Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fair Game (1982)

...aka: Desolation Angels

Directed by:
Christopher Fitchett

I'd heard a few people mention an Australian horror-thriller called FAIR GAME and remember them saying it was pretty good. Little did I know but when I picked up this FAIR GAME I was actually getting the wrong film. Apparently the "good" one is from 1986 and starred John Denver's ex-wife Cassandra Delaney as a wildlife sanctuary worker who is terrorized by three kangaroo hunters. Oops. To make matters even more confusing, there's also an Italian thriller called FAIR GAME, which was also shot in 1986 and starred Sting's wife Trudie Styler as a woman terrorized by a mamba snake inside her home. Of course I didn't know that this FAIR GAME (originally called DESOLATION ANGELS, a much cooler title) wasn't the recommendation until after I finished and came online to look up some information on it. In any case, I approached it with really no expectations and it turned out to be an OK low-budget thriller with some suspense, some action and decent performances all around. I don't regret spending 80-minutes watching it.

Schoolgirl Liz (Marie O'Loughlin) decides she wants to get away from her preoccupied mother for the weekend. She steals one of mom's keys to the secluded family beach house, makes a copy and invites her best friend Joanne (Kerry Mack) to come along. Joanne thinks it would be a good idea to invite new-girl-in-town Jilly (Kim Trengove) along as well. All three girls lie to their parents and then take off toward the beach. Meanwhile, Pamela (Karen West) is pressured into cashing a phony 35,000 check by her criminal boyfriend at the bank. Instead of meeting him at the airport with the briefcase full of money, she takes off. The film then cuts back to the three girls, who are stalked and terrorized on back roads by the occupants of two black station wagons, who follow them around and try to run them off the road. After about ten minutes of close calls, they make it to a police station, report the cars and go to the beach house to start their vacation. Pamela also happens to be hiding out in the same small community and one of the girls befriends her. Those inside the black cars, who turn out to be four sadistic/murderous/rapist thugs, ultimately turn up to terrorize and start murdering the ladies.

Strangely, elements from just about every genre known to man are thrown into the mix. It starts out as coming-of-age teen drama/comedy before turning into a crime flick before turning into a road movie before turning into a DUEL like killer car flick before turning into survival thriller with women fighting back with rifles, broken bottles and even a harpoon. If that isn't enough, it also squeezes in some fairly suspenseful horror stalk-and-slash sequences. It's actually not too bad and I found it pretty entertaining overall. The actors are fairly good, the script is decent and the movie provides a bit of character development to go along with the violence and thrills.

Score: 6 out of 10

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