SOLE SURVIVOR (1983) Reviews and overview

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Sole Survivor is a 1983 American horror feature film written and directed by Thom Eberhardt (Night of the Comet), making his feature film debut. The movie stars Anita Skinner, Ken Johnson and Robin Davidson.


TV commercial producer Denise (Anita Skinner) emerges unscathed as the sole survivor of an airliner crash and feels as if she’s about to be caught by something.

Her doctor/boyfriend Brian (Ken Johnson) is convinced that she’s experiencing “survivor’s syndrome” in which sole survivors experience guilt and either commit suicide or put themselves in dangerous situations. Denise also receives some ambiguous warnings from psychic ex-actress Carla (Caren Larkey) who predicted the crash.

A series of strange sightings and encounters of zombie-like people escalates until it is apparent that something is trying to kill her as people around her start dying as well…

Her sceptical boyfriend thinks Denise is going crazy until he finds out that a number of recently dead people – including one that Denise claims attacked her – were found with all of the blood in their bodies drained into their legs as if they had died standing upright…

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“The scares are often kept simple, such as a well placed shadow falling at just the right time, before lurching into the third act assaults from the undead. The dead themselves are creepy, open-mouth, staring-contest winners that look like distant cousins of the old classic Carnival of Souls, which is another film that bears some resemblance.”Dread Central

“It’s the subtlety of Sole Survivor that draws you in; Eberhardt slowly tightening the tension with a foreboding, uneasy truth that things will not end well for Denise or those she holds dear. It’s the inevitability of it all that stands out in a low key turn such as this. As the old joke goes, the only certainties in life are death and taxes.” Daily Dead

“Hoping to avoid the Friday the 13th approach to dread that defined the ’80s, this eerie little effort hopes to transcend the times to deliver something different. Instead, it comes across as deadly…deadly DULL, that is.” DVD Talk

” …eerie exercise in dread, one that manages to reference Rod Serling, Ingmar Bergman and George Romero, sometimes within the same scene. It’s an admittedly depressing picture, one in which we know our heroine is doomed and we can only watch, helpless, as every move she makes just slams another nail in her cosmically preordained coffin.” Coming Soon

Cast and characters:

  • Anita Skinner … Denise Watson
  • Kurt Johnson … Brian Richardson + Ghost Story; The Fan
  • Robin Davidson … Kristy Cutler
  • Caren Larkey … Karla Davis
  • Andrew Boyer … Blake
  • Daniel Cartwell … Lt. Patterson
  • Wendy Blake … Roxie
  • Steven Isbell … the Cabbie
  • William Snare … Artie
  • Clay Wilcox … Randy
  • Brinke Stevens … Jennifer
  • Leon Robinson … the Gang Leader


Sole Survivor was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by International Film Marketing (IFM) on January 24, 1984. Vestron Video released it on VHS in 1985. The film was released on DVD in the United States by Code Red DVD in 2008.


Carnival of Souls (1962) reviews and free to watch online in HD

FINAL DESTINATION (2000) Reviews and overview

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