Chosen Survivors (1974)

Genres - Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - Mexico, United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This obscure late-night t.v. favorite is a prototypical example of the doomy sci-fi that proliferated during the early 1970's. The script does an effective job of setting up its doomsday scenario in a sparse, unsentimental style, weaving in plenty of shocks and a new intriguing plot twists along the way. Sutton Roley's direction takes a similar approach, using a stark visual palette and a sometimes unnerving musical score by Fred Karlin to play up the fear and disorientation of its heroes. Chosen Survivors relies on its performances to achieve much of its effect and thankfully, everyone involved does a fine job. Jackie Cooper is the main scene-stealer as a smarmy, obnoxious industrialist whose paranoid ways make him unexpectedly well-prepared for the situation but there is also fine work from Bradford Dillman as a scientist whose nervous demeanor obscures some interesting secrets and Lincoln Kilpatrick as an ex-Olympian with a pragmatic take on his predicament. On the downside, Chosen Survivors suffers from some dodgy visual effects and some rather curdled attempts at philosophizing about the better side of human nature. That said, such flaws are likely to add to the film's oddball charm for genre fans. To sum up, Chosen Survivors might be a little too eccentric and rough around the edges for a mass audience but fans of 1970's sci-fi are likely to appreciate its chilly, despairing vibe.