“The Survivor” follows the story of a pilot who is the lone survivor of a tragic plane crash. Although disjointed and suffering from acute memory loss, he is unharmed physically. Questions arise as to why the plane went down and how is it possible that one man could walk away unscathed. Soon, mysterious deaths begin taking place that tie back to the crash. The reason for the deaths and the crash soon become apparent due to the pilot's discoveries and the help of a mysterious woman’s intuition after she witnessed the event.
“The Survivor” is an Australian film sporting international talent. Directed by actor-turned-director, David Hemmings, the cast list features some impressive names including Robert Powell, Jenny Agutter, and Joseph Cotton. The acting is fairly solid with a strange performance from lead Powell as the pilot survivor; his mannerism and facial expressions are fairly subdued leading one to accusatory thoughts. Jenny Agutter is good and plays the difficult part of a psychic of sorts believable. Her connection with the dead and Powell is an integral role in the film and, without it, too much is left out. Ralph Cotterill shines during the climax of the film during a thrilling reveal; this is a nice derailment from his good but typical performance as an unhappy man in charge. Based on a novel by famed horror author James Herbert, people expected some splatter but the film opts for a different approach, one with dread and suspense. The music cues, the laughing children, and burning dolls help in particular with one such moment as a nasty photographer meets his end. The tone, plot, and execution bring a couple films to mind; the fellow Aussie film “Patrick”, due to its vibe and the 1983 film, “Sole Survivor”, which carries a similar plot. The entire film's set up and pay off takes much longer than it should. The film gets to the twist through a bit of ineptitude and arguments among the cast. The whole thing has a couple unneeded dramatic plotlines that don’t pay off as they should. By the end, the twist is pleasing but more fitting for a 30 minute slot on television. With that said, it doesn’t stop “The Survivor” from being a slick looking production with a well picked cast, an interesting concept, a haunting score, and some sprinkling of genuine dread.
“The Survivor” is presented in 1080P and looks good, especially for 1981. The disc is filled with features including an extended end scene, interviews, archival television programs featuring interviews, a 30 minute Antony I Ginnane trailer reel, and a look into the books of James Herbert.
Director: David Hemmings
Cast: Jenny Agutter, Robert Powell
http://www.cavd.com/product.php?productid=2744 - Blu-Ray
http://www.cavd.com/product.php?productid=2743 - DVD
When a 747 crash lands in a Sydney suburb - a still-spectacular sequence that helped make this the most expensive Australian film of its time - the inferno kills everyone on board except the pilot (Robert Powell of JESUS OF NAZARETH and TOMMY) who emerges from the wreckage miraculously unscathed. But as a local psychic (Jenny Agutter of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON) begins to communicate with the spirits of the doomed passengers, it will unlock a nightmare of madness, murder and supernatural horror.
Hollywood legend Joseph Cotten in his final film performance co-stars in this shocker directed by British film icon David Hemmings (BLOW-UP, DEEP RED) and produced by Ozploitation maverick Antony I. Ginnane (THIRST, PATRICK, TURKEY SHOOT), featuring haunting cinematography by Academy Award® winner John Seale (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD) and now transferred in 2k HD for the first time ever.
- Not Quite Hollywood Extended Interviews with Producer Antony I. Ginnane and Cinematographer John Seale
- The Legacy of James Herbert
- Robert Powell on James Herbert - Archive TV Special On Location Featuring Interviews with Stars Joseph Cotten and Peter Sumner
- Archive TV Interview with David Hemmings
- Archive TV Interview with David Hemmings and Robert Powell
- Antony I. Ginnane Trailer Reel
- TV Spot