The Merits of Sin: Sole Survivor (1984) (USA)

Low key horror can creep under your skin and stay there for awhile. You can forget about it for days and sometimes, without any trigger, it can hit you again. The visceral can disturb until the next set piece , the jump scare can give you that flash of butt clenching adrenaline, but that low key stays with you. I love every kind of scare and find merit (sounds familiar) wherever the horror lurks but as film after film plays out before me it’s the low key ones that I tend to remember. It’s why Sole Survivor has stuck with me for decades and will continue to do so till the day I go off to the next adventure.

Ain’t no thang

Denise Watson is viewed as being one lucky ducky. She is the lone survivor of a horrible plane crash and on top of that she came out of it unscathed. Her luck seems to be carrying on as well when she begins a romantic relationship with the hunky young doctor who treated her whilst she was in the hospital. On the other side of things, a struggling actress who has booked a coffee commercial that Denise is a higher up on, had a horrifying premonition of the plane crash and the terrible aftermath in store for Denise. Knowing she’ll come off as a loon, Karla Davis risks her career to warn Denise of the lurking darkness coming her way. Denise, of course, blows it off but silent and sickly humans begin watching her and wherever they pop up it seems life threatening accidents follow.

Creepy kid creepin’

Her doctor boyfriend believes she is experiencing survivors guilt and is worried she may add to the sobering amount of survivors that end up taking their own life. Denise insists she wants to live but it would seem whatever force death may be does not like being shorted and is coming to collect. Not only is Denise in trouble but so is anyone in a close radius to her. When the accidents fail, the human things following her begin to take a more hands on approach to collecting a debt.

Death is calling, do you accept the charges?

The slow crawl of dread is beautifully captured in Thom Eberhardt’s film. The air of inevitability chills to the bone and there are some expertly pulled off shocks as the climax runs its course. It’ll stay with you long after the outcome and that’s all you can really ask for from a serious low budget fright flick. 7/10


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