It Always Catches Up – Sole Survivor (1984)

A woman survives a plane crash, the only person to do so and she feels strange about it. Soon, she is almost hit by a truck having been distracted by a little girl who does not seem right. Receiving messages from an actress named Carla who also happens to be psychic, she starts encountering other bizarre people who are more akin to zombies than anything else, all the while having an affair with the doctor who treated her after the accident.  Soon she is running for her life, for the fate she already escaped.

For the most part, Sole Survivor is a very decent horror movie, but the first act does tend to move quite slowly making it seem quite dull. If one can power through, things eventually pick up when Denise, as played by Anita Skinner, starts to encounter the various zombies that seem to be after her. Thom Eberhardt who takes the reins as both writer and director, starts to build the suspense slowly, but once it gets going, there is no stopping it as Denise who had escaped her fate in the plane crash, now sees it coming straight at her and despite all those warnings from Carla, there is seemingly nothing she can do about it. Things really take a turn when Denise’s friend Kristy as played by Robin Davidson is murdered by one of the zombies and she, in turn, becomes one. While the undead in this film are not particularly scary visually, their silence and one-mindedness are and the tension in that last act is quite palpable as Denise tries to evade what she knows is coming.

Eberhardt throws in a bit of drama along with it all, Denise’s relationships with the various members of the supporting cast and the mystery of these walking dead people whose blood looks to have drained into the lower part of their bodies somehow. The former gives the audience a chance to know Denise, to feel bad for her with what is about to happen while the latter is used to lend a little gravity and horror to the situation and it manages to work, but Eberhardt does take his time with things which might be the only real fault to be found in this picture.

Tackling predestination and fate and all that comes with it might seem familiar to some as the Final Destination franchise did the same thing many years later, but Sole Survivor would come first and while it would be somewhat different, it would end up a captivating experience.

3 out of 5

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