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A young Soldier is killed in the line of duty in Vietnam. That same night, the soldier returns home, brought back by his Mother's wishes that he "Don't Die"! Upon his Return, Andy sits in his room, refusing to see his friends or family, venturing out only at night. The Vampiric horror is secondary to the terror that comes from the disintegration of a typical American family. Written by
R. L. Strong <email@example.com>
This is a horror film that expands the boundaries of the genre.
Put simply, it is a film about a dead man walking, but this dead man "died" in Vietnam before he returned home and his unexpected arrival opens many wounds within his family and amongst old flames and acquaintances.
Director Bob Clark is not satisfied depicting returned vet "Andy" as a zombie. Although he does crave human flesh and speaks infrequently, part of the film's charm is the reaction of people to the dead man's less-than-chipper mood.
Shots of Andy rocking like an autistic child are priceless, as is a "conversation" Andy has with the mailman who laments the returned boys "we should have lost". The family pet is not exactly Andy's best friend anymore, either.
John Marley as Charles Brooks, Andy's dad, is really great here. Although he tries hard to accept the new Andy, we really experience his gradual realization and disappointment that Andy is not the same Andy anymore.
Jim Backus is brilliant as the undead vet. He uses his voice to convey Andy's apparent indifference to life back home and adopts a strange, somnambulistic gait.
Technically adequate for a low budgeter, the film's richness of character and situation never shifts our attention to any production deficits.
One of the best horror films ever.
Truly creepy and, ultimately, very sad.
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