Ever wonder what happens to 80’s action heroes who don’t get invited to be in “The Expendables” movies? Many of them go on to voice work, TV series, or commercials. Then, there’s Michael Biehn.
Biehn (Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss) has taken his career down a different path. Together with his partner, Jennfer Blanc (The Divide, Cool and the Crazy), Biehn began a production company and started churning out small budget suspense stories in between his other acting gigs. Enter: The Victim.
The film wastes no time, jumping right in to the horror with the rape/murder of a woman in the woods. “Start with action” is a credo among writers, and the filmmakers follow that to the letter. Viewers are then introduced to loner-in-the-woods, Kyle (Biehn). Kyle lives way outside of town, away from the normal townspeople. He nestles in to his cabin, content with a book and a spiritual guidance lesson, away from the rest of mankind.
Too bad, Kyle.
His peaceful evening at home is interrupted by a panicked woman begging for help and running for her life, right up to his doorstep. Annie (Blanc) explains that her best friend, Mary (Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)) has been killed, and the men who killed her are after Annie now. Just to make matters worse, the killers are the local cops. In a flashback, Annie explains that Harrison (Ryan Honey (NCIS, Alias)) has killed Mary. In the ultimate Bros-before-Ho’s move, he instructs his partner, Cooger (Denny Kirkwood (Caller ID, The Huntress)) to help him get rid of the body, and of Annie, too.
Kyle reluctantly offers to help. He and Annie return to the scene to find proof. Instead, the crooked cops find them. Let the games begin.
Biehn definitely knows how bring anger issues to the screen. His Kyle is equal parts “get off my lawn” and “get in my crawlspace.” The exchange between Biehn and the crooked cops when they first arrive at his doorstep is a particular highlight. Blanc does a great job being scared out of her mind. Her raw emotion juxtaposes well with Biehn’s iron exterior. Kirkwood doesn’t get much to work with, but he’s pretty good.
The action and tension are conveyed with a lot of quick shot, music video techniques. That technique actually works because the plot-heavy scenes are mainly continuous and open. The soundtrack features original music by Rudy, Julia Michaels, and others. The song, “I Will Rise,” performed by Amy Jean Davis, is a highlight. Biehn commented that Robert Rodriguez told him he should make a grindhouse flick. The Victim is part Rambo, part Hostel, and a little bit sexploitation … or it’s just a lesson in how things can go wrong when you go into the woods with strippers and blow.
With video stores closing by the dozens every day, someone has to fill the direct-to-DVD void. The Victim is available in many streaming video formats (I chose Amazon Instant Video). The DVD is distributed by Anchor Bay. The film runs 83 minutes (including a video dedication to every member of the crew, which is a pretty classy move by filmmakers at any level.)
Check out the film’s official site at grindhousethevictim.com.