The factual and notorious 1977 New York City blackout (thank you, Wikipedia) clearly worked inspirational quite fast! Not even a year later came this raw, gritty and low-budgeted Canadian exploitation flick directed by Eddy Matalon ("Cathy's Curse") and co-produced by Ivan Reitman ("Cannibal Girls", "Ghostbusters"). "Blackout" certainly isn't a great or even memorable thriller, but it stars a couple of familiar faces and features a handful of notably sadistic sequences. When all electricity falls out in New York City, as a result of a heavy thunderstorm, four dangerous criminals manage to escape from a prison transport van and entrench themselves in a luxurious apartment block. The building homes a variety of tenants (including a wealthy elderly couple, a terminally ill patient on life support, an 8- months pregnant lady and a magician with dog) and there's a big fat Greek wedding party at the top floor. With a devastating crime spree and tons of looting going on in the darkened city streets, tough copper Dan Evans finds himself all alone and without any chance for back-up to battle the thugs inside the apartment tower. Especially during the first half hour, "Blackout" is slow-paced and rather uneventful. All characters, including the insignificant supportive ones, are extendedly introduced before the actual power failure, so it seemingly takes ages before something interesting happens. The 1977 blackout became legendary because of the looting and unseen chaos in New York, but these factual aspects are only hinted at in the film and briefly illustrated through – I think – stock footage. I presume there wasn't enough budget to shoot a thriller on the streets, but an apartment complex under siege is a cool alternative. The villainous quartet initially doesn't seem very menacing, but they nevertheless pull off a number of brutish tricks, like rape and execution. Terrific finale, too! Particularly the oddly cast Robert Carradine ("Revenge of the Nerds") is shockingly cold-blooded as the lead gangster, and the fairly unknown Don Granberry is memorable as the (pyro-) maniacal and constantly giggling lunatic Chico. Personal favorite of mine Ray Milland briefly appears – as he did numerous of times during the final years of his rich career – as an embittered old tyrant.
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
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Thriller about four sadistic criminals who, after escaping during a transfer, take over a posh Manhattan apartment complex and start looting and terrorizing its occupants during New York City's famous 1977 blackout.
October 1, 2021