No one paid attention to the Australian horror film, The Survivor, when it hit the screen in 1981. In fact, over the past 32 years, other than me, no one else has noticed The Survivor either. That is not quite true, it is obvious that this effective chiller influenced M. Night Shyamalan when he made Unbreakable (2000) and The Sixth Sense (1999). The goose-bump factor those two films deliver is also present in this film which stars one of my favorite actresses, Jenny Agutter.
The very creepy plot: Moments after take-off, a 747 crashes. The huge explosion kills all 300 passengers and crew. But wait, there is one survivor! The Captain is found wandering, in a daze, from the fiery wreckage of the plane. He has no injuries, and no memory as to what has just occurred. The subsequent government investigation concludes that there is no way this pilot could have survived, and a bomb might have caused the crash. The surviving pilot is now a suspect, and he must conduct his own investigation as to what happened.
Enter Hobbs, played by Jenny Agutter (Logan's Run and Equus), a woman who just happens to be communicating with the restless spirits of those who perished during the crash. She guides the Captain during his personal investigation with horrific results. Both of them need to be careful, as those who are finding answers to this mystery are being murdered in horrible ways.
The story was written by James Herbert (Dune) and filmed in Adelaide Hills in South Australia. The crash depicted at the start of this film is frightening. Joseph Cotton (Baron Blood) does a good job as a priest. Jenny Agutter is elegant and mysterious, and does a fine job as a medium who knows more than she is letting on. Robert Powell is fantastic as the pilot who is tortured with guilt.
If Ordinary People did not float your boat in the early 1980s, check out The Survivor...you'll sleep with the lights on if you do.