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Burndown (1990)

R | | Thriller | 16 May 1990 (USA)
Women are killed and raped in a small town near a condemned nuclear power plant. The bodies turn out to be very radioactive. The sheriff and a female reporter start to investigate.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Stern
Patti Smart
Hal Orlandini ...
James Manners
Michael McCabe ...
Doc Roberts
Hugh Rouse ...
George Blake
Victor Melleney ...
Gay Lambert ...
Nadia Bilchik ...
May Ellen
Joanne Warde ...
The Mugger
Alan Granville ...
Joe Barnes
Owen De Jager ...
Terry Coleman
Graham Weir ...
Lindsay Reardon ...
Hunter (as Lyndsey Reardon)
Ron Smerczak ...
Maria Schoeman ...
Jake's Date


Women are killed and raped in a small town near a condemned nuclear power plant. The bodies turn out to be very radioactive. The sheriff and a female reporter start to investigate.

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16 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fuego vivo  »

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hot in Florida
10 November 2001 | by See all my reviews

This English film was shot in location in Thorpeville, Florida which explains the odd accents, where Irish brogue keeps slipping through the Southern drawl. Thorpeville is a ghost town after the nuclear power plant was "mothballed", yet there remains enough of a population to allow for a serial killer to be on the loose. Attention is focused on the former power plant when the killer's mark is making his victims radioactive, something which director James Allen represents via a white strobe light on contact. He also breaks necks, claws, and enjoys necrophilia. The screenplay by Anthony Barwick and Colin Stewart, based on a novel by Stuart Collins, therefore incorporates Freddy Kruger and The China Syndrome. You can guess from the title that there is much use of temperature metaphors, but also a surprising anal fixation, with repeated "Move your ass". Unfortunately the treatment is more interested in it's sci fi doomsday nuclear plot than the serial killer genre, so it becomes the opposite of titles like Scream where all you get are the killings. Of the killings that are shown, one uses the cliched subjective camera, but at least the familiarity of the convention and the laugh it raises, creates some interest. Otherwise there is a mire of bad guys and multiple surveillance that destroys any tension. Even given that Thorpeville is a dying metropolis, the underpopulation of scenes makes one consider the production's budget limitations. Allen gives us unprotected transporters of a radioactive body where previous exposure had required the Silkwood shower, a man burned to death in slow motion, Hal Orlandini as the head of the plant speaking phonetically, and Cathy Moriarty as the romantic interest for sheriff Peter Firth, whispering her lines.

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