Mirage ★★★★

* Part of a collaboration with my fellow Letterboxd friends, organized by the ever elusive Edith Wharton *

This premise may ring a touch familiar: a group of teenagers gather to party, and a mysterious killer picks them off one by one. In this case, the villain is a truck, and the setting is as far removed from civilization as you can possibly get - on endless desert plains. Terror on the outskirts of infinity, with no where to escape to except a hellish expanse of oblivion. I've seen my fair share of urban horror, backwoods horror, and even snowbound horror, but a slasher that takes place in essentially desert with absolutely nowhere to hide... now that's something different. I found an irresistible fascination with this concept, watching victims scatter into the distance as sunspots on the horizon trailed by a roaring engine of death. For something made with nothing except a literal shoestring, the team behind Mirage were surprisingly ambitious, perhaps even unintentionally so, to discover technique through limitation.

The cast is about as likable as a crew of jocks and bimbos can be, but the bleak cracked earth is the real star of the show here. It transports us away from the life we find familiar into the other worldly astral plane the philosopher of the gang tried desperately to educate us on.

"So sorry my karma ran over your dogma."

Mirage persists as a near forgotten relic of the VHS years, may as well lost to the sands of time had it not been for the astonishing reach of digital preservation. Perhaps all this flowery prose is wasted on a low benchmark title such as this, but it just goes to support how many forgotten landmarks of artistic innovation may exist out there. I thank my luck stars that the internet allowed me to appreciate the ethereal battle between a chick who is certainly not a member of The Doors, and a 4channer wild on a Stacy hunt, who also runs over Pure Pwnage with a truck.

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