psycho (1960) to The Shining (1980) to Mum and Dad (EIFF 2008). Horror tropes externalise the tensions, rivalries, sexual currents and violent impulses seething beneath the surface of any domestic set-up. Indeed, familial unease symbolised as monster is a precinematic, fairytale tradition: the wicked stepmother, the wolf in grandmother's bed. Written by Colin O'Donnell, Lawrence Gough's clever and emotionallycharged film combines this tradition with two newer social threats: the encroachment of political extremism into the domestic sphere, and the use of biotechnology and genetics in the development of new weapons systems. Beth (Neve McIntosh), a high-flying but neurotic divorced mother, is in trouble with her teenaged daughter, who's just found her with the latest one-night stand and fled in rage. Simultaneously, there's a violent incident outside, and the quiet cul-de-sac suddenly becomes the scene of a siege complete with armed soldiers. In the ensuing confusion, Clive reveals some prejudices (he's convinced there's an Al Qaeda cell next door), while Beth explains that – having chosen to prioritise her career as a doctor – she has opted not to live permanently with her daughter. Once they discover the true nature of the problem, Salvage morphs from thriller into sci-fi monster movie – but Beth's confession remains key. Guilt drives her to take desperate risks to prove she is devoted to her daughter, and in true Beauty and the Beast style, sensing her own 'unnatural' maternal failings creates an undercurrent of emotional association between her and the monster. The consequence is a horror film with rare emotional impact as well as a pertinent political dimension. McIntosh is a marvellous lead, charging Beth with the same steeliness and concealed vulnerability that made Sigourney Weaver's Ripley such an enduring creation, and sophisticated special effects give the scarier moments real force. Another excellent product from the Digital Departures scheme, which also funded Of Time and the City (EIFF 2008) and K I C K S (see p36), Salvage makes highly impressive use of a small budget. One economy that nicely intensifies the sense of the familiar and domestic gone insane: Salvage was shot on the disused sets from the classic Merseyside soap Brookside.
Director: Julius Amedume
Producer: Nuala O’Leary
Editor: Michael Aaglund
DoP: David Liddell
Production Designer: Sophie Neil
Sound Production: David Pringle
Music: Paul Lambert
#1/ Wednesday 24 June, 2009 / 21:56 GMTIt starts off well but becomes surprisingly cliched and pulls out some stock and unintentionally funny moments. It doesn't hold up well in the second half.
#2 / Wednesday 1 July, 2009 / 10:17 GMTI watched this film and thought is was very interesting. A great blend of horror and Thriller. Very tense and claustrophobic and brilliant performances from the two leads.
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