Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Horror Public Access (1993)

Public Access (1993)

Sparse and disparate are the reviews I’ve read of this movie, prompting my return to its decade + old first showing in a self-edifying attempt to better justify it as a movie of depth and meaning. And that it is, so much so, that it is difficult for this reviewer not to succumb to what students in comparative literature call, an explicaion de text. However, that would defeat the purpose of a movie review, to attract a potential audience to see a movie the reviewer deems worthwhile.

Public Access is not only worthwhile it is representative of a very small category of horror films that touch upon the human condition with a clarity that even adds to the element of horror. The morality play of the past is brought to cinema with a vengeance when this is done well. In this respect Public Access triumphs and that is high acclaim for any low budget thriller/horror film.

Of course, to begin with, the script is excellent. Director, Bryan Singer collaborates with Christopher McQuarrie and Michael Feit Dougan to write it. Lighting and the selection of film (guessing Kodak’s Ektochrome) are other choices well enhancing this movie’s intended tone. Special effects are almost wholly the province of set design and camera work with the emphasis on the “psychological”, reflecting back on the quality of the script and directing.  Absolutely very gifted choices in utilizing limited resource.

Another asset to this film’s success is the casting and the quality of performance by supporting roles. The dark figure around which action core and story line are carried is Ron Marquette as Whiley Pritcher. His performance leaves the viewer wondering why Mr. Marquette has not been seen in more leading roles. Burt Williams gives a convincing performance in supporting role as the befuddled but articulate small town crank and Pritcher’s landlord, Bob Hodges. A less demanding but still well served role is that of Rachel, played by Dina Brooks. Brandon Boyce’s performance as the justifiably disturbed, Kevin Havey, is professional and, in the most intense of all roles, well sustained within margins below that of over-acting. A rare attribute it seems in low budget films.

Whiley Pritcher arrives in the small town of Brewster carrying his bags and on foot. The opening scene is marked by the town’s corporate intruder’s truck arriving as well. Significantly the film will end the same way, only with Pritcher leaving, making a masterful use again of limited resource to effect a most ominous framework around this macabre tale.

We are not assured at the end if Pritcher is a paid assassin and mind-bending promoter or if he is an almost demonic psychotic megalomaniac, just as if we cannot be ever convinced fully by even the most astute historian the same determinations about such men as Adolf Hitler. However, there are clues throughout to decline the penetrating viewer towards discovery. Masterfully laid. (This film is a real sleeper.)

This reviewer came away with an expression created in concert with my viewing, “I am in command, I will show the world what I am”. For such creatures as Pritcher are among us, even prominently so. Instead of asking, however, “What do you think is wrong with Brewster?”, they ask such questions as, “what will you do to save American lives?”

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