Three couples set off to spend some time in the desert. At first all is well and they all have a lot of fun (if you know what I mean!). Watching their fun is a mysterious stranger in a ... See full summary »

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Three couples set off to spend some time in the desert. At first all is well and they all have a lot of fun (if you know what I mean!). Watching their fun is a mysterious stranger in a pickup truck, who has plans for some fun of his own that the youngsters aren't going to appreciate. Written by Rob Hartill

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Amazing Lost Slasher Gem
3 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've seen some really obscure slashers in my day, but MIRAGE has to be one of the hardest to find. Never released on video in the US (no idea why not), it's near impossible to find on the internet or elsewhere. Sometimes, with certain movies, the obscurity is understandable (HEAVY METAL MASSACRE), but here, I am very perplexed.

Three couples decide to head out to the middle of the desert for a little R&R. However, they soon begin being menaced by a black truck and an unknown driver. Then the mysterious driver begins bumping them off one by one. Who is this man? What does he want with them? Is he real, or is it all just a mirage?

I imagine MIRAGE came about when someone thought to his/herself, "Say, I wonder what would happen is Steven Spielberg's DUEL was a straight-up slasher, and with a group of teens instead of Dennis Weaver?" Well, that idea culminates here, and it's actually not as campy as you would think. Sure, the acting isn't the best in certain spots, and some of the characters do dumb things, but those can easily be forgiven through what good things MIRAGE has to offer.

I've always said that in order to create a perfect (or at least near perfect) slasher is spend thirty minutes on character development and maybe one or two murders, forty to fifty minutes on stalk and slash, and ten to twenty minutes on killer confrontation. MIRAGE follows this nearly to a tee and it works wonders for it.

The characters were all likable and believable, and even the "jerk" character was likable to a degree. The setting doesn't feel forced (it doesn't feel like these characters came here just to get killed), as they actually partake in believable activities instead of just constant sex. They also act like they're all friends, as opposed to just non-stop bickering. There's also some entertaining montages, such as them playing football or one of the couples making love in the back of a pick-up while a weight presses on the gas as they roar across the desert.

The kills in MIRAGE are all gory and well-done, even if they aren't too creative. We get to see the aftermath of a messy meeting of a head and a grenade, an arrow through the head, a dismemberment, etc. However, don't think that the kills are all MIRAGE has going for it. There are some brilliant suspense sequences involving the truck menacing the final girl and whoever else is with her. The desert is one of my favorite underused slasher settings, and it's done to perfection here. They make this desert seem so vast and endless, which really builds on the isolated atmosphere.

I don't think it would be too much of a spoiler to say that the killer is someone completely random, however, one might get the feeling the film is trying to be a whodunit because of how the audience never sees his face until the final ten or so minutes. There is some good suspense when he gets out of his truck and chases the final girl around some rocks while taunting her. There's also a twist ending that I didn't care for, but oh well.

I love this movie with all my heart. It has nearly everything I look for in an entertaining slasher flick: Likable and fun characters, good gore, great pacing, lots of suspense, a phenomenal setting, and good acting to boot. I just wish they had used the concept of mirages more.

Highly recommended, if you can find it.


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