Death Run (1987)

The plot of Death Run centers around Paul (Rob Bartlett) and his girlfriend Jenny (Wendy Parsons), who live in the midst of a nuclear war and are put in a cryogenic sleep so they can survive the oncoming apocalypse. They awaken 25 years later in a wasteland ruled by a man known as the Messiah (Patrick Olliver). Paul and Jenny are captured by the Messiah, and Paul is chosen to compete in the Death Run. What is the Death Run? Will Paul be able to escape with his girlfriend before he gets the chance to find out?

The movie starts off decent enough, the plot’s interesting, scenery looks good, there are mutants affected by radiation that also look pretty good, the action and fight scenes are mostly sub-par, as expected, but acceptable considering the limited budget. But the movie’s missing something, gore for one thing (the movie teases us on several occasions), but also the indescribable DIY charm that makes these type of low-budget movies so enjoyable is somewhat lacking.

Luckily, the movie does pick up (namely after one memorable scene involving cannibals) and we are treated to some better action, and some OK gore mostly consisting of stabbings and arrows being shot through people, as well as a couple of severed heads. But I have to say, when we do find out exactly what this “Death Run” thing is, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

Another point in the movie’s favor would be the short running time, running barely over an hour, which I think is perfect length for this kind of movie.

Some moderate gripes aside, Death Run is worth a watch in my book and I personally think it deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting. It’s no masterpiece, just a bit underrated.