Southern Comfort 1981 ★★★★★

Walter Hill presents a group of unprofessional soldiers in a military exercise gone wrong. The score is wildly atmospheric and the setting is claustrophobic.

The setup is a little off-kilter as the characters personalities slowly reveal themselves. The cast don’t easily fall into specific clichéd types. As the drama develops the rivalries emerge as do the group dynamics and issues surrounding leadership.

The film manages to never feel that it is devolving into slasher territory. In part this is due the villains remaining mostly invisible and providing few reaction shots.

The apparent symbolism was something I was unaware of but provides an added layer to the film. The climax with the festivities and then a great slow-motion to freeze frame ending is magical.

The Reverence: Metal genitalia beats out the use of trees as a weapon.

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