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Anthony Michael Hall,
When the peaceful Morris family move to a small town and buy the town grocery store, they run afoul of the Cullen family. The Cullen's have been bullying the town's folk for years, and now they are harassing the Morris family every chance they get. Matt meanwhile meets and starts seeing a lot of Becky who also likes him. Unfortunately her last name is Cullen, and when the rest of the family finds out about their relationship, they decide to get even, and their harassment is elevated to vicious assault.Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Around the same time as Sean Cunningham's similar in vein "The New Kids", came director Paul Lynch (the original "Prom Night", ''Humongous'' and ''Cross Country'' to his name) with his Canadian produced mean-spirited, brutal and intense small rural town revenge / vigilante thriller. Quite grippingly bold, dangerously impulsive and competently made, making it just as good if not better than Cunningham's feature. It won't win any awards for its simple, routine plot, but it's pulled off with such exploding ticker and vigorous verve in really exploiting its primitive thirst for violence and control. There's no holding back, but what really makes this one work are the villains of the piece. The Cullen family (well the father and three sons) are a really hateful bunch of intimidating psychos that will always get their own way, until the city folks the Morris family arrive on the scene. While passive at first to the Cullen's strangle hold over the town, the Morris' soon begin to question the Cullen's on-going harassment until one unpleasantly scarring incident occurs that really tips the once mild-mannered father over the edge and the fear is turned around for a bloody confrontation. This is when it opens up to a thrilling last half, which is excitingly electrifying and dark. Bill Croft crafts a dominating presence as the father Ben Cullen. Bernie Coulson, Adrien Dorval and William Nunn are solid as sadistically nutty sons. Then you have the drop dead gorgeous Olivia d'Abo as the unlucky sister, who numerously finds herself at the wrong side of her father and brother's aggression. The Morris' are likeably played by Stephen Hunter (who mightily grows in the role), Janet-Laine Green and Jonathan Crombie as the tough, determined lad Matt. Dehl Berti is appealingly good as somewhat a mentor figure for Crombie's character. Especially those talks of the spiritual side of his people and you can't go pass the spearing skills he taught him that did come in rather handy outside of just fishing. The relationship and lessons formed between the characters (mainly between Crombie and Berti and Crombie and Hunter) might be old-hat, but remain thoughtful in its character drawings to make the gruelling situations even more stirring. It's emotionally driven by its characters, which are helped by the convincing performances when everything erupts. Lynch's grounded style keeps it edgy and well-paced in a technically sound production, blending the dynamics of its atmospheric score and picturesque mountainous backdrop. The latter having many stunning background shots.
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