Salvage (2006) - Claire Parker (Lauren Currie Lewis) works at a local convenience store on the overnights. The morning after a shift her boyfriends truck arrives to pick her up and take her home but it is not her boyfriend driving. This film written and directed by Jeff Crook and Josh Crook begins doing a fine job building dread and tension. Nervous Claire is convinced by Duke (Chris Ferry) that he works with her man, Jimmy (Cody Darbe) and the ride can happen. Not being a complete idiot she calls Jimmy but gets his answering service. The tension of the ride is great and you can feel the mistake just as Claire can. The flash to the back of the truck showing something wrapped in the blue tarp is good. Then the ante ups, Duke talks about how pretty she is. Then he touches her face, she reacts poorly of course and he says "Not going to be a stuck up cunt are you?" Luckily for Claire they arrive at her house right at that moment. The tension can be relieved for a bit. She gets into the house but then Duke is at the door. Suddenly we are tense again with Claire. This is really well done and although her fate is to be dragged into the cellar and have her face cut off they build to it really well. That first scene of course is just a dream for young Claire and she wakes having dozed off at the counter in the store.
This time when she goes out for her ride it is her boyfriend Jimmy who arrives. We get to learn about a bit about their relationship, he is thinking a 3 way with her best friend is a good idea; his shitty truck with a bad starter (Gee is that going to come up later?) and it is an opportunity for Claire to stare out the window and see someone digging in a corn field. A lot of this story is pretty well done scare stuff, "Whose there?" kind of tension. Claire has this really good scene in the store she works when she sees someone on the monitor of the security cam. Later when with the police things are not how she remembered them.
The Duke story is that this sick bastard serial killer ends up being shot by the police, but not before he killed a couple teens. So the film starts feeling a bit "Carnival of Souls" we sort have get an idea of what is going on with Claire and are on the ride of watching her as she discovers the truth about herself. If there is a criticism that needs to be stated is that from here on it takes a long time to get to that conclusion. There is nothing wrong with the tension but it is hard to keep it going and the more the movie does it the more the payoff is going to have to be BIG. Between the effective music and the really creepy killer Duke they do a really good job but the underwhelming ending is such a Twilight Zone type disappointment. I won't give it away because I am going to recommend this film but I felt like it really mean of the film to twist the way it does. Such a nice job was done building the relationship with Claire, to then break that empathetic relationship at the end was a bit mean. Overall if you like a sort of slow moving but reasonably well done thriller this may be the movie for you.
Rating (5.5) 5.0 and up are recommended, in the Zombiegrrlz system I would say Rent it.