HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
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
   
 
  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 7194 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
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: