Here we have a good example of a film that horror fans are completely split on. On the one hand, some see it as a standard, goreless slasher flick - the kind that had been done before, but better. On the other hand, some of us see it as something underrated, utilizing old ideas, but still bringing something new to the table, all the same. After checking it out for myself, I tend to lean a bit more towards the latter.
We are introduced to a TV journalist named Deborah Ballin (Lee Grant), who is in support of a woman who killed her husband after taking too much abuse. Colt Hawker (Michael Ironside) is a woman-hating homicidal maniac, who just so happened to be watching Deborah's opinions on the matter, and he soon seeks out her home for an overall unsuccessful attack, which puts Deborah in the hospital.
When Hawker sees that she's in the hospital, he continues his attempts on her life. Her only real support is from an admiring nurse named Sheila Munroe (Linda Purl) and her boss, Gary Baylor (William Shatner) who, despite their support, consider her paranoid in believing her attacker is hunting her down.
Performance wise, it's decent, but the real star here is Michael Ironside, who does a pretty good job at looking intimidating, and even kinda psychotic. The interesting thing they do with the killer in this case, is put him right out there in the open for the audience to see. However, he still remains a bit of a shadow to everyone else, except Deborah. Usually in a movie of this sort, the killer remains a mystery until the end.
I further just have to appreciate the overall concept. A hospital is a naturally creepy place, and a hell of a lot of people don't even like visiting them. Speaking personally, I'm okay with them unless I'm the one being taken care of. In that sense, this movie really engages that fear of being hospitalized and vulnerable. It managed to get under my skin in parts, but in a good, effective way that a horror movie should.
This one's percentage on Rotten Tomatoes is pretty damn low, and based on so few votes, which leads me to believe that it's a pretty untapped movie altogether. While it's not one for the gore hounds, or even the sacred guild of torture porn that I shall never be a part of, it touches on certain themes that are very much alive in this day and age, and it makes me wonder if it would hold up if people gave it a chance.
It's by no means a masterpiece, and I can understand where critics may come from with their stances. But personally speaking, I kinda found this one to be pretty original in its overall execution, despite the obvious borrowing from other slasher films. I found that showing us the killer from the get-go was an interesting way to engage the audience, again, Ironside's performance is nice and uncomfortable, and the whole hospital concept is effectively creepy. It doesn't stand among any legends, but give it a look and see what you think. I'm probably in a minority here, but I enjoyed it as an decent thriller one might find on TV while channel surfing.
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