Bluray Review: THE SENDER (1982)

bd-front-the-senderGiving fans one hell of a telepathic thriller, Roger Christian (BANDIDO)’s 1982 film THE SENDER has finally made its way to Bluray, and it’s one entertaining ride that really holds up incredibly well. Following Gail Farmer (Kathryn Harrold, RAW DEAL, THE HUNTER), a woman who works at a mental hospital and her interest in a new patient only known as “John Doe #83” (portrayed by character actor Zeljko Ivanek, IN BRUGES, HANNIBAL), THE SENDER does an excellent job of giving genre fans a film that is unlike any other films of its type.

Calling himself “Christ” and exhibiting typical messiah-complex like tendencies, John Doe #83 on the surface just seems like another mystery patient, who thinks he’s god. What causes Gail to gravitate towards him though, is the strange occurrences that seem to surround Doe, ones that at first seem coincidental, yet as the film goes on, she (and we as the audience) begin to think there’s a lot more to the guy than what we’re led to believe. He begins to exhibit telepathic powers, causing various things to occur, from being inside of Gail’s house while he’s also at the mental facility, to full on telepathic situations involving violence.

All throughout these series of events, what keeps the film from feeling like we’ve been there and done that already, is the down to Earth approach that Ivanek chooses to perform with, his character seems calm and almost innocent-like, causing us to wonder what’s going on, and who is pulling the strings. Is it John Doe #83 and his Christ-like powers, or could it be the odd Jerolyn (Shirley Knight, GRANDMA’S BOY, AS GOOD AS IT GETS), a woman who seems to be a motherly figure to Doe, but as the film goes on, ends up having more tricks up her influential sleeve than we’re led to believe.

It’s a wonderful psychological thriller, which uses atmosphere over gore, and story over cliche’, both working so well to its advantage, and Olive Films’ new bluray really does a good job bringing THE SENDER to a new audience that might have accidentally overlooked the film upon its initial release,  or were too young to know about it growing up.

Though it’s light on the supplemental area, the transfer looks good, and doesn’t overdo it when it comes to the film’s transfer. It’s frustrating when an older film is cleaned up so much that it looks like it was filmed today, something that causes a lot of older films hitting Bluray to lose their time stamp, something that thankfully isn’t the case with THE SENDER. It looks like it’s a product of the ’80s, and rightfully so, it has that old school, slow-burn tone to it, something that reminds us of a time when everything didn’t have to be edited to look like an MTV music video.

A wonderfully entertaining telepathic horror film with excellent performances, THE SENDER is one to pick up asap, it’s definitely a film that needs to be in ever horror lover’s collection. The rewatch value is high with this one, and it’s one more hit from Olive Films.

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