Film Reviews:

The Arrival

(David Schmoeller, US, 1990)

After a meteorite lands in the back garden on his birthday, 73-year old Max starts to experience surreal, sexual dreams and acquires a taste for blood. The more blood he consumes, the younger he becomes. Max soon leaves a trail of blood-drained bodies which the FBI begins to trace to him.

The Arrival is a kind of galatic-powered, rejuvenating-serial-killer-vampire-movie. Good old Jon Saxon plays the FBI agent on Max's trail but the killer's increasingly younger visage makes tracking him more difficult than usual. Eye witnesses keep suggesting he is ten years younger after each kill. Everything begins in a very Starman-ish manner albeit on a considerably smaller budget and therefore scale. Nevertheless, Max's nightmarish visions are pretty stylish, the best of which is a visual pun on the phrase 'blood bath'. Pursued against a series of gloriously colourful skylines and sunsets, it doesn't take long for it to register than this is formula filmmaking. Eventually caught, the now 20-year old, leather-clad, Harley Davidson-riding galactic vampire is finally stopped in a very anti climatic blaze of gun fire. No surprises there then. The holes in the plot are large and frequent, and the ending seems like a concerted effort to fit in as many 'sad parting' cliches into the shortest period as is humanly possible.

There are a few plus points though and they are largely to be found in the casting. John Saxon strolls through his part, displaying little effort, and actually looks a lot better than usual for it. Cult director Stuart (Reanimator) Gordon has a cameo as a biker, but my favourite character is the crazy old barbeque chef who offers a passing agent Saxon some tasty sizzling muskrat: "It's good eatin'" he insists.

Rob Dyer

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