Writer / director / editor Thom Eberhardts’ feature directing debut is a nicely realized, grim and spooky little shocker worth viewing for horror aficionados hoping to find good lesser known films from decades past. It’s got plenty of atmosphere, a never ending feeling of uneasiness, a good spin on “living dead” cinema, and its themes and ideas are interesting. As genre junkies will realize, it’s similar in some ways to the more famous “Final Destination”, which came along 17 years *later*. Eberhardts’ script is often witty and offers good roles to a capable cast.
Star Anita Skinner is impressive enough in the role of plane crash survivor Denise Watson that one may wish we’d seen more of her in films over the years. She displays just the right amount of vulnerability and confusion. Denise was the *only* survivor of this crash, and she tries to resume her normal life, but weird things begin happening. Unspeaking, creepy strangers start to appear to her and she wonders what it all could mean.
Also in the cast are handsome Kurt Johnson as a kindly doctor, Robin Davidson as Denise’s spunky neighbour, Caren Larkey as a washed up actress with unwanted psychic abilities, and William Snare as a frustrated coroner. Be on the lookout for foxy B movie actress Brinke Stevens as a player in a strip poker game who takes off her top and Leon (Robinson) as a gang leader.
David F. Anthony composed the eerie music and cinematographer Russell Carpenter, who went on to really big things such as “True Lies” and “Titanic”, does a really good job in helping to set the mood.
The movie also educates us some on the subject of “survivor syndrome”, wherein people who live through catastrophic accidents expire themselves within 24 months, possibly through a sense of guilt and feeling of unworthiness.
All in all, “Sole Survivor” is one of those films that deserves a wider audience. It’s too good to remain obscure.