The cover of the movie The Sender has stuck with me since I was kid though I must admit to not having seen it until the Blu-ray release from Olive Films. I’ve always found that the cover suggested a creature feature or alien picture, some otherworldly being that has mystical powers. I suppose in part that’s not wholly incorrect. The psychic connections and abilities in The Sender are otherworldly, but it certainly isn’t a creation feature picture. Do not expect a practical effects deluge. What works for The Sender is much more subtle.
The Sender is a pretty movie. It looks great in HD and it is shot well. Roger Christian directed and his claim to fame was working on both Star Wars and Alien as an art director. While we didn’t get elaborate sets or creatures or even a darker than life aesthetic, we did get a well shot movie that thrills and intrigues. The Sender is first and foremost a mystery picture. We have to discover the origin of our protagonist and… oh… by the way… there are psychic forces creating problems at every turn that seem to be as a result of some kind of strange Oedipal relationship with our John Doe’s mother. It can get confusing. If you stick with the picture, I assure you that it resolves and you’ll get a satisfying finale.
The opening seen features a tremendous performance by Zeljko Ivanek. It’s truly a special sequence and as eerie and painful as any suicide attempt I’ve seen captured on film. It’s alluring and tantalizing and it makes you truly interested in the story of John Doe. In a sense it’s this sequence that sets this apart from a horror picture and truly makes it stand out as a dramatic movie with paranormal elements.
The Sender packaging from Olive features traditional artwork for the movie based on the poster art which carries over on to the menu screen. As previously stated, the HD transfer is good. There are no extras with this release though I would have enjoyed a little something from Quentin Tarantino who sings this films praises.
From Olive Films:
In this psychological horror film, Zeljko Ivanek (TV’s Damages, Argo) stars as John Doe #83, a patient admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. When Dr. Gail Farmer (Kathryn Harrold, TV’s The Rockford Files, The Hunter), the psychiatrist assigned to his case, begins experiencing vivid hallucinations, she suspects that she may be telepathically connected to her new patient, envisioning what he is experiencing in real time.
As terrifying, dream-like episodes escalate, the audience is drawn into a realm that lies between the waking and sleeping world.
Rounding out the cast in the Roger Christian (Bandido, Prisoners Of The Sun) directed film are Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as Dr. Denman, Dr. Farmer’s skeptical colleague, and Shirley Knight (As Good As It Gets) as Jerolyn, a woman who holds the clue to the identity of The Sender.