The film flashes forward to the Present Day, circa 1981. Camp Crystal Lake is being reopened, and a new staff of teenagers [including Kevin Bacon - Tremors ] are there to revamp the camp. Lots of fodder for the insane killer ...
There is one killing, early on, in a vain attempt to keep some kind of tension. But while the film is only 83 minutes long, most of the running time consists merely of establishing the climax. One scene exists soley to establish that there is a machete in the camp, while another only shows that there is an archery range with deadly arrows.
In short, this is slow and tedious. Halloween creates genuine tension and suspense that leaves you on the edge of your seat, but this is just boring.
The real star is Patrick McGoohan [ The Prisoner ], who plays Mary's half-brother James Stuart, Earl of Moray. His beard and mannerisms make him merely a younger version of his role in Braveheart , which goes to show how good he is at playing the cunning heroes of history. Moray leads the Presbyterian noblemen who want to free their country from Mary and the threat of the Spanish Inquisition.
The other main foil for Mary is Queen Elizabeth I [Glenda Jackson, who played the same role in the TV show Elizabeth R]. Although in reality Elizabeth and Mary never met, for the sake of dramatic tension the movie allows for a couple of secret face-to-face encounters between them.
All in all, this is a well-made and reasonably historically accurate portrayal of events. The only real problem is that Mary is shown as too unbelievably perfect and flawless, the innocent victim of the machinations of others. In reality she was a cold-hearted politician who plotted to seize two thrones and was involved in the murder of her husband!
Along with an American journalist [ Miranda Richardson ], March uncovers signs that something unpleasant happened to the Jews in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine during the 1940s.
The original book by Robert Harris was nowhere near as good a conspiracy thriller as, say, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. The film adaption has been altered in some ways, though it is recognisably the same story. Harris himself protested mainly about the adaption's portrayal of March's relationship with his son. The movie put things in a sickly-sweet light, which did it no favours.
Zakes Mokae played the evil Voodoo priest in Serpent and the Rainbow , while hre he is cast as the police sergeant trying to killthe demon.
This is reminiscent of the better offerings of Clive Barker . The cinematography is excellent, making the most of the breathtaking scenery. There is an air of suspense not found in more mainstream big-budget American horror films.