If a direct-to-video movie can't be good, it can at least be campily entertaining. At an early juncture, this schizophrenic enterprise abandons the pretense of being a spiky thriller about an imperiled lady and correctly chooses to become a crude black comedy about a resourceful dame
turning the tables on a psychotic.
Self-made, pompous tycoon David Hawkner (James Brolin) toys with retirement from the company he built. Before turning over the reigns, however, he invites a corporate ladder-climber, Patrick Hausman (Wolf Larsen), and his diabetic wife, Bella (Courtney Taylor), to accompany him and his wife,
Claire (Kelly LeBrock), on a wilderness weekend to test the upstart's mettle. Impatient with David's macho posturing, devious Patrick takes matters into his own hands by hacksawing David's snowmobile. Unfortunately, the women choose to cruise the mountainside in the sabotaged vehicle, and Bella is
accidentally killed. Doctoring David's spare tank with water before David takes the snowbike to get aid 100 miles away, Patrick also dismantles the distress radio so bruised Claire can't signal for help.
Barely strong enough to foil Patrick's plan to inject her with Bella's insulin, Claire wounds Patrick with a pen, escapes his clutches, and later sticks him with the insulin needle. Although she neatly trusses Patrick up, a neighbor, Mr. McCready (George Touliatos), innocently unties her
tormentor. After blasting McCready and his snowmobile into flames, Patrick shoots a recaptured Claire, finishes off the badly burned McCready, and corners the wounded Claire in a shed. When David and mountain troops show up, Claire tosses Patrick a pistol smeared with superglue which sticks to his
hand. When the police spot Patrick brandishing a weapon at them, they shoot him down, no questions asked.
Can it be this thriller's intention that Brolin's tycoon Hawkner is such an arrogant control freak, you can't entirely blame Patrick for wanting to murder him out of the company ownership? Fortunately for the film and for viewers, Brolin absents himself for much of the film, leaving a hard-working
LeBrock to play hide-and-seek with her husband's nemesis.
Baiting each other like a secret society of S&M weekenders, snarling LeBrock and eye-popping Larsen seem invigorated by vocational cruelty. Why doesn't the unhinged yuppie just toss Claire off the nearest crevice? Because the audience is having too much fun watching them duel with hot tongs or
industrial-size sewing hooks. Jolted suspensefully by Claire's survival antics, the film is aesthetically sloppy but schlockily diverting. LeBrock and Larsen slamdance each other with exuberantly lunatic overacting, recalling the heyday of such past ham masters as Jack Palance, Robert Newton,
Susan Tyrell, and Shelley Winters. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, extensive nudity.)
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