Making the leap from actor to director can be a tricky business. Not everybody can be Ben Affleck, right? Sometimes, you wind up William Shatner. In the case of Michael Biehn, best know for his roles in James Cameron flicks like Terminator, The Abyss and Aliens, the actor manages to make a strong first feature with The Victim.
The Victim stars Biehn as Kyle, a recluse whose solitary existence is disturbed when a young woman named Annie (Jennifer Blanc) comes banging on his cabin door, screaming that people are trying to kill her. Through flashbacks we see Annie and her friend Mary (Danielle Harris) partying with a couple of cops. Some rough sex leads to murder, and our story is off and running.
While there’s definitely some wooden dialogue and a few plot issues, overall I actually enjoyed The Victim. The opening credits and score are reminiscent of David Fincher’s best work, and after a slooooow start (too much driving), the film manages to cover a fair amount of story at a quick pace. Girls have gone missing in town – could they be the victims of the same cop who kills Mary? Is Annie as innocent as she tries to appear? Why does Kyle live so far away from everyone else? The Victim throws out lots of questions, and Biehn manages to answer all of them in some not so obvious ways.
Working in a grindhouse style, The Victim offers up a few choice scenes of sex and violence, including one between married couple Biehn and Blanc that left me feeling like a total voyeur. Without giving anything away, it’s also worth noting that the film has a hugely satisfying ending, one that I simply couldn’t have predicted. All credit goes to Biehn, who not only directed and starred in The Victim, but who also wrote the script.
For fans of Biehn, and I know he’s got a devoted following, The Victim is essential viewing, as the actor-turned-director has created a solid film, and has left me interested to see what he does next.
The Victim is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now.