Nomads (1986) – Review

3 Stars

Pierce Brosnan jumps from television to the big screen in this debut film from director John McTiernan. Nomads is a simple story made complex by sophisticated editing, great atmospheric cinematography and an overall foreboding tone. It’s no wonder that McTiernan was recruited to helm Predator based on the controlled tension that is so present in this small scale horror thriller.

Jean Charles Pommier (Brosnan) is a French anthropologist now residing with his wife in their new home located in a Los Angeles suburb. The setting is idyllic, until a roving band of street punks start littering Pommier’s home with obscene graffiti. It starts as a childish prank, but soon escalates into murder. The seemingly innocent social scientist is victimized by these hoodlums, only to realize that this band of creeps isn’t typical or even human. Jean is taken to the hospital where he attacks his attending physician, a beautiful woman (Lesley Ann Down) who is unaware that she now is the owner of the dying man’s memories.

Suddenly the doctor is immersed into a puzzling maze of images, people and locations she has never been exposed to. To make matters worse, she has also become the new target of the roving nomadic gang. The beings are actually Inuit spirits chasing the anthropologist for karmic retribution.

Nomads is slow moving and measured in it’s initial stages, before becoming a gripping mystery that utilizes low-key technical craftsmanship over effects-driven scares. In an era that represents the bottom of the barrel in slasher flicks, Nomads stands out as a cerebral counterpart to it’s less desirable peers. Credit goes to John McTiernan for fashioning a horror thriller that plays like a moody, less campy version of The Lost Boys. Imagine for a moment, that Nicolas Roeg directed that picture and you’d have a fairly good what you’re getting into here. Nomads isn’t likely to make you jump out of your seat, but it will set your mind in motion, which is far more than others in the genre aspire to.

Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Lesley-Anne Down, Anna Maria Monticelli

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