Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 24th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, December, 1983
Director: Thom Eberhardt
Writer: Thom Eberhardt
Cast: Anita Skinner, Kurt Johnson, Robin Davidson, Caren L. Larkey, Andrew Boyer, Daniel Bryan Cartwell, Wendy Dake, Stephen V. Isbell, William Snare
DVD released: April 1st, 2008
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Synopsis: A lone survivor of a plane starts to lose her grip on reality when she starts seeing the dead people come back alive and those who are close to her die under mysterious circumstances.
Solve Survivor was written and directed by Thom Eberhardt who also other writing/directing credits include Night of the Comet and Captain Ron. The plot for Sole Survivor centers around a T.V. commercial producer named Denise Watson who is the lone survivor of a plane crash and a clairvoyant has been actress who tries to warn her about the crash before it happens and the danger she is in after surviving the crash. After a strong opening the film starts to drag in the middle. The pacing picks up during the last act of the film with most of the films death scenes occurring near the end of the film. The violence in this film is not particularly brutal or bloody. Solve Survivor is more of a thriller then it is a horror film. The tension builds as director Thom Eberhardt adds layers of atmosphere to the films eerie plot about life and the afterlife.
Sole Survivor does bear some passing resemblance to the Herk Harvey’s “Carnival of Souls”. The lead character in “Carnival of Souls” like “Sole Survivor” life is turned upside down after surviving tragic accidents? The dead that Denise Watson starts to see after her accident are never fully acknowledge as Zombies even though other characters’ can see the dead just like her even though they have not cheated death like her. These living dead are most definitely not a hallucination or a figment of her imagination. The Sixth Sense and the Final Destination films are a few films with plots that center around life and the afterlife that bear some similarities to Sole Survivor.
The cast for Sole Survivor is made of performers’ who have limited acting credits. Several of the actors/actresses never worked before or after appearing in Sole Survivor. Overall while there are no performances that will wow you the acting as a whole is just good enough that is never takes away from the story at hand. The most memorable character in the film is Karla Davis a psychic out of work actress and Caren L. Larkey’s performance as Karla Davis does an admirable job capturing the characters eccentricities. Overall even with all of its shortcomings Sole Survivor is still a solid thriller that features many memorable moments that are genuinely creepy.
Code Red’s DVD presents Sole Survivor in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the films original aspect ratio. The image looks remarkable with nicely saturated colors, natural flesh tones, strong black levels, details look sharp and print damage is virtually nonexistent. Overall it is hard to image that this film could look any better than it does on this DVD release.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio is clear and evenly mixed. Outside of some minor instances of hiss the audio is more than adequate.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Sole Survivor, an eight minute interview with actress Caren Lackey & producer Sal Romeo and liner notes written by author Stephen Thrower. The main and most impressive extra of this release is a thorough audio commentary with Caren Larkey and Sal Romeo. It is moderated by film historian Jeff McKay and cult director Jeff Burr. The remaining extras consist of trailers for other Code Red films like The Unseen, The Farmer, The Dead Pit, Silent Scream and Human Experiments. Overall Code Red have done a first rate job that presents Sole Survivor in its best home video presentation to date.