A good mystery is always good, and for any low budget affair, having a movie plot which is not completely laid out within the first 15 minutes helps viewers overlook some of the other limitations such a production can have. ‘Salvage’ takes on this ethos wholeheartedly and provides a good 50 minutes of tension where neither the viewers nor characters in the movies know what is going on, but genuinely want to find out.
The movie begins with a daughter of a bad marriage being dropped off rather reluctantly at her mother’s for Christmas. When she walks in on her mum shagging, she storms out of the house and over to her friends. Her mum recomposes herself and goes after her, but is quickly confronted by a squad of soldiers totting guns on her lawn. Soon enough the street is put under curfew with the mother and her lover being left to fend for themselves as the whole street seems to have come under attack by persons unknown.
This is where both the movies strength, and ultimately weakness lie; the mystery of the story. I won’t spoil it for you because if I do reveal the ‘twist’ of the movie then there truly is no point in you watching it. Snippets of clues are given via TV broadcast and then through soldier radio chatter, but for the most part the plot is told from the stranded mother’s point of view. Initially the claustrophobic nature of her being stuck inside is quite effective, and with the threat of violence coming from a variety of sources, there are some sections which are quite suspenseful and tense. Whilst it’s true, the scares are pretty cheap, the combination of all of these factors lend to quite a good atmosphere and certainly hold your interest.
Eventually though the veil of mystery must come down and when it does what follows isn’t really that impressive at all. The more astute of you will have guessed the twist after about half an hour, as I did, and be hoping that they haven’t simply took the easy plot line out, but sadly yes, they do, and from the 50 minute mark the remaining 25 minutes is silly and boring; nothing more than a lot of running about in the dark.
In the movie there are some scattered scenes of violence, and despite the budget the effects are pretty decent; the blood in particular is the nice dark syrupy type, and we are treated to a decent throat slash and a pretty brutal impalement. These help to nicely add to the atmosphere of the storyline.
Overall this low budget affair does well at the beginning, holding the suspense and mystery until the last moment, however ultimately the revelation was always going to be somewhat of an anticlimax. From this point on the movies tight set pieces become a little sloppy, opening up some plot inconsistencies which completely undermine the authenticity of the whole movie.