Director – Rob Schmidt
Cast – Martin Donovan, Julia Benson, Robin Sydney, Anna Galvin, Linda Sorenson, Corbin Bernsen, Xantha Radley
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I have been a fan of Rob Schmidt ever since he gave us the well-done backwoods cannibal film Wrong Turn, a flick with the usual backwoods plot but perfectly executed. He has not done much since the 2003 film except for The Alphabet Killer in 2008. Between these two films he made his entry into the “Masters of Horror” series, which is quite an accomplishment given he had only one outright horror film under his belt at the time. Once again the “Masters of Horror” series decided to throw a horrific element into an overly political topic. After giving us a nice take on the Roe vs. Wade dilemma with John Carpenter’s Pro-Life, we get Schmidt’s version of horror involving someone’s “Right To Die”.
This one follows a couple on a car ride discussing their promising future plans after dealing with the husband’s recent infidelity. A freak accident occurs, and only the husband’s airbag deploys. The wife, Abbey(Julia Benson), is ejected from the car, and if things could not get any worse…is engulfed in flames when the leaking fuel reaches her. Abbey is saved, but in very bad shape. She is without all of her skin, and in a deep coma. The husband, Cliff(Martin Donovan), now has a choice to make. Should he grant his wife’s wishes in which she always stated she would rather die than live a horrible life, or should he listen to her family which is adamantly against “pulling the plug”. As he toys with the decision, Abbey manages to exact revenge against those who have recently wronged her. The list is dwindling, and all bets are that Cliff will make the list.
In the end this film was not what I expected it to be, but I still found it to be a positive watch. Anyone with a fear of hospitals or being in a situation where you are completely incapacitated should find the horror in this flick to be sufficient. It helped that Rob Schmidt held no remorse for the viewers and went all out with this one. Instead of having Abbey maybe 50 or even 70 percent burned, he decided it was best to have her burned from head to toe. Go big or go home, right? I liked this, and in a way saw it as a reference to Hellraiser where Frank walks around wet and skinless. It just always looks great when that tactic is used.
Now onto the real horror of this film…the horror regarding someone’s “right to die”. I am really starting to dig these political topics turned horrific with these flicks. Personally, I hate politics, but seeing them involved with horror is something we do not see often in the genre, and I will embrace it because of that. Cliff is in agony over his infidelity and the toll it took on his marriage before the accident happened. The thought of the last thing they did together was being unhappy due to his actions haunts him, and is the reason he cannot let her die. To add to this, her family is using every legal tactic to keep her alive. His lawyer is egging him to pull the plug, but his intentions are that of him making some big bucks suing the company of the car who’s passenger airbag did not deploy, and caused the death of Abbey. Cliff’s mistress, whom he has tried to end relations with in his effort to save his wife, is not going away without a fight…but Abbey will take care of that. The horror Chris faces is whether or not he could pull the plug on his wife and end the murders, or allow her to keep on chugging on her reign of murder, which could include his death as well. In the end…the horror worked.
My only beef with this flick was that the ending was a bit weak, but with my ability to find good in anything I can say “well, I didn’t see THAT” coming, heh.
Overall, this is a positive watch that most likely will not “wow” you, but should consist of a formidable amount of horror and conflict to keep you engaged. If you are like me and enjoy seeing a horrific twist to a common political topic, then give this one a watch.
– I ranked this film #19 of the 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.