80's Thriller Throwback: Relentless (1989)

This 80's Thriller Was Just What the Doctor Ordered

by robotGEEK

Between Maniac Cop and Maniac Cop 2, William Lustig directed this often overlooked thriller about a serial killer who picks names out of a phone book (not randomly though), and kills his victim using different methods, and always leaving a calling card. Newly transferred (from New York to L.A.) detective Sam Dietz (Leo Rossi) is hot on his trail and together with his older and cynical partner Malloy (Robert Loggia), must stop him before he kills again.

I know I had seen this before way back upon it's first release on home video, but for the life of me couldn't remember a thing about it other than thinking Judd Nelson was such an unusual choice for the serial killer. But thanks to Amazon Prime, I was able to revisit this recently and I must say, it was great little thriller.

While it doesn't bring anything new to the table, and uses standard tropes we've seen countless times before, there's just something in the way Lustig directs that gives the film a slick, yet gritty look and feel that adds so many more layers to an otherwise bland concept. But William Lustig's surefire direction makes everything look so much bigger and better than it actually is. Yet at the same time, it's a great reminder of the kind of thriller they used to make back in the day. No fuss or frills, just a solid thriller with a great cast and strong direction.

The film is a treat to watch, has just the right amount of tension to keep you invested, and the cast is just ace. Do yourself a favor and give this one a shot. It might not redefine the genre, but it's not trying to either. Currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

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