Survival Quest (1989) – By Brian Morton

 When you say the name Don Coscarelli to me, I immediately think of horror movies, but, as I recently learned, this is too narrow thinking when you’re dealing with Mr. Coscarelli! I just had the chance to see the new Anchor Bay DVD release, Survival Quest.

The story here is about one of those wilderness survival courses, you know the kind, they teach you self-esteem by making you live like a mountain man! Well, we have two groups of people here, one is a group of people who are looking to challenge themselves for various reasons, the other group is a para-military group who want to learn how to survive when the ‘big one’ hits. Now, you’d think that in the big wilderness, these two groups wouldn’t even see each other, but when the para-military group decides to use the other group for some cat and mouse games, things get strange. Then, when one of the soldiers accidentally kills one of the peaceful group things get personal! Now, before you think this is just an action movie about people killing each other in the woods, think again, Dermot Mulroney plays a kid who’s been released from prison in order to be rehabilitated in the wilderness, there’s Catherine Keener as a recently divorced woman who’s looking to restore her self-image, each character is well drawn and distinct you won’t find any stereotypes here. The story is so well written and acted that you can’t help but find yourself rooting for the good guys and jeering the bad guys. And, with Lance Henricksen as the moral center of the movie, it’s a shock to me that this isn’t more widely known!

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in quite a while, and it’s definitely one of Coscarelli’s unsung classics! Besides getting to see a young Lance Henicksen and a very young Dermot Mulroney, this movie is just a great adventure movie with enough action thrown in to keep things pumped up. I’m giving Survival Quest four out of four cigars, my highest rating, and then I’m going to go back and watch this great movie again!! You can see this virtually unheard of movie for yourself by heading over to the Anchor Bay web site and getting a copy for yourself, I can’t recommend this movie highly enough! So, until next time, when I’ll reveal that I am, in fact, the great indoorsman, remember that the best movies are bad movies!