Shawn Palmquist’s review published on Letterboxd:
Targets is like a demented episode of Leave it to Beaver…if Beaver was a stone cold homicidal maniac. Bobby Thompson is depicted very straightly as the everyday man of the 60’s. He refers to his father as ‘sir’ and has a very ‘golly gee’ sort of way about him. His family life seems pretty normal in most respects too. Something isn’t right with Bobby though…he’s having these thoughts plague him about doing something bad that he just can’t shake.
The cold nature of how Bobby seems to make the decision to go on a shooting spree is what drives the odd and haunting tone of the film. We aren’t made to know any specific reason as to why he goes off the rails…he seems perfectly jolly most of the time, even when he’s picking off cars on the freeway with a sniper rifle. It’s as if a switch gets flipped that gives him the impulse to do this, which is pretty scary especially in these modern times of mass shootings at least once a year lately.
Contrasting with Bobby is an aging film star played by Boris Karloff. The story shifts between the two men’s respective lives leading up to when their paths ultimately cross which results in a hilariously awesome final act of the film.
I had a really fun time with this one. Despite the grim subject matter things are paced brilliantly to allow for a brisk and always entertaining thriller. It’s like a really well made B-movie that has overgrown it’s its own britches with a well fleshed out story that is presented near flawlessly. It’s one of the more interesting exercises of a dark topic like this I’ve ever seen…you’d be hard pressed to find another film that tackles this subject matter in such an interesting way tonally. Somehow it manages to be very dark, entertaining, and devoid of somber all at once. Highly recommended.
Pro tip: This gem expires from Netflix instant this weekend...if it interests you, keep that in mind.