HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:72
This is a first for me in quite some time. An 80’s horror movie that I haven’t seen yet. Most people know John McTiernan for such films as “Die Hard” or “Predator”, “13th Warrior” and other action movies. However, before all of these action classics came to be, John wrote and directed his first feature film as an 80s horror flick. Interestingly enough this was also his one and only time WRITING a film as well. In some ways I’m curious to see what he could have become as a writer, but in other ways “Nomads” his writing of “Nomads” deserves to stay in the 80’s, a decade known for cheesy writing. The film isn’t perfect, and won’t ever rise to classics status as have many of his other action oriented projects have been, but it’s a fun little genre flick that highlights and shows off some of the film making talents that he will soon put to good use the next year with his creation of “Predator”.
Flax (Leslie Anne-Down) is a young doctor in downtown Los Angeles, living up her dream of long hours, cruddy pay, and patients who don’t want your help. Her life turns upside down when she is called upon to administer care to a man who’s covered in blood and raving like a lunatic while speaking French. In her efforts to calm him down Flax lets down her guard, allowing this man to grab ahold of her and whisper something in her ear before dying. Thinking the issue a bit odd, Flax goes home and gets some sleep only to have her dreams be of the dying man and his wife (played by Anna Maria). Thinking she’s crazy, Flax stumbles around the city, not realizing that she’s following the same path that her patient took only a night or so before.
Seeing through his eyes, his memories, Flax learns that the dead man was named Jean Charles Prommier, a critically acclaimed anthropologist, who has just moved to Los Angeles with his wife, Niki. Just a few nights ago Jean Charles had seen a group of 80’s punks (the leader being played by Adam Ant) haunting the neighborhood and the anthropologies decides to follow them for almost 2 days straight and find out just what they’re up to. His curiosity may well kill the cat, as Jean Charles soon finds out that these “punks” don’t seem to sleep, eat or do anything like normal people. They terrorize individuals and slip from one area to the next, sometimes vanishing into thin area. Soon the hunted realize that someone has caught on to them Flax comes closer and closer to the moment of Jean Charles death. A death that neither she nor Jean Charles wants to remember.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51562[/img]The movie itself is a cheesy 80’s blast, in a way that ONLY the 80’s could have born. The 80’s rock inspired sound track fits the mood just perfectly, and while the film isn’t wildly HORRIFIC, it certainly had an electric guitar fueled sense of creep that follows the movie around. The first act is your typical mystery with Flax trying to discover just WHY she’s seeing Jean Charles and Niki through Jean Charles eyes. Is she going crazy? Is she just too stressed? Or is there something more sinister. Being that the movie is a dual main character act, we also start wondering WHY Jean Charles is following these street punks? It’s not stated except in one line, but it seems that he’s noticed some weird people in every place he’s been to in the last 10 years, and now the noticed are starting to notice him. The film makes it clear that there is a lot more supernatural going on in the world than what we allow our brains to recognize, but as long as we don’t really focus on them, the spirit world leaves us alone. Now that Jean Charles has locked onto them, he is susceptible to their tricks and ways, opening the door for his own death.
As much fun as I had with the movie, the script itself has some pretty big plot holes. The mysterious Nun who warns Jean Charles part way through the movie states that once they notice you noticing them they’ll start hunting you. Also near the end of the movie when the Unuat (spirits) all congregate around the house, Flax makes the statement “You can see them too”? Which intimates that they can’t be seen by your average human. However, you can see the spirit “punks” causing damage to people’s cars and pushing people around when Jean Charles is following them around, which kind of clashes with what’s said about them in those above circumstances.
The acting is quite decent for an 80’s horror entry with the gorgeous Leslie Anne-Down playing the terrified Dr. Flax quite well, and Pierce Brosnan being as much fun as he was back in his younger days. His French accent isn’t always spot on perfect, but at least he doesn’t let it slip too many times. I had a big laugh watching Adam Ant playing the silent “thug #1”, with his overly stylized 80’s punk outfit (and obvious wig and sideburns added in to boot). The movie doesn’t scream classic, but it’s certainly a fun little entry into McTiernan’s repertoire of movies.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51570[/img]I was rather impressed with the video encode for “Nomads”. These titles that Scream gets ahold of usually aren’t in the greatest of shape and sometimes suffer from very old masters. I can’t guarantee the age of this master, but the disc itself looks quite pleasant. There’s a lot more fine detail than I was expecting and the colors look exceptional. There’s some mild print damage in places, and of course, the famous gritty and grainy stock used during that time period some 30 years ago. The scene with the nun going down the hallway is the most obvious moment of heavy grain, being a dark shot with nothing but a flashlight for illumination. There are some soft moments, but also some REALLY great close ups that look almost like they were shot yesterday. Black levels are strong and while there is some crush, it’s not wildly invasive or annoying. I watched this on a 120 inch projector screen and I LOOKED for artifacts, and besides some very mild blocking I didn’t notice anything unusual. A really nice look picture from Scream Factory.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=51578[/img]The 2.0 DTS-HD MA track is nothing special, but it does the job without hesitation or major issues. It’s your basic 2.0 stereo track from the 1980s, with solid voice replication and some decent panning in the front two speakers. There’s a little bit of LFE baked into the mains, but nothing that will rock your socks off. The real fun for the audio is the 1980’s inspired rock score that permeates the film. It adds a nice layer that most 80’s movies are devoid of, instead of the creepy one or two note tracks that were used during that period.
• Interview with actress Lesley-Ann Down
• Interview with Composer Bill Conti
• Radio Spot
• Still Gallery
“Nomads” is a great little time waster, and a fun little entry into McTiernan’s resume. It was his first writing and directing gig, resulting in a surprisingly entertaining movie. The first act is a bit sluggish, but once we start to realize that the street thugs are more than meets the eye and we meet the nun in the abandoned building it starts to pick up some steam. By the end of the movie it’s a full blown horror flick with a satisfyingly creepy ending. The disc itself has a solid amount of extras for a Scream Factory release and the audio/video score will more than please fans of the movie. Definitely recommend checking it out if you enjoy horror movies.
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Anna Maria Monticelli, Lesley-Anne Down
Directed by: John McTiernan
Written by: John McTiernan, Barry Stern
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Scream Factory
Runtime: 91 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Buy Nomads On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check It Out
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