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Kim Page is a college student whose house sitting for one of her parent's friends, and this house is a wealthy looking villa. Watching TV one-night the picture changes to a couple having sex. Then suddenly the man suffocates the lady and wraps her up in a plastic bag. Then it goes back to old movie she was watching. Thinking nothing much of it at first, this changes when it seems to happen every night with a different lady being killed. Kim starts to believe she's going crazy, because no one else seems to get the signal. However at the same time there is a killer within the area who is disposing of his victims the same way.
This low-budget late 80s psychotic serial killer feature is an unfairly forgotten staple (nice video artwork too), as the concept driving it is an innovative, offbeat one and the lead actress Yvette Nipar chips in with a strong, capable performance. It's on the cheap and that shows up quite noticeably, in somewhat of a made for TV feel. However this one can be quite sleazy and nasty, although never too graphic. Some sequences (namely the transmission scenes) do have a raw, unnerving edge to them and that relies heavily on the film's one-note novelty. The way the deaths are staged, is that you catch a glimpse on the TV and that's it. You begin to share the protagonist's confusion and frustration in what she is seeing and trying to convince those around what she saw.
It's a real slow build-up, constructing the situation (bringing in characters), setting the tone and finally making it a real dangerous predicament. At times repetitive, but only within the last half-hour does the story really become threatening and suspenseful when the killer targets our heroine. He's quite secondary in the first half. This little cat and mouse game in the villa (which really does bestow atmosphere) is effectively done with its rousing thrills and the final few frames is perfectly realised with a neat closing. The script doesn't bother much with selling red herrings, they are there but it's foreseeable and by the end we are kept pretty much in the dark with even more questions.
The cast also features the likes of Martin Landau and Jerry Van Dyke as the detectives on the case; both committing themselves to the roles fully and the chemistry between the two were always amusingly hearty --- where the humour comes off. The rest of the performances feel amateurish, but never harmful. Director Virginia L Stone's low-scale direction is a confident display (although there's constant use of wide shots), where her focus is on the performances and developing the plot with well timed jolts. The score is overstated, but during the darker/tension laced moments it remained unsettling.
"Run if you Can" wasn't what I was expecting, but it turned out to be interesting little low-rent b-grade straight-to-video thriller.
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