Michael Biehn is the epitome of the "Hey look it's that one guy," reaction. Here's a guy that has been in classic sci-fi movies like 'Aliens' and 'The Abyss' who has also taken time out to act in 'Command & Conquer' video games. From 1977 to the present, Biehn has over 90 credits listed on IMDb. He's a prolific character actor who will be in just about any movie that crosses his path. I've admired him in numerous movies. Sadly, he isn't cut out to be a director.
His acting resume might be the envy of underemployed supporting actors everywhere, but his directing list is short. In 2010 he directed 'The Blood Bond,' which I didn't see. His next directorial effort came with 'The Victim,' which, unfortunately, I did see. And I'm now going to try to forget I saw.
Honestly, I'm still baffled by the overall putrid stench of 'The Victim.' Right out of the gate you know it's going to be a very long 83 minutes. The dialogue feels like it was churned out the "Clichéd Horror Movie Dialogue Generator." The acting is atrociously bad. Even Biehn's moments on screen are as dull as everyone else around him. It seems that teaming up with director James Cameron brought out the best in Biehn during the '80s. James Cameron he is not. Biehn flops around with dead end dialogue like he's reading the script from a film student with a "C" average.
Biehn plays Kyle, a lonely recluse who lives in an isolated cabin somewhere in the mountains. He's strange, but most recluses are. He takes a bizarre interest in a missing person poster at the beginning of the film, which is far too on the nose for its own good.
One night, while sitting in his cabin watching self-help videos on his laptop, Kyle is disturbed by a woman banging on his door for help. He reluctantly lets her in. She explains that the cops are after her. That they killed her friend, and now they're looking to kill her too.
There are only a couple of female characters in this movie and they're both dumb as rocks. Of course they'd have to be to date the sleazy crooked cops they're dating. As dumb and predictable as the girls are, the cops are worse. It feels like the only direction Biehn gave to actor Ryan Honey, who plays Detective James Harrison, was, "You really, really hate women." Honey snarls and states only the blatantly obvious. His overuse of the word "bitch," severely limits whatever vocabulary he might be hiding under that misogynistic exterior.
There aren't any likable characters in this entire movie. Every delivery of every line is flat, delivered without the slightest bit of real emotion. Jennifer Blanc, who plays the damsel in distress, is exhaustingly amateurish. I don't expect much from low budget horror productions, but there had to be someone better out there. One gets the feeling that she was used solely because she was willing to get naked during a superfluous sex scene.
Then comes the end, which has been telegraphed the whole movie, but seems so completely ludicrous that you keep trying to shrug it off. Nah, they're not going to do that. That would be far too obvious, right? Plus it wouldn't make a lick of sense given the context of the whole movie. Then it happens. This supposedly huge reveal comes pouring out during the last few lines of the movie and all I could muster was, "So… What?" There's no significance tied to the secret. It's simply dropped on the audience like an ACME anvil, only it's not nearly as entertaining.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This Anchor Bay title comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase. It comes pressed on a 50GB Blu-ray Disc and is coded for Region A usage.
'The Victim' has a decent 1080p digitally filmed image. It doesn't come anywhere near replicating a filmic experience, but at least its detail is well resolved. There are some visual hiccups here and there though.
Nighttime scenes, like with many low-budget digital productions, are extremely flat and overly blue. Shadows are pretty ugly in this movie. Crushing runs rampant during the darker scenes. Some banding can be detected around the edges also.
When well lit, the movie does feature some striking detail. Close-ups reveal minute facial features like pores and Biehn's scruffy five-day beard. The high definition does call unwanted attention to the movie's less than lifelike smeared blood whenever it zooms in on an open wound or a blood-smeared face. Overall, I've seen worse DTV Blu-ray presentations. 'The Victim' is solid middle-of-the-road type stuff.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix sufficiently recreates the movie's low budget mix. If you watch a lot of DTV movies you know that sound effects and dialogue sound just a tad different than bigger movies. It's a little rawer; less refined. 'The Victim' sounds like one of those releases.
Dialogue is clear, but it has a tin-like echo to it. Most of the time it sound hollow. Music is mixed a little too loudly, especially the "jump scare" effects that are thrown in every so often. Sound effects like the results of guns going off or fists meeting face don't carry enough weight to be as effective as they should be.
Rear speakers are pretty light on the ambient sound. There is some surround sound that picks up random forest-themed audio like birds and crickets, but not enough to make the listener feel like they're being engulfed in the soundscape.
This is one of those movies that you had no idea existed. Usually the rule is that those movies are best left alone. That rule remains true here. 'The Victim' isn't nearly as frightening as it would have you believe (they make a big deal about listing how many horror film festivals this movie has been to). Biehn is a respectable supporting actor with a huge list of credible roles. His directorial efforts don't even come close to matching the acting accomplishments. Avoid this one.