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Specter is set in the small coastal town of Midground where our main protagonists - buddies Chase Lombardi and Chris Benadictus - are caught in the middle of a tsuami. The tsunami has been caused by a massive earthquake in the North Pacific Ocean or has it? As our leads venture out in the adverse conditions to obtain drugs, for partying with later, unexplainable events occur but are the lads hallucinating or is something more sinister happening in their town?
Where Specter scores over other found-footage flicks is that there is a genuine sense of menace underlining every moment of its short running time. Also its leads feel and play as real people rather than the usual screaming idiots the genre throws up to annoy us. Along the way there are some decent visual moments, such as a body suddenly engulfed in flames and real tsunami footage lending the film some gravitas in terms of interest.
However once strong drugs are obtained and induced by our leads Specter starts to lose its way a bit. I would have welcomed some ambiguity in terms of whether the events unfolding are actually happening or instead are drug-induced but director and co-writer Jordan Graham opts for a lack of ambiguity instead. The images are caught on camera and are therefore not hallucinations. This a shame as that ambiguity would have kept viewers on their toes and added a nice extra touch to a film left sorely needing one.
To provide a plot synopsis for The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, referred to from this point as simply Buckaroo Banzai, is not an easy task. The film defies the conventions of a coherent storyline, whether this is by accident or by design is up for debate depending on how fond you are of the flick. For this reviewer the film is just 'there'. It plays, it entertains, it never really involves the viewer, it's just 'there' but by the same measure it manages to keep you watching. It's an interesting view rather than an entertaining one although it does have its moments.
Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is a man of many talents. He's a celebrity neurosurgeon, rock star, experimental race car driver and science enthusiast. Banzai is incredibly well-liked too and has a permanent entourage of buddies similarly gifted with many skills. Nothing seems too much for our hero. He even senses when an audience member is unhappy as he plays a set with his backing band, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, and stops the show to enquire why.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Jerry. Jerry is likeable in a kind of earnest, childlike way. He works in a shipping and packing department at a bathtub factory and at home lives with his cat Mr. Whiskers and dog Bosco above a bowling alley. He is a little too over-enthusiastic about the forthcoming work barbecue. He sees the event as an excuse to get better acquainted with Fiona from accounts (Gemma Arterton) with whom he has a crush on. Jerry seems oblivious to the fact that Fiona finds him a pain but that Lisa (Anna Kendrick), also in accounts, does have the hots for him.
Elsewhere Jerry has regular appointments with his court-appointed psychiatrist Dr Warren (Jacki Weaver). Through these appointments we learn that Jerry is on medication but is not taking the tablets. We also learn that he hears voices and two such voices he hears at home as both his cat and dog both talk to him. The cat reflects Jerry's more aggressive inner voice and the dog the more passive.
Meet Chase Walker (Derek Theler). Chase is a dab hand at tackling and beating sharks. He is also a bit of a lady killer too. Chase is sexy and he knows it. He's arrogant and a wee bit childish but hey, he's got a hot body and the kind of bum you'd wanna grab for hours so we forgive him his shortcomings. However matters of physical lust have to be thrown onto the back burner as our Chase has been called upon, by his brother Jake (Paul du Toit) to kill a shark that just happens to have swallowed a valuable diamond that everyone is after.
Matters are complicated (aren't they always) as Chase doesn't see eye-to-eye with his brother's criminal ways and Jake doesn't entirely trust Chase either. Therefore Jake enlists his girlfriend Jasmine (Erica Cerra) to keep an eye on Chase. She does so begrudgingly but you just know that once our hero starts working those ample charms of his on her that she'll give up her knickers in a flash. And guess what, she does. Elsewhere there's Nix (Arnold Vosloo) who is also after the shark and the diamond, and that's pretty much it story-wise.
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- Specter (2012) Review
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
- The Voices (2014) Review
- Shark Killer (2015) Review
- The Possession of Michael King (2014) Review
- Contamination (1980) Review
- The Happiness of the Katakuris ("Katakuri-ke no kôfuku") (2001) Review
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- Son of Frankenstein (1939) Review