A young woman has a vivid dream that she is assaulted and murdered in her home by a serial killer. But was it just a dream? She can't shake the dream, and soon starts having weird visions of her attacker. And then things get weirder.
Not sure how this one ended up on my Netflix queue, but when it started up, I suddenly got a bad feeling. It was clearly a low budget, shot on digital, direct to video release. Not to slag on low budget film makers, but I've seen too many of these kinds of movies in recent years that were unwatchable or not worth watching; I usually need to have them recommended by a trusted source to give them a shot. Too often they are ugly, poorly made, boring and lazy.
I can't recommend Salvage, but I will at least damn it with faint praise by saying that it was far more competent and watchable than most microbudget modern horror. There's still the awkwardness and insufficient atmosphere that often comes hand in hand with cheap digital photography, but the acting and filmmaking are generally passable.
The film's biggest problem, and I'm going to get into some major SPOILERS here, is that it becomes clear after a certain point that there's a big twist coming at the end, but not enough plot to sustain a feature, so the second half of the film is mainly wheel spinning until we get to the final revelation. I felt like, relatively early on, I already guessed the twist, and I became restless waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's not like the movie is shy about dropping hints, either. They pretty much jam it down your throat what's going to happen, that it wasn't a dream, the girl really was killed, and now she's in Hell reliving her murder over and over for eternity. And here's where I will give Salvage a little credit: the twist is slightly different than what you expect. Turns out that the girl isn't really the girl, she's the killer, now in Hell, being forced to live as his victim, believing he is her, and experiencing her death at his hands for eternity.
Nifty, but it raises some questions. Namely, that if the killer doesn't realize who he is and believes he is the girl, complete with her memory and everything... isn't that still like the girl was sent to Hell and not him? As the girl, the killer goes about her regular life, fools around with her boyfriend, even seems horrified at the end when her mother says "you're not my daughter." He retains no remnants of his personality until right before he is "killed." So it still seems like Hell is punishing the innocent young woman and not the killer.
Not that it matters, this little variation on an old, tired idea lends the movie just a little bit of novelty, and I won't deny it that.