I had remembered very little about Soul Survivor from my first viewing of the film more than twenty years ago, other than I knew it was a good film, so when I sat down to watch it again after such a long time I wondered if it would still leave the same impression on me as it did when I was a teen. I'm happy to report it did, and then some. Unlike so many horror/slasher films of that era Soul Survivor had a menacing feel of some impending evil that threaded it's way throughout the movie, without bombarding the viewer with excessive gore like in other movies of that time, but relying on the strength of it's story instead. I believe this movie to be one of the stand out films for 80s horror, that could certainly hold it's own against the best of that time period.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Although somewhat plodding at times, Sole Survivor is worth the patience for the finale aloneMay 12 2008
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Sole Survivor tells the tale of a lone living women(a "sole survivor" if you will LOL!) left in the wake of a commercial airplane crash(in easily one of the best scenes from the film, the camera pans through the carnage until it comes to her; sitting in her seat amidst the wreckage in silent shock and completely unscathed). Possibly suffering from the post-traumatic affliction known as "survivor syndrome"(depression, nightmares, and anxiety caused by thoughts of being unworthy of life over everyone else killed in the accident), our lead is caught wondering if the recent bizarre happenings and people that have entered her life are truly out for her death, or is it all in her head? Sole Survivor is definitely a well done film; it features excellent acting, effects, music, and direction throughout(Thom Eberhardt would follow this up with the 80's classic, "Night Of The Comet")... what it doesn't feature though, is much in the way of excitement. This is a "slow burn" type of horror experience(i.e. "The Changeling," "Burnt Offerings," "Don't Look Now," etc.) that focuses much more on atmosphere and a creepy premise rather than blood and guts or jump scares(although bare breasts do make a welcome appearance!), but for the patient it delivers with one of the best finales I've seen in quite awhile. Out of the group of four people that I watched this with, I was the "sole survivor" to make it to the credits without falling asleep... again, that's not a knock on the film so much as that when I told them we'd be watching a lost horror flick from 1982 they were probably expecting something quite different(like "The Burning" or "Night Of The Creeps")... now you know the type of movie you're in for at least if you do decide to give it a watch(and it deserves at least one). The DVD from Code Red is very nice, with a fairly clean picture in anamorphic widescreen and plenty of special features for the overly curious(or bored).
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
obscure and great horror movie with an excellent DVD presentation!April 1 2008
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I'm glad to see that Code Red DVD is back in action. To inaugurate their new lease on life, they've started with a genuine lost horror classic. I can't say I'm a big fan of most 80s horror films. Though there were some gems, sub-par slashers, horror comedies, and teen-oriented horror dominated, leaving those who like supernatural, serious, adult horror out in the cold. But here is an excellent exception to the rule that I'd not heard of until recently. Advertising for and reviews of this DVD have focused on the Final Destination connection, but this is actually more closely related to the 1962 classic Carnival of Souls in mood, atmosphere, and plot if you want to make comparisons. No elaborate death sequences here (though I do like the FD films), just a quiet feeling of mounting dread, which is nicely acted, photographed, and directed on a very very low budget. Code Red have done their usual great job. The print of the film is perfect, and extras include audio commentary and an interview with two of the producers (one of whom doubled as an actress in the film), the original theatrical trailer, and trailers for upcoming Code Red releases (can't wait for these). The artwork from the original poster, re-used for this DVD, makes the film look like pure science fiction, but this is a wonderful, creepy horror film all the way. Highly recommended. Code Red has a lot more forthcoming, but to add my 2-cents, I'd love to see them do a deluxe reissue of the similarly atmospheric and extremeley well-done on a miniscule budget Messiah of Evil, which would make a great double feature with this film.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not Just "Plane" HorrorJan. 7 2009
Michael R Gates
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Many horror fans who have only recently discovered the 1983 horror film SOLE SURVIVOR describe it as a precursor to FINAL DESTINATION (2000), but that is actually not an accurate analysis. True, the plots of both films revolve around people who have somehow survived a plane crash in which they were destined to die, but that's where the similarity ends. Whereas the survivors in FINAL DESTINATION suffer inexplicable (and usually violent) deaths as an incorporeal Death seeks to realign the universe, the lone crash survivor in SOLE SURVIVOR is stalked by various denizens of the spirit world--whether ghosts or zombies the film never makes quite clear--bent on bringing her over to the "other side." In that regard, SOLE SURVIVOR should be considered a direct offspring of the cult horror classic CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962) rather than a progenitor of FINAL DESTINATION.
An oft-overlooked but above-average little indie horror flick, SOLE SURVIVOR is notable for bucking the trend in the era when the slasher film reigned supreme in the horror genre. Being a ghost story of sorts, it is bigger on atmosphere than on blatant slasher-type shocks and thrills, and the film consequently contains little gore or gratuitous nudity. However, a couple of really cool blood-and-viscera FX do show up early during the shot of the plane wreckage, and the film's denouement is a tad bit sanguine. And genre fans into T&A will want to watch for an appearance by venerable scream queen Brinke Stevens, whose topless cameo represents the film's only true skin shot.
The DVD release of SOLE SURVIVOR from Code Red presents the film in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (enhanced for widescreen TVs). The source print used for the digital transfer is fairly crisp and clean, though there are occasions when the picture contains excessive grain. The soundtrack is presented in the film's original mono format and is adequate overall, but lines of dialogue seem a bit muffled at times. Bonus materials include a feature-length commentary with the executive producer Sal Romeo, producer/co-star Caren Larkey, and film historian Jeff Burr; an interview with executive producer Sal Romeo and producer/co-star Caren Larkey; the film's original theatrical trailer; and more.
Directed by Thom Eberhardt--better known as the director of teen comedies like NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984), THE NIGHT BEFORE (1988), and the made-for-TV film RATZ (2000)--SOLE SURVIVOR is a well-crafted, atmospheric piece that, unlike most horror flicks of the 1980s, avoids the overuse of violence, gore, and gratuitous nudity, yet it mixes in just enough of those elements to keep things interesting and contemporary. The DVD from Code Red is well worth the price of admission and deserves a place in the collections of all serious horror fans.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Spooky!Feb. 12 2009
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For twenty years I had searched for this film. I believe it was circa 1983-84 that I rented it on the now long defunct video disc format. I saw it once and it never left my memory. That is except for the title! While searching for clues, I found a website called "Find That Film" and- as the name of that website suggests, they helped me find it. This is a creepy film. It isn't the greatest movie but just as it did in the early 1980's, it gave me the willies. The acting is so-so and you can tell it was created on a rather low budget. It is reminiscent of the 1962 cult classic "Carnival Of Souls"- which also scared the heck out of me when I was kid. A young woman is the sole survivor of a plane crash. After she is released from the hospital, weird things start to happen. She becomes bewildered at the strange people that seem to pop up in random places and stare at her. What she does not know is that these are actual people who have recently died and are trying to take her with them. All of this the result of defying a plane crash that she was supposed to die in. The soaking wet girl in the hospital garage who appears just before a parked truck loses it's breaks and almost hits the woman, the guy who walks onto the highway and causes the woman to lose control of her car, the guy staring at her while she eats at a restaurant, the creepy old man staring at her in the park, the spooky man waiting for her at the top of a parking garage escalator, the shadow of a dead man staring at her as she rides away on a night bus etc. I don't know about you but there is something about dead people watching from a distance that gives me the creeps. 1961's "The Innocents" comes to mind on that. After I was finished watching "Sole Survivor", I had a rather unnerved feeling. That means I enjoyed it. Like I said, it isn't the greatest movie but it is effective. It's an appropriate film to watch on a cold dark night snuggled with your girlfriend.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
SS, I owe you my love for horror!April 29 2008
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I am a columnist with a blog entitled SPECIAL EDITION WRITING TIPS, and I have written an extensive salute to this film's use of tension-building and characterization that I'd appreciate you all checking out. Other than that, I have to say this movie scared the crap out of me as a kid, and held up really well when I finally got to see it again on DVD. Great job, Code Red!