Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Die Roll to your Death: Deadly Games (1982)

You guys can see it, right? Right?
Deadly Games (1982) (AKA "The Eliminator", Who Fell Asleep")
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Alexandra Morgan, Jo Ann Harris, Sam Groom

Going back to her home town after hearing the news that her sister had died from an accident, journalist Keegan (Jo Ann Harris) choose to stay a while and catch up with her old friends who hadn't seen her in years. She also sparks a relationship with the local sheriff Roger, who suspects the death is far from accidental. True enough, somebody in a balaclava begins to stalk and murder women around town, each killings apparently inspired by a certain game that involved old school movie monsters.

It's a pretty cheap and simple movie, Deadly Games mashed together elements of a thriller, melodrama and slasher horror, shifting tones from scene to scene that ended up with mixed results. At times you'll be laughing at the cheesy romantic approach as montages of lovey-dovey moments between Keegan and Roger play along a hammy-lined ballad, next thing you know you could be on the edge of your seat watching a killer stalk and murder a victim. It's a good way to keep us from expecting the usual fare of slasher trappings of methodical murders but it admittedly killed off some sense of dread up until the last third of the film, which by then took a generally grim turn as those cheeky dramatics are suddenly dropped off and in its place is something unsettling.

Since the film basically had no idea what to focus on, the entire run felt disjointed; the killer isn't striking and the murders are quite tame, as a slasher this is no sign of being a big winner and at times I thought I was watching a made-for-TV production. But at least some of the performances around Deadly Games were good, just going off a tad questionable at times (her sister's dead and yet our lead just waltz in town catching up with some old friends as if nothing big happened) and there's some good camera work that goes quite well with the darkened scenes.

Hate it or love it, Deadly Games is a fondue pot of mismatched proportions. Some parts worked but the sum of it all is hardly memorable.

1 female crashes through a window, fell to her death
1 female drowned
1 female strangled
1 female buried alive
1 male shot
1 female murdered offcamera
Total: 6

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