Sunday, August 23, 2015

The New Kids (1985)

 The New Kids (1985)

PLOT - Two teenage siblings are orphaned when both of their parents die in a tragic car accident. Both decide to move down to Florida to go live with their uncle and help him with his road side amusement park. Trying to cope with their grief, as well as fitting in…it isn't long before they begin getting harassed by a violent gang of thugs from the area. One fateful night, both siblings are trapped inside the amusement park being stalked by the gang. With no choice, they have to team up together and learn how to survive the night and finally fight back once and for all.

LOWDOWN - I first heard about this movie a while back when I decided to see what other movies Sean Cunningham had directed. Cunningham is best known for directing the original Friday the 13th, which gave birth to a handful of popular sequels, and of course one of the most famous slasher killers of all time. In 1985 Sean decided to direct a different sort of horror. This one being a dark thriller featuring young and very talented actors such as James Spader, Lori Loughlin, Eric Stoltz, and Tom Atkins.

I first saw this movie was I had just graduated and moved back home. I remember I was staying at my sister's and I was down right floored over the idea of On Demand (what can I say, I'm very behind with the times) This was on the list of movies you could watch and instantly I knew I needed to see it since at the time the movie was currently out of print. The second the movie started and there was a zany montage of Tom Atkins and his two teenage children working out in slow motion I knew we had a winner.

The story really does get to you since you could totally see yourself in these poor teenager's shoes. Try to think, you had a happy well adjusted life and at such a young age (16/17) you loose both of you're parents, and are forced to move away from everything and everyone you ever knew. If those who have ever lost a parent or a close loved one at whatever age know even briefly what I'm talking about here. The beginning is a total downer, but sets the mood and pace for this film since both siblings know they can truly only count on each other. Besides distant family, there's nobody. Here they are with little to no money, forced to move away from their school and friends and go live legit in the middle of nowhere with their friendly but sorta weird uncle who does take advantage with making them live in a shack, take their money, and work them like dogs at his amusement park/gas station. Now I know some people would argue with me. The uncle wasn't meant to be a bad character. Just a fool with money with good intentions and bad plans. I on the other hand just didn't get that vibe from him. I looked at it as these poor siblings now orphaned, having been forced to move someplace new and try their hardest to earn their keep in helping fix up the run down amusement park. It really kills you seeing them like this, with really no place to turn.

What I love is the slow burn of this movie. How in the middle of Southern Florida there's a gang of thugs led by James Spader with bleach blond hair. I love me some Spader, and he was young as hell in this movie. He always plays the asshole best, and this is one of the many films from the 1980's where he goes it best. I always die whenever the lead goes into his bedroom and hog ties him when he's half naked. - No idea what I'm talking about…well go see this movie ASAP!

There's some truly uncomfortable moments in the movie as the gang keep harassing these two siblings at any cost. (Love the gas station scene between Lori and James) Finally the kids are pushed too far, and the final act takes completely in the amusement park. This was a great setting for the last park, and there's some scenes that are down right amazing (blood splashing on one of the thugs and the dog attacking.) With lots of action, this movie is a fun movie to watch with it's likable characters, touching story, and of course killer ending at the park. Sure the montages are a little cheesy, but this movie really and truly is a treat to watch. In fact I was lucky enough a few years back to pick this movie up on tape! (Also am I the only one that thinks the brother looks just like a cross between Damon Martin and John Stockwell?) Maybe it's just me.

Sure it's no Friday the 13th, but it makes you remember not all horror movies are about ghosts, zombies, or even killers. This horror takes place with regular people when they are pushed too far.

3 stars!

Ps. If anyone can spot John D LeMay as the "redneck" in the crowd scenes please show me. I can't spot him for the life of me!

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