The Prowler (1981)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This run-of-the-mill entry in the early '80s slasher film cycle benefits from an unexpected amount of technical gloss, but has little else to offer. The big problem with The Prowler is its script, which has a fairly effective setup, but squanders its initial promise by populating its scenario with cardboard characterizations and lumbering from one contrived shock to the next without ever building any suspense or unexpected complications into the narrative. These complaints might have been rendered moot by some imaginative direction, but Joseph Zito's work is thoroughly uninspired and often allows the pace to drag to a numbing standstill. Mediocre performances don't help things any. Vicki Dawson and Christopher Goutman make wooden, colorless leads and the considerable talents of Farley Granger and Lawrence Tierney are wasted on uninteresting cameo parts. On the plus side, The Prowler benefits from a picturesque setting, slick photography, and some spectacularly gruesome makeup effects by Tom Savini. However, none of these quality elements can make up for the lack of a solid story or interesting characters. As a result, The Prowler is not likely to be of interest to anyone except genre completists.