It is criminal that many smaller films are so vastly overlooked in the genre, when they display so much creativity and individuality. THE SENDER is one of these films. Its extra-sensory plotting expands on the basic premise of PATRICK while juxtaposing dreams and reality in the same ways that A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and BAD DREAMS would in the years to follow. A telekinetic teen is admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a failed suicide attempt, where his unbridled powers are unleashed upon the medical staff as they try to contain his violent psychic eruptions. John Doe transposes his nightmares on anyone within a close proximity, but director Roger Christian introduces this concept through slow and subtle shifts in the victims' perception of reality, making it impossible to tell when (or if) these nightmares have set in. The level of tension is increased by the fact that John's powers are never given any boundaries, making it uncertain whether his mind can cause the same external damage as his genre brethren Carrie White or Charlie McGee. This is best demonstrated on screen in the brilliantly filmed electro-shock therapy session, where the jolts of electricity cause explosions of psychic energy that are able to throw the doctors across the room, while also driving the other patients mad with visions of death and destruction. Zeljko Ivanek portrays The Sender as a sad and lost character, a boy trapped in a man's body whose oppressive mother has tortured his entire being. It is a very down film, with no lighter moments of comedy or romance to break up the depressing tone. THE SENDER continues to remain undiscovered by many Horror fans, but this undermentioned 80s gem is sure to find a much larger audience now that it is finally available on DVD.
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If you liked THE SENDER, check out:
CARRIE, BAD DREAMS, PATRICK.