Salvage (2008) … Fun Monster Flick

Hhmmm; I’m still not exactly sure what to think of this one.  Is SALVAGE a tight, government-experiment-gone-wrong thriller with horror elements?  Or is it simply an underfunded indie flick lacking an explanation and a good looking creature.  I think the answer lies somewhere in between.

Teenager Jodie (Linzey Cocker) is on her way home to spend more time with her estranged mom Beth (Neve McIntosh), a workaholic/alcoholic libido on legs.  Jodie gets to her mom’s house only to find dear old mom riding some guy like she was in a rodeo.  Jodie gets pissed off and storms out to go stay with one of her friends.  As Beth is getting ready to go out and find her a group of special forces-ish military guys descend on the town waving around machine guns and barking orders to all the locals to stay in their houses.  Cut off from her daughter and not knowing what the hell is happening, Beth is determined to find Jodie and protect her.  And talk about your awkward one-night stands; first Beth and her penis du jour get interrupted in mid-thrust by her daughter Jodie, and now the town is being quarantined and they are stuck in the house together.  Well at least they have plenty of time to learn each others names!!

This is one awkward one-night stand!!

SALVAGE has a lot of things going for it:  The acting is pretty good, it has a strong opening scene where a young paperboy is killed, and co-writer/director Lawrence Gough gets a pretty good claustrophobic feel going on.  But somehow even at only a 76 minute run time SALVAGE still feels as though is drags at times.  But worst of all is the “explanation”.  I put that in quotes because we are offered an explanation as to what is going on, but its a pretty shitty and unsatisfying one.  Apparently some container washed up on shore near the town that unleashed something.  Is it a creature or a virus?  Is it contagious?  How many other people are infected?  Why is the military so afraid of it?  Lots of unanswered questions that I have to say annoyed the s**t out of me.  It would have been nice to get some solid answers.

The soldier who tells us what’s going on … kind of.

SALVAGE starts off good enough and even has some solid scenes in the middle.  I liked the scenes of Beth sneaking around the town going from house to house trying to find her daughter.  Gough showed he has some directing chops and produced some nice tense scenes.  But then he went one step too far; in the last 5-10 minutes he shows us the creature (or was it a mutated towns’ person?).  The creature was one of the worst looking creatures I’ve seen in a long time.  I was expecting the special make-up f/x in the credits to read, “Special effects by 10 year old Billie.”

She’s looking for a better explanation.

At the end of the day this movie has moments that are well filmed and we get a few tense moments, but overall the film will leave you feeling cheated and feeling like you just watched an episode of THE X-FILES, and not one of the good episodes.  I have a feeling that a small budget is to blame, but we’ve all seen from other films I reviewed here at that having a low budget is no excuse for making a shabby film.  I wouldn’t go out of your way to track this one down, but if you can stream it from Netflix I’m sure there are parts you’ll find interesting.

My Summary:

Director:  Lawrence Gough (and co-writer)

Plot:  2.5 out of 5 stars

Gore:  4 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem:  0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

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9 Responses to Salvage (2008) … Fun Monster Flick

  1. Thanks. I’ve been enjoying yours as well.

  2. Saw this at last years Fantastic Fest. Was not impressed.

  3. Deggsy says:

    Reading the credits for it on imdb, I see the story was by the director, and a guy whose only other writing- related experience appears to be story editor for one episode of a teen soap opera. Sounds like another example of a filmmaker thinking anyone can write a script. Your fine review describes a movie made and acted by people with some skill, but which could have done much better with a professionally- written script.

    • Exactly Deggsy … but even more than the case of a filmmaker thinking anyone can write a script, its a filmmaker thinking anyone can write a HORROR script. I don’t know why so many people think writing a horror script is easy.

  4. JennyB says:

    Hey!, I just wanted to stop by and say I love you’re blog, it’s freakin rad! I found it on 7tavern which I’m also on. Keep on rockin!

    • Thanks JennyB!! I’d post a lot more reviews on but they make the formatting so goddamn difficult that it takes me forever to post one review on that site. If they ever fix that problem I’ll visit there more often.

      Thanks for the nice words!!

  5. Keri says:

    Yeah, I was hugely disappointed in this. I’m surprised at how well it’s been doing – lots of magazine coverage, lots of good reviews – because I thought it was patchy. The lead actress does a good job with what’s she’s given, but the premise manages to be dervative *and* confusing.

    • You and me both Keri!! I’m really surprised that such a mediocre flick AT BEST has gotten such good press. Based on some of the reviews I read about SALVAGE, I’m guessing that all the reviewers didn’t actually watch the movie. Calling this one “derivative and confusing” pretty much summarizes this one in a nutshell.