HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Laguna Ave.
Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11
Amulet
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
   
 
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Fear is the Key Underwater Upsets
Year: 1972
Director: Michael Tuchner
Stars: Barry Newman, Suzy Kendall, John Vernon, Dolph Sweet, Ben Kingsley, Ray MacAnally, Peter Marinker, Elliott Sullivan, Roland Brand, Tony Anholt
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Talbot (Barry Newman) lost his family in an aeroplane accident three years ago - but how accidental was it? Now he is travelling through Louisana and after demanding bourbon on a Sunday at a smalltown store, where drinking is forbidden on the Sabbath, he gets into trouble with the policemen who arrive to pick him up. At the courtroom, it turns out Talbot is an underwater salvage expert who is on the run after killing a man, and after shooting one of the cops at the courthouse and taking a hostage in the shape of oil heiress Sarah (Suzy Kendall)... he's still on the run.

If you've watched late night British television frequently from the late seventies onwards, then Fear is the Key should feel like an old friend, as it was always on, seemingly every fortnight or so. It was based on the novel by Alistair MacLean and, despite surface appearances, a British film that had adopted some North American stars to make it appear as if it hailed from the U.S.A. There were a few factors that marked it out as a U.K. production, however.

One of them is the presence of British stars putting on dodgy American accents - except for Kendall, that is, who didn't even try to hide her English inflections, or if she did, she wasn't very sucessful at it. In Britain, the cult for this film rests on its T.V. ubiquity, but elsewhere it's because of the superb car chase that follows on from Talbot's break from the courthouse. For almost fifteen minutes he bullets through the countryside with the cops in hot pursuit, only pausing to leap onto a ferry across the Mississippi.

It's a great sequence, but after a while it seems as if it'll be a highlight that nothing else in the film can live up to. There's a plot filled with twists and turns to contend with, but it all feels oddly bloodless after the full throttle thrills of the chase, which ends when Talbot is picked up by a bounty hunter, Jablonsky (Dolph Sweet). He takes his captive and Sarah back to Sarah's father's mansion in the mercenary hope that he can gain a large amount of reward money in return.

Yet all is not what it seems, though to tell much more would spoil things. Suffice to say, Talbot is not the villain you might have thought he was, although when he explains the plot to Sarah about an hour in, it transpires to be an extremely hard to believe scheme of subterfuge and double cross. Newman was just off his Vanishing Point success here, and is a similar quiet but strong type, though without a pretentious build up to his escapades he's pretty much the nuts and bolts man of action that MacLean fans would recognise. The climax is memorable, with Talbot holding baddie John Vernon (and henchman Ben Kingsley - with hair - in his debut) to ransom underwater, which makes up for the by the numbers events between that and the chase; all in all, a two-fisted thriller that succeeds only as much as it needs to.

[Optimum's Region 2 DVD has no extras, but fans will be pleased with the gleaming widescreen print it offers.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5979 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: