Reviewed by John Weber
Rating: 6 Beans
sk. Tsk. Clint couldn't have liked this.
If your fondest desire is to see Clint Eastwood's then-girlfriend Sondra Locke as a scary, nasty lesbian named Jackson (that's her first name - no last name given), then by all means hit the video store and blow the dust off this little piece of slime called "Death Game".
I saw this movie back in the early 80s, when I first got pay-cable, and I was absolutely astounded by its nastiness, pointlessness and one of the most incredible, idiotic endings I have ever seen. So, I figured it was time to see how it held up after about eighteen years or so. Nothing's changed - it's even more astounding. And the endlessly repeated theme song is just as irritating now as it was then.
Here's the plot. Businessman George (Seymour Cassel) is alone in his very nice house on his 40th birthday (kids were with Grandma, wife called away because Junior has to have his appendix out). The doorbell rings. Two very wet girls (Locke, Colleen Camp) are at the door, lost, asking to use the phone and wait for a ride. He gives these two giggly girls towels, robes, and puts their clothes in the dryer.
They sit around a fireplace, and pretty soon Locke and Camp drift away to check out the house. He goes to look for them and finds them in his Jacuzzi very, very naked (Clint couldn't have liked that either!). They seduce him. He puts up a weak struggle but caves in. Bad move, George.
The next morning arrives….and his guests get a little weird. That's like saying the sun is a little bright… The tone's different. They won't leave. They're going to blackmail him, 'cause, you see, they're jailbait. If he calls the cops, they'll tell the police what he did to them.
Oh, what a fine mess. And mess is the right word. Because, as the story accelerates, they tie George up, flit around in his wife's clothes, hit him over the head with a bottle, destroy his nice house and his nice things, dump the contents of his fridge on him - from the second floor as he lies on the first (he looks like a conscientious objector in a pie fight)!! Camp has wild episodes where she thinks George is her daddy, they kill a delivery boy and dump him in a fish tank…I mean, you name it. It gets more and more ridiculous as they just torture this guy. I want to tell you how stupidly this ends. But you've just gotta see it for yourself!!
Seymour Cassel, who went on to a number of, shall we say, more distinguished films ("Tin Men", "Honeymoon in Vegas", "It Could Happen to You"), is mainly Mr. Monotone. Maybe he got hit with that bottle before filming. Sondra Locke, then Clint's main squeeze, who appeared with him in "The Gauntlet", "The Outlaw Josey Wales", "Every Which Way But Loose" and "Sudden Impact", just to name a few, snarls a lot and does a disgusting thing with a banana (there's no WAY Clint liked that action!). The only hint of a performance is Colleen Camp ("Wayne's World", "Clue"), who puts a little shading on her shrill, dominated-by-Jackson character.
"Death Game" was directed by someone named Peter Traylor, who hasn't done much else since, and Sissy Spacek was one of the set decorators. Bill Paxton is also credited as a set dresser, but I don't know if it's the same Bill Paxton of "Twister" and "Titanic" fame. If it is, and if Bill's smart, he'll never tell.
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Hit-n-Run Productions, © 1997-2006,
a subsidiary of Syphon Interactive, LLC.
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