Monday, January 31, 2011

83 Hours Til Dawn (1990)

I will admit that I solely was made aware of this movie after reading the IMDB page for Buried after watching it the other night.  That made me think of one of my childhood traumas (I have to write to Kindertrauma!) which was Carly from Days of Our Lives being buried alive by her sadistic aunt, or whoever it was.

Anyway, all of this led me to the early 90s made-for-TV gem, 83 Hours 'Til Dawn.  This movie is based on the true story of Barbara Jane Mackle, an heiress who was kidnapped in 1968 and hidden underground in a fiberglass box buried in a Georgia forest. 

83 Hours is basically a retelling of this story, with Peter Strauss looking creepy and Robert Urich looking super-serious.  The story is told through the setup of a doctor examining Wayne Stracton (Strauss) to see if he can be declared clinically insane for his upcoming trial. So he recalls everything in flashbacks until the doctor makes his decision regarding the sanity of this man.

Julie Burdock (Samanthis Mathis) is a rich young college student, who has come down with the flu.  Her mother comes to pick her up and bring her home to recover, but they must stay the night in a motel first.  Posing as police, Stracton and his galpal (disguised as a young man) enter the room and kidnap Julie.  She is buried in a box with only 83 hours of oxygen, and the ransom demands are made.  Bradley Burdock (Urich) is torn between going vigilante and tracking down his daughter, or following the police protocol.   

I thought this movie was pretty exciting and interesting, but then again, I'm a sucker for Lifetime-esque reenactments of real-world events.  I thought the shots inside the "capsule" were well done and Strauss was effectively creepy.  Ulrich was dripping with early 90s cheesiness, but I can't fault him for that.  I liked it, and it's available on Netflix instant!

photo source