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DVD Review: The Victim

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Our friends out at Anchor Bay shipped over a little something to prove that horror movie season is rolling strong; specifically, they sent a copy of “The Victim” out for us to review, and if you like your horror twisty, well, strap in–this one’s going to crank.

“The Victim” follows a young lady–a stripper by trade–who’s just left the scene of a horrific murder, with two police detectives close behind her. Sounds straightforward enough, until you consider two important points: One, she didn’t do the killing, and two, the detectives did.

Our young stripper finds her way to the solitary cabin of a backwoods recluse–doesn’t this just sound like it went from bad to worse?–but when she gets there, she’s going to discover that there’s a whole lot more going on. And just who survives the night…well…that’s going to be very much up for grabs.

This may surprise you, but not only is Michael Biehn the lead actor in this one, he’s also the writer, and the director. Biehn’s got an awful lot on his shoulders for this one, and it’s not hard to think that he’s got so many balls in the air that he’s pretty much guaranteed to drop at least one. After all, he’s not Francis Ford Coppola or Steven Spielberg; he’s a guy who’s probably best remembered for playing a Navy Seal alongside Charlie Sheen.

Further considering that the first bit of dialogue we hear is from a guy having sex in the woods with some girl before he snaps her neck, it’s clear we’re not in for a tame ride here. Some might call this exploitative–indeed, the back of the box will do just that in its choice of box quotes–but it’s certainly enough to make one sit up and take notice of Michael Biehn.

Biehn has been clearly playing from old-school horror on this one. There’s enough blood and violence for three movies in this one, and Biehn is obviously running the Hobbesian approach here: nasty, brutish and short. The last ten minutes are actually a bit disturbing in their content, from the bizarre, unclear ending to the equally bizarre mood shift that the credits represent. It’s almost like Biehn couldn’t quite get a handle on how to end it when the final few minutes came up, so he just brought the whole thing to a stop.

Still, he’s done a solid job, and put on a show that’s short, sharp, and surprisingly lucid. Exploitative? You bet. A little weak in the endgame? Sure. But there’s no doubt that Biehn has put on a good show here.

“The Victim” is reasonably well done suspense-thriller; chances are you’ll have seen better, but Biehn did a downright bang-up job for his first foray, and frankly, I want to see what he does next.

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