Actually managing to get itself selected for the Sundance Film Festival back in the day, this low-budget horror feels like a twisted combination of Groundhog Day and The Truman Show.

Initially released under the title Gruesome and apparently playing the film festival circuit as such, Salvage had a budget of around $25,000. In fact, lead actress Lauren Currie Lewis was the sole hair and makeup artist for the film.

With the tagline ‘Murder me once, shame on you. Murder me twice, shame on me…’ and quite possibly one of the most stereotypical synopses ‘Claire Parker is going to die’, Salvage doesn’t look like much.

Written, directed and produced by the Crook Brothers, Salvage focuses on Claire, a woman who is repeatedly murdered then wakes up in a different place every time, thinking that she has dreamt the entire thing. She continues to live each day with a similar routine to the last (hence Groundhog Day).

Persistent killer Duke Desmond, who is supposedly dead, isn’t satisfied with cutting Claire’s face off just once. He keeps going for her again and again. According to him… “The only thing that’s real in this whole world is what you feel… when I cut your head off.”

After a couple of, quite frankly pitiful, attempts to get help from the town’s detective, Claire is told: “I can’t tell you what’s going on Claire, but you’re gonna find out soon enough” (Truman Show style).

Luckily, we have boyfriend Jimmy around to break the tension for us just when things get a bit too serious. He’s busy dreaming about threesomes and conveniently running off to take a dump in the killer’s cabin, resulting in what can only be described as classic karma.

With some stellar acting, Lauren Currie Lewis is probably the best thing about this film. Unheard of and with no frills, she is more believable than a lot of big names.

One of the most noticeable things about Salvage is its soundtrack. At first it sounds exactly like an Evanescence album but it’s actually music by a small-time, seemingly unheard of, band called Devola. One of the songs I happened to ‘Shazam’ during the film had been searched for once. ONCE.

The low-budget nature of Salvage results in very minimal visual effects, no Tara Reid, no boobs and no elaborate costumes or masks – fantastic.

There could have been a few more characters along the way, ultimately there were only really three – the killer, the girl who keeps being killed and her boyfriend. A bit more variety for me please.

I won’t give away the ending but I was pretty happy about the way it panned out, although it may be a tad obvious for some. There are quite a few not-so-subtle hints along the way.

Most important was the resulting ‘slow burn’ effect after the credits – the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t shake that creepy feeling you get from a film that manages to hit a lot of the right notes.

Definitely worth a watch.

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