Opening with a brief history and contextual overview of the video nasties era, Ozgur Uyanik’s debut feature delves imaginatively into the world of the found footage sub-genre of horror movies, capitalising on the media-sparked paranoia surrounding these notorious 80s gems. James Powell stars as James R Parker, an enthusiastic film industry hopeful who gets his first step on the ladder as a runner for a Soho-based production company. Desperate to impress his friendly yet demanding boss Mike and to withstand the constant taunts and put-downs of his more established colleague Dorothy, he subjects himself to the most undesirable tasks in a bid to appear indispensable. When cleaning the understandably filthy basement he uncovers the reels of an unfinished film, The Street Walker, a low-budget nasty horror with which he becomes infatuated, an obsession that is driven further when he notices a reflection of the film’s director in one of the shots. Thus, with his boss’s blessing, he is prompted to finish the film himself in the hope that the complete picture will be his ticket to success. However, the more James uncovers and his fascination escalates, the darker his story becomes.
The use of faux documentary within horror is always a risky device. If used ineffectively, plot and budget holes will be magnified greatly, but if approached with care, it can make for a genuinely chilling and believable experience. Resurrecting the Street Walker walks a fine line between the two throughout the course of its slight 80-minute running time. The opening 20 minutes superbly blend a classic curse story and an account of breaking into the British film industry as seen from a typically inexperienced enthusiast’s perspective, which is instantly gripping and easy to relate to.
Much of the film is played out through talking head interviews of various characters affiliated with James, and this device hinders the film’s unpredictability, as early sequences clearly point to the film’s conclusion. These segments don’t really add anything to the journey documented by the footage captured by his friend Marcus, which displays James’s mental unravelling far more effectively. The film’s climax itself isn’t particularly thrilling or believable, but snippets of the found footage are suitably unsettling and the film contains some shocking moments, including a particularly nasty strangulation scene.
Resurrecting the Street Walker does succeed, however, in conveying the pain and passion of people working their way up from the bottom of the film industry, with James Powell giving a heartfelt performance as a young man who refuses to give in to his parent’s wishes for him to find a ‘proper’ job and has the perseverance required to triumph through unpaid internships. It’s an amusing and familiar tale to anyone who has been in his position and has faced real-life characters resembling Dorothy, brilliantly played with a wealth of creative put-downs by Lorna Beckett, and for this reason it is worth seeking out.