The Sender (1981)


Directed by: Roger Christian

Written by: Thomas Baum


Kathryn Harrold .... Gail Farmer
Zeljko Ivanek .... The Sender
Shirley Knight .... Jerolyn
Paul Freeman .... Dr. Denman
Sean Hewitt .... The Messiah

Release Date: Theatrical: October 22, 1981



A disturbed telepathic man the Sender (Zeljko Ivanek) attempts suicide and is sent to a care home in which his nightmares affects the people around him and a therapist Gail Farmer (Kathryn Harrold) tries to help him but a mysterious woman Jerolyn (Shirley Knight) gets in the way.


During the beginning of this story things seem to look peaceful in a forestry area and then we spot our title character the Sender walking towards a playground area and a lake in which he stuffs rocks in his jacket and is walking slowly into the lake which looked well done on someone attempting suicide which makes the beginning of this story truly mysterious to watch on what will happen next.
While he gets sent to a care home there's great interactions between him and one of the workers whom is Gail Farmer with her being soft spoken and him being totally aggressive as this looked well drawn in with this scene.
Some mysterious situations take place while in the ward such as the Messiah acting a bit creepy as well as a situation with
Jerolyn whom is a mysterious woman which makes you wonder as to who she is.
The horror starts to kick in when Gail opens a fridge to get some vaccines and something creepy infestations arise there but proves to be a hallucination which was a nice touch to the story.
Then at night after work Gail reveals a mysterious pick up truck in the stormy night as well as this vehicle following her plus seeing the Sender standing somewhere in an area looking like a hitchhiker and this vehicle picks him up as I don't want to give out spoilers as to who is driving this vehicle but it looked extremely ghostly while watching this as well as Gail almost getting into a car accident which was another nice pointer adding the suspense up.
Gail goes into a washroom to wash her face and reveals as to what the water really is which is a great horror touch as well as the people at the ward making him sleep with intense accidents happening to these people and when he wakes up everything is back to where it was belonged which was nicely done psyching you out as to why this is happening.
Next up Gail goes to the rooms of the patients as there's a rodent problem and creepy moments as to what one of these critters do as this seems to pay a tribute to Ben.
The Sender watches some TV with the other patients as there's some breaking news while watching this happening the news reporter speaks like a broken record trying to drive him insane as he tries to destroy the TV and it doesn't work as well as the other patients taunting him in which there's great camera shots focusing on this subject. Plus there's a shocking situation as to what he does to the Messiah as this will please horror fans big time like myself.
The Sender is sent do have surgery done on his head and a surprising situation happens as this was action packed terror going around these people as it was a classic moment that I won't give away and would have to see for themselves but I can tell you it was probably an inspiration on future horror flicks.
The Sender takes the pick up truck to a cabin to find information and is greeted by Jerolyn as this was well done and scripted to find answers for what he is doing while dreaming. It seemed necessary to have this moment occur.
Bottom line is that this flick resembled to a Stephen King type of tale and can see it inspired other horror flicks such as A Nightmare On Elm Street or even Slaughterhouse Rock. It was a clever flick by how it was brought together. Good special effects and lots of fun to watch the outcomes wondering if this troubled person is sleeping or awake since this is a brain teaser indeed.

The acting is very well performed in which Kathryn Harrold (Gail Farmer) seemed to do well with her caring type of attitude and had the right looks and appeal to this role as she was a right choice. She shows alot of energy and enthusiasm.
Zeljko Ivanek (The Sender) as the title character does well with his basket case type of behavior and does a good job by acting totally out of it. Plus shows a good aggressive and arrogant attitude whenever he needed to behave this way. He brings his intensity to the extreme whenever he freaks out which is greatly performed.
Shirley Knight (Jerolyn) really presented herself as truly mysterious and ghostly like to her part as she did come across as someone unknown. She studied this role incredibly well for what she had to do here. Had the right charisma.
Paul Freeman (Dr. Denman) was great as the head doctor at the ward in which he shows a terrific seriousness as well as being short with someone which was very noticeable when he behaved this way. Had the terrific looks for this part since he looked perfectly serious. A great choice indeed.
Canadian actor Sean Hewitt (The Messiah) does his role very nicely as someone whom is very strange as well as doing a good job acting a bit nuts as well as doing a great job taunting someone in a scene. I will always love his performance as Duneedon in the educational sci fi TV series Read All About It and it was nice that he had a good role in this one.

Someone slashes his wrist with broken glass.
A head is punched off.

Trevor Jones does a very solid and achieveable score for this flick as he has a nice peaceful opening in the story which seems to shine off well along with alot of string pluckings in other parts of the film. Plus some great drum rolling sounds for the suspenseful moments which reminded me on a similar score in The Shining. Great french horn playing too especially during the closing credits. Yes he knew his craft marvellously.