Sole Survivor (1984)

  • Year: 1984
  • Released: 27 Jan 1984
  • Country: United States
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  • IMDb:
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  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller
  • Runtime: 85 min
  • Writer: Thom Eberhardt
  • Director: Thom Eberhardt
  • Cast: Anita Skinner, Caren L. Larkey, Peggy McClure
  • Keywords: murder, airplane crash, psychic, sole survivor,
54% – Critics
54% – Audience

Sole Survivor Storyline

Denise Watson is a TV station worker who is the only survivor of a unexplained, horrific airplane crash in which she is completely unscratched. Soon, Denise becomes haunted by feelings of unworthiness as well as seeing strange people following her and hearing voices calling her name which no one but she can hear. Disregarding warnings from a psychic actress friend, Denise tries to get on with her life while it’s revealed that she was supposed to die in the crash, but somehow escaped, now the unseen specter of Death wants to collect her by sending its minions, people that have recently died, to kill Denise and finish the job what death had planned for.—matt-282

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Sole Survivor Movie Reviews

Early 80s horror gem.

Writer / director / editor Thom Eberhardts’ feature directing debut is a nicely realized, grim and spooky little shocker worth viewing for horror aficionados hoping to find good lesser known films from decades past. It’s got plenty of atmosphere, a never ending feeling of uneasiness, a good spin on “living dead” cinema, and its themes and ideas are interesting. As genre junkies will realize, it’s similar in some ways to the more famous “Final Destination”, which came along 17 years *later*. Eberhardts’ script is often witty and offers good roles to a capable cast.

Star Anita Skinner is impressive enough in the role of plane crash survivor Denise Watson that one may wish we’d seen more of her in films over the years. She displays just the right amount of vulnerability and confusion. Denise was the *only* survivor of this crash, and she tries to resume her normal life, but weird things begin happening. Unspeaking, creepy strangers start to appear to her and she wonders what it all could mean.

Also in the cast are handsome Kurt Johnson as a kindly doctor, Robin Davidson as Denise’s spunky neighbour, Caren Larkey as a washed up actress with unwanted psychic abilities, and William Snare as a frustrated coroner. Be on the lookout for foxy B movie actress Brinke Stevens as a player in a strip poker game who takes off her top and Leon (Robinson) as a gang leader.

David F. Anthony composed the eerie music and cinematographer Russell Carpenter, who went on to really big things such as “True Lies” and “Titanic”, does a really good job in helping to set the mood.

The movie also educates us some on the subject of “survivor syndrome”, wherein people who live through catastrophic accidents expire themselves within 24 months, possibly through a sense of guilt and feeling of unworthiness.

All in all, “Sole Survivor” is one of those films that deserves a wider audience. It’s too good to remain obscure.

Eight out of 10.

eerie and atmospheric

As with other movies that deal with the blurry line between life and death, “Sole Survivor” often lacks cohesion in plot and logic. But the weight of its atmospheric shocks and well-paced suspense is effective–it’s a movie that places its concentration on waking-nightmare horror rather than gore. A woman is the lone survivor of an airplane crash, predicted by a washed-up TV actress with psychic tendencies; complications arise when the recently-dead start popping up in the woman’s everyday life. Eerie chiller with strong atmosphere and a moody pace draws favorable comparisons to “Carnival of Souls” and “Dead & Buried.” Recommended for adventurous viewers with a taste for the offbeat.

Why Don’t More People Talk About This Film?

If slow paced, intelligent horror films along the lines of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death or Carnival of Souls are your speed, you’ll find a lot to love in Sole Survivor.

Predating Final Destination by nearly 20 years, Sole Survivor tells the story of Denise, a TV producer, who ends up being the sole survivor of a plane crash. Soon after, she starts seeing people following her and, well,…I don’t want to spoil anything else.

Sole Survivor is a perfect example of “less is more.” Things are never quite clear or explained, which makes the entire film quite mysterious and creepy. Most of the performances are subdued and natural and a large cloud of doom hangs over the entire film. It’s impressively creepy, honestly.

If you’re a gore hound or looking for cheap jump scares, Sole Survivor might not be your cup of tea, but those who appreciate a nice slow burn will probably love it.