American Nightmare (1983)

R   |    |  Horror, Crime, Thriller

American Nightmare (1983) Poster

A man investigates the disappearance of his sister with the help of her roommate. He uncovers a trail of prostitution, incest, blackmail...and murder.


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6 December 2001 | Wizard-8
Mostly a bore
Despite what the title states, the movie actually takes place in Toronto. Though like most Canadian movies, it is hesitant to say where it's actually taking place - you have to look for clues, such as seeing part of the CN Tower in the background during the final sequence.

As for the movie itself, it's pretty poor overall. It's relentlessly padded, with only a few turns in the story itself. Much of the movie consists of people talking, or to showcase the abundant nudity. Though that latter element may sound like it makes the movie worth watching, it's actually drearily presented, without it being the least erotic.

In fact, every location in the movie comes across as degenerate and filthy - never have I seen Toronto bathed in such an unflattering light. Actually, it's a change of pace for a Canadian movie, and with the movie taking place in a sleazy part of society, it seems somewhat appropriate. Though I'm sure this wasn't intentional, because this was a really low budget movie (only a $200,000 budget - Canadian dollars!), and the production values certainly show it, most notably the lack of adequate lighting.

To be fair, the slasher sequences aren't that bad - the squalid locations and the dark lighting actually give them some atmosphere, and the direction of these sequences show a little imagination (unlike the hopeless direction elsewhere.) And the movie does give B movie fans a chance to see Michael Ironside in not just an early role, but one that gives him the rare opportunity to play a good guy. Aside from those things, the movie is probably only of interest to people interested in Canadian tax shelter movies of this era.

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