This is not really a slasher movie, there’s not much of a body count and the villain uses a gun, not a knife. And I didn’t find it in the horror section. But it does involve an innocent woman out in the woods getting abducted by a crazy mountain man, and there is a part 2. It sounded like enough echoes of TEXAS CHAIN SAW to be worth giving it a shot.
Renee (Roberta Weiss, THE DEAD ZONE) is a lady in pink Nike sweats out for a jog on a hiking trail somewhere (it was filmed in or around Vancouver) when suddenly she gets jumped by a crazy shades-wearing mountain man named Vern (Lawrence King-Phillips, ROLLING VENGEANCE), who ties a rope around her neck like a leash and makes her come with him. The cover says it’s based on a true story so I want to make perfectly clear that they better not be saying it’s based on me. I never abducted nobody. I’ll sue.
This is only available on a cropped VHS, so maybe it’s supposed to look a little better, but as is it’s ugly and cheap, no atmosphere, nothing distinguished about the filmatism. The pan flute style Synclavier score by Michel Rubini kinda sounds like a movie that would’ve been in the Super-Kumite. But that’s not a bad thing.
It’s a slog watching this bitter dick drag a poor woman through the wilderness for no reason, and when she tries to make a run for it she does such a bad job it’s a mystery how she jogged up here in the first place. She seems to be a beginner.
Luckily when he finally gets her to a shed and tries to rape her he cums in his pants and then rolls over into a fetal position and whimpers. At least she dodges that bullet.
The movie picks up when Joe (Dan Haggerty) appears. Renee thinks he’s a stranger who can help her get away, but of course he’s actually Vern’s dad. This could be a TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE move like when the Cook pretends he’s gonna help her but is actually a psycho, instead he actually is a nice guy, just compromised by not wanting to hurt his son. We find out that Vern has gotten into some trouble before (big surprise) and Joe brought him out here thinking it would both help rehabilitate him and keep him away from potential victims. Wrong on both counts.
Joe does try to keep Vern in line, and tries to take them both peacefully on a trek back to civilization. Renee plays along as if it’s all a big misunderstanding. She keeps saying she won’t tell anybody what happened. Just trying to get the fuck out of here by any means necessary. She does seem to genuinely like Joe, who shows her his beloved endangered stone sheep that he protects. Still, she’s not above making a run for some asshole sheep hunters in a helicopter, hoping they can rescue her. (This does not turn out well.)
Vern keeps claiming that Renee is his property, his dad disagrees, so eventually Joe has to be wounded and left for dead. That way Vern can stay up as late as he wants. He tries to make her tear off what’s left of her clothes, so she ends up with no pants on, as depicted on the cover. She makes a comment about him degrading her but you can’t help but think that it was the filmatists more than the villain who wanted to have her running around in her panties.
Anyway the important thing is there’s a part where he’s sniffing her running pants and screaming “I SMELL WOMAN!” inside a hollow tree so that it echoes through the forest. Man, he showed her!
You could argue that it’s sexist that they don’t bother to tell us even one single thing about Renee. I mean, how did she get here? Is she on vacation all by herself or does she live around here? Does she have a family? Does she have a job she’s not showing up to? Does she have hobbies besides jogging? It never comes up. But I don’t know, I can take it as an artistic choice, you don’t usually see that kind of minimalism, even in a movie that’s mainly 3 characters out in the woods. So at least it’s different.
When it’s over I wouldn’t say the movie is worth it, but I did like the very end. Renee has gotten away from Vern and climbed up onto a bridge to try to get the attention of a passing train. She fails, and Vern shows up pointing his rifle at her, saying he’ll shoot. She decides fuck it, just turns and keeps walking. Suddenly a shot rings out and it cuts to a POV, falling from the bridge. But then – hey, wait a minute – it wasn’t her point-of-view we were seeing, it was Vern’s, shot by Joe, who is miraculously still alive, bloody handkerchief tied around his head, crying because he just had to kill his own son.
Renee looks at Joe, who has helped her and just saved her life, and who she’d wanted to get to a hospital before. But she doesn’t go to him. She turns around and keeps walking in the other direction.
That was actually a cool ending, kinda feels like a good western. He does alot for her but it’s not enough, she rejects him without saying a word, and has a long walk ahead of her. If the rest of the movie was as interesting as that we’d have something here.
A little more research has led me to the true story the cover claims this is based on, and as is often the case it sounds more interesting than the movie version. Apparently it’s inspired by a 1984 incident in which Kari Swenson, a biathlete who was doing a training run in Montana got kidnapped by father and son survivalists who wanted to make her the son’s “bride.” (The dad was not a good guy in real life.) They ended up killing a friend of hers who tried to help her, shooting her through the lung and taking off leaving her chained to a tree. She was rescued and recovered in time to win a bronze medal in the world championships. A year after ABDUCTED her story was made into a TV movie called THE ABDUCTION OF KARI SWENSON starring Tracy Pollan and directed by Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s dad. The abductors in that one were played by M. Emmet Walsh and Michael Bowen and they were caught by a sheriff played by Joe Don Baker.
ABDUCTED writer/director Boon Collins (not a brother of Bootsy and Catfish as far as I can tell) did a few other obscure movies including a 2005 slasher called SLEEPOVER NIGHTMARE. Most recently he co-wrote THE CHOSEN ONE with director/star Rob Schneider (JUDGE DREDD, DEMOLITION MAN, KNOCK OFF). According to many reviews it is not a comedy. Collins must’ve gotten along well with Haggerty, because he later directed him in SPIRIT OF THE EAGLE and wrote ESCAPE TO GRIZZLY MOUNTAIN for him.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.