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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Fabulous Viking Horror Guilty Pleasure Hacker

7/10
Author: Steve Nyland (Squonkamatic) from New York, USA
24 September 2006

Sure, this movie sucks, but it is a deliberate exercise in bad taste that revels in it's awfulness. Six unlikeable dimwits go up to a secluded camping lodge in the north country for a beer, pot and sex fueled romp at a vacation resort one of them had visited as a kid. Now he is all grown up into an obnoxious, beer-swilling jerk who's lack of personal charm is only matched by the sheer crappiness of the music he blasts on his boom box while everyone else is trying to sleep. People ask me why I have no interest in attending high school or college reunions, the answer is that from my recollection they were all jerks just like him, which also explains why I have developed a taste for low-rent 80s teen horror: Watching the bastards get killed in horrible ways that don't actually require me to do anything that might result in a prison term.

The crew and I have the formula down pat: I get my hands on some grubby old rental tapes of movies you can't rent on Netflix, rustle up a case of beer for Friday night, maybe a bottle of the old sauce and some snack mix. At 10pm we get started with a round-robin discussion that usually devolves into people shouting at me about how much Bush sucks, how evil Bush is, all of the current Bush scandals and outrages, how much Bush has ruined the world, and what a dimwit I am for not seeing through all of the Bush lies, Bush conspiracies, and Bush tyranny that have turned this world into such an awful place. If you ask me the it's always been a sewer. By then we are primed for some serious drinking and it's time for a movie or two we can laugh at together, usually with some common unifying theme. This weekend it was Viking Horror, and by god if BERSERKER with it's stupid, rampaging Viking bear wasn't the more enjoyable of the two, primarily because it had no greater aspirations than to deprive it's female cast members of their clothing, kill the cast off in reverse order of likability and provide a couple of belly-laughs at it's empty headed, vacuous and mercifully quick runtime. The fun is in using our belladonic hazed imaginations to establish how the characters in the film embody traits of those we have left behind us in our journey through time since school: The Jerk, Mr. Popular, his girlfriend Ms. Popular, the Ditz, the Simpering Queer Guy and the Snooty Bitch getting prominent attention in this one. Oh yeah, we knew them all, and waited twenty years to finally get to see them die in a horror movie. "Pass the snack mix, please."

For some reason the lead jerk in the film decides to trick everyone into staying at the exact cabin he bunked at as a kid, thumbing his nose at the kindly old Swedish guy who runs the place and annoying everyone within earshot with his crummy synth metal arena rock. This naturally causes the re-incarnated spirit of a long dead viking warrior to issue forth from his grave in the form of a giant bear -- played convincingly by a giant bear -- who then proceeds to stalk down and tear the girls limb from limb when they venture away from their boyfriends to take potty breaks out in the woods. The bear creeps up on them, startles them, chases them for an arbitrary period of time and then mauls them to death, repeat and rinse. For variety in addition to the Jerk and his buddy Mr. Popular we get the class closeted Simpering Queer Guy complete with his lisp and pink button up shirt. He still gets to score with one of the girls but that's OK, just as long as the Jerk doesn't get any we are happy.

If none of this sounds original or inspired you are absolutely correct and probably touching on the main reason why these movies can be so much fun -- It is reassuring to know that things will pretty much work out the same over the course of 90 odd minutes of the familiar garbage, which of course is endearing now in the age of truly annoying populist junk like CHAOS, WOLF CREEK and HOSTEL who's sole purpose seems to be to mortify those who's remaining pustules of humanity have not already been punctured by five years of the War on Terror. BERSERKER by contrast was made at a time when horror movies were still made to titillate and provoke, and the film's most provocative imagery involves Beth Toussaint (who played Tasha's absolutely gorgeous hot nerd goddess babe sister on STAR TREK: TNG) doing full frontal nudity and screwing like a cowgirl out in the woods under the full moon as her friend is torn apart by the bear during cross cutting editing.

So sex and violence mixed with violence and sex, edited together into some sick montage of orgasms and suffering in case you are too thick skulled to get the point on your own. We watched this as a double bill with the genuinely unremarkable Viking HIGHLANDER ripoff horror opus THE RUNESTONE, which was a better made, classier production that did not have one memorable scene in it's overlong 97 minute runtime. This one clocked in at about 85 minutes and generated belly-laughs all around: It was cheap, sleazy, lurid, entertaining, hilarious, stupid, unassuming, fast and worthy of a second viewing once the hangover had departed to find out just how the movie ended, because like any good party I could not remember how things worked out in the end other than I still had my shoes on when regaining consciousness. Always a prime indicator that you may not have accomplished anything but can rest assured that you had a good time, and in a town like this that is the more important consideration.

7/10

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Boring

3/10
Author: Tikkin from United Kingdom
28 May 2006

Berserker starts off looking like it will be a fairly decent backwoods slasher but it soon becomes apparent that it's another bore-fest. It's a shame because it could have been so much better, and backwoods slashers like this just aren't made any more. The only good points are that there is a nice creepy atmosphere in the woods. The fog that seems to be everywhere seems a bit silly and unrealistic, yet at the same time adds to the atmosphere. The main reason Berserker is so boring is that there is a serious lack of lighting. Whenever someone gets killed, you can't even see it because of the darkness.

Only recommended for slasher completists - everyone else should avoid this bore-fest.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good concept..but ...

4/10
Author: sean-conner-1 from cornwall
11 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The concept of the film is interesting.Based on the true Berserker warriors who were part of the Viking invaders. However the movies spoiled by plot holes eg..why would the door be used when the girls hiding in the cabin,when there's a Window with no cover of any sort!?Also, how could they not here the girls(Chris) screams when the couple were quietly making love!? The acting was fairly overacted in parts.The police Officer gives the best performance.

The fog gives the film a creepy feel and the atmosphere is probably one of the best aspects of this rather cheesy film.Josh's character has some good levels.We get to see a bit of a back story on what he'se been through and why he's such a jerk.

The best part of the movie is Greg Dawsons(Josh)backside!!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I was warned of wild animals and littering, but not a Berserker.

Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
4 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Six college friends camping in the woods for a week-out retreat, learn the history of the area where they're staying at. Supposedly an old Nordic legend tells of a blood-thirsty warrior known as a berserker, which they would be dressed up in bears' fur and wear their snouts as a mask. Vikings used them for raids. Well, it's only a story, but the young adults find out it might be reality when they start being killed off one by one, by an unknown figure, but maybe it's the grizzly bear that seems to be wandering the area.

Awful, awful, awful. Sure I read nothing but damaging opinions on it, but I'm a sucker for backwoods horror films, so I just couldn't pass it up. In all, it was mostly a weakly done and very tatty cheap third-rate woodland slasher item with the usual textbook plot slanted within its tiredly predictable stalk and slash structure. Sometimes being an inept production can raise some unintentional fun (like "Don't Go In the Woods"), but "Berserker" was a incoherently lifeless drag. Sex (a rather hot and heavy scene) and blood runs freely, but these attack scenes are plain insipid. The killer basically rubs the blood on its victims and delicately scratches them to death with its claws and teeth. Oh, it's laughable! Something even more eye-boggling was that we had in one corner a caring grizzly bear and in the other the Berserker, which they came to blows in one oddly interesting, if senseless clash. The bear (maybe on its search for a picnic basket) does get plenty of screen time (more than the Berserker) thanks to the questionable editing, but it goes on to feel redundant to the story. What we get of the berserker is disappointing, and lacking with more talk of it than action. The grimy look of the film can get sinisterly atmospheric, but they indeed went overboard in letting the fog creep into all of the night sequences. Sullen lighting works at times, the open locations standout, a brooding score keeps right at it and so does the louring sound effects. Too bad that the stringy direction fills up the plodding running time with stuffy shenanigans, aimless strolls in the woods, moronically exasperating collage twits and numbingly old-hat jump scares. It's pretty empty on the suspense front, because were lampooned by a ghastly terrible rock soundtrack and bland photography telegraphs everything in an straight-forward fashion. This lazily amateurish handling, really lets slip of an more than decent and fascinating folklore belief. Instead of working something good from this inspired premise, it goes up the same worn-out path and falls into ridiculous patterns with a mundane script. I didn't think the performances were overly cruddy, but Beth Toussaint stands out for a particular reason and a cocky Greg Dawson. The versatile veteran actor George 'Buck' Flower's fervent performance was a breath of fresh air and a modest John Goff's plays a concerned, washed-up sheriff.

A sloppy, grubby and daggy bottom-barrel slasher exercise, which no wonder why it's pretty much a forgotten staple of its sub-genre.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Expect long scenes of idiots stumbling through the woods...

Author: BillyBC from Vancouver
20 September 2002

(* out of *****) Here's a bad idea for a slasher movie: Get the audience all stoked and build their expectations by setting up a terrifying, Viking warrior killer called a `berserker' who tears apart and cannibalizes his victims, but then don't even reveal him until the last fifteen minutes. Instead, have half the cast (and the best-looking half on top of that) get killed off by a stupid, boring bear. Seriously, this frustrating movie doesn't know whether it wants to be "Friday the 13th" or "Grizzly 2," and the bear attacks are drawn out and laughably fake looking. Even though it clocks in well under an hour and a half, much of this turkey is still padded with long, tedious scenes of old men playing chess and making fun of each other's hearing and frightened doofuses walking through the woods or limping and falling through creek beds. When the berserker is killed, his mask disappears off of his face for some reason, as if he's a werewolf. Curiously, of the six main characters, only two of them are killed (and the violence is minimal), so I'm wondering just to whom the heck this supposed `slasher' film is targeted. B-movie veteran George `Buck' Flower is the only actor of note in this mess, but I'm sure even he would like to forget it. The Blockbuster Video Guide gave this movie three stars -- I seriously want to meet the person who sat down, watched this entire movie, and said to him/herself, `Now that's three-star entertainment!'

Lowlight: The `climactic' fight between the berserker and the bear. Most of the time, it looks like they're just hugging each other.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Only for the most undemanding horror fans.

4/10
Author: gridoon
15 November 2002

The berserkers, we learn, were a special breed of cannibalistic Viking warriors that used to wear bear masks and skins and attack their enemies with a primal rage. The premise of six kids being hunted by one such "creature" in the middle of the woods on a dark night may sound scary, but this film is too much like so many others to make it so. It does feature the requisite amounts of blood and sex, and also more-than-requisite amounts of wandering around, while the persistently ominous score keeps on playing and playing. (*1/2)

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Another mediocre slasher flick.

4/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
3 June 2005

A group of teenagers head out for an adventure into the woods,trying to spook each other with stories of fabled Viking warriors who used to wear the skins and snouts of bears and go berserk in order to frighten their enemies.Soon,the teens are disappearing,being dragged away to gory deaths by a hairy,half-seen being."Berserker" by Jefferson Richard is an average slasher flick.It offers some bloody deaths and lots of boring bumbling in the woods.The funniest thing is that whenever there's a kill scene,we see the bear.The pace is slow,the editing is bad and the final fifteen minutes are completely laughable.There is a pretty steamy sex scene in the woods but it is inter-cut with a death scene to make both scenes look tacky.There is very little gore,so I was slightly disappointed.Overall,"Berserker" is one to avoid unless you want to see every 80s slasher film.4 out of 10 and that's being kind.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A strange and stupid film

Author: bloodymurder101 (bloodymurder101@hotmail.com) from bristol, england
19 December 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ok, for a start, the beginning is pretty good, a guy dies and its meant to be a rumour, you see the guy dying but no ones sure if he really did or not, its just a rumour, i like that idea. but after that the film is totally daft. for a start, i thought the berserker was just a warrior later on you realise it was one of the guys you see. i dont wanna spoil it and tell u who it is but you'l never guess. ~~~SPOILER~~~ at the end where the berserker dyes, he mutates back into the indian guy, WHATS UP WITH THAT. i enjoyed watching the film then they just pop out with some sad and crazy ending. this film is worth £5 or $7

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A bare-faced cop-out.

4/10
Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
9 May 2009

Boasting an insane, bear-mask wearing, cannibalistic Viking for a killer, Berserker promises to be a cut above its mid-80s slasher contemporaries. Unfortunately, director Jefferson Richard does nothing to capitalise on this cool concept, instead preferring to travel down a path already well-worn by countless other stereotypical horrors.

Dumb, horny, pot-smoking teens vacationing at a remote cabin in the woods; a country cop with no patience for city kids; a creepy campfire tale to set the scene; alfresco sex followed by death: this one packs in the clichés whilst neglecting to make the most of the one thing that could possibly have saved it from mediocrity—its bad-ass-sounding Norwegian nut-job.

For most of the film, all that is shown of the titular berserker are fleeting shots of a clawed paw; frequent shots of a grizzly bear wandering in the woods even go to mislead viewers into thinking that the killer has somehow taken on ursine form (although a fight between the berserker and the meandering grizzly eventually clears up this confusion). In the film's closing moments, we finally get to see the killer, and it soon becomes patently obvious why Richard decided to keep him hidden for so long: he looks crap!

Also serving to make the production look super cheap and unconvincing are the terrible lighting and smoke effects designed to create a creepy atmosphere, but which just look plain daft, and the crap gore effects which consist of a few naff claw scratches and a smattering of fake blood.

Thanks heavens for the fact that the film has a half decent cast (including a turn from prolific genre legend George 'Buck' Flower) and that gratuitous outdoor shagging scene—otherwise it would be a complete waste of time.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Berserker

3/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
20 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A group of friends are on a camping trip where they encounter a "nordic beast" which assaults(more like mauls them)with bear claws. Out in the darkness of the wilderness somewhere near their cabin(or another's cabin they "borrow"), this group is lost, hoping to find their way back, but this will be a dangerous quest as the "berserker" is somewhere in the midst, ready to strike.

Based on legend, the berserker is said to be a descendant of the Vikings, savage humans, in bear skins(wearing their heads and arms equipped with claws), cannibalistic even, who eat their prey. It was said, as part of the legend, that the souls of the berserkers were not allowed into heaven, and so they continue on, invading the bodies of their ancestors. Could this be who is after the group of college youths just out of the city for some fun?

Most of the attacks are claws to the victims' faces and bodies. Some nudity and sex between boyfriend/girlfriend, Mike and Shelly(Joseph Alan Johnson and Beth Toussaint)before the berserker goes on a rampage. It all started with Josh's girlfriend, Kristi(Shannon Engemann)having to urinate, with Mike and Shelly going to see what was taking her so long. While the lovebirds were engaged in sex, Kristi was being attacked. Soon the entire company is in the woods, searching for an exit. Josh(Greg Dawson)used to come to the cabins all the time with his father..he's the one of the group who who can be a pain in the ass, and is a bit of a mischief maker. He tosses out a beer can and is pulled over by police officer, Hill(John Goff), not the right start to their vacation. Hill warns of littering and sends them on their way. George Buck Flower is Pappy Nyquist, who runs the campgrounds and cabins where our gang wish to crash. Pappy is from "the old country", his w's sounding like v's. Hill and Pappy are life long friends and discuss, vaguely, the Norse legend. We get the impression that those outside the city, aren't very fond of the outsiders who show up to leave garbage for them to clean up. The area where the cabins are located had descendants of the Vikings/berserkers, which might explain who is behind the murders which soon transpire. Or, as the filmmakers point out, a bear shown wandering about in the woods could be the culprit. When Larry(Rodney Montague) breaks a leg stumbling over a log, Josh will remain with him as Larry's girlfriend Kathy(Valerie Sheldon)and Mike go for help. A constant in this movie is the discovery of past victims, buried in bushes or hidden underneath tree branches, which obviously shock and frighten the cast not expecting corpses in the general area. Basically carries the structure of the wilderness slasher movie, with a "berserker" and claws replacing a knife-wielding maniac. Buck Flower completists might want to check this out. The ending I found pretty silly and more than a bit bewildering, the way the berserker responds to sunlight and how the image of "it" changes as the film closes.

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