As I was watching Salvage – a movie that could easily have been tag-lined: Something Virulent This Way Comes! – I was reminded of a 4-part TV mini-series I watched in 1981: The Nightmare Man.
By age 13, I had long grown out of my ‘Dr. Who’ stage, and The Nightmare Man kept me gripped. After seeing the TV show, I read the re-issued novel, originally titled: Child Of Vodyanoi, by David Wiltshire.
Salvage has some similar themes to The Nightmare Man: a military secret, soldiers struggling to wipe out that which is prowling and killing indiscriminately, with the locals fearing if they are dealing with either a psychopath or a savage creature. Salvage was filmed on the same Merseyside TV set as the old and now cancelled British TV soap: Brookside. The plot is simple: a container found on a beach during Christmas Eve makes the news due to dead bodies also discovered at the scene. Soon the inhabitants of a cul-de-sac are contained in their homes by a team of soldiers ready to shoot anything they see moving. Among the chaos, a troubled mother fights to save her estranged daughter who is trapped in a nearby house. Can she get to her daughter without falling victim to either a soldier’s bullet, or the deadly ‘something’ that is stalking the area … which, disappointingly just turns out to be a guy with a gunky face!
A pity about Salvage; I wanted to like it. It was okay compared with so many other low-budget movies, but it ultimately lacked the way so many smaller-scale movies do: poor script, insufficient budget, some incoherent dialogue, and, despite the running around, a lot of screaming, and large helpings of blood and gore – there is a distinct lack of suspense. The actors (notably Neve McIntosh) do the best they can with the material they have, which sadly isn’t enough to lift the movie above mediocre. What could have been a welcome addition to the Dawn of the Dead / 28 Days Later genre finally came across as a bargain-basement offering that failed to deliver.