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Sunday, October 13, 2013

31 Days of Halloween 2013 - Day 13



Uncle Sam
1996
William Lustig

Sam Harper (David "Shark" Fralick), is an ultra-patriotic soldier who is killed when his helicopter is shot down by friendly fire during Desert Storm.  His body is recovered and brought home to the town of Twin Rivers.  Another war vet, Jed (Isaac Hayes) who encouraged Sam to join the army, discovers Sam enjoyed killing. On a fateful Fourth of July, Sam rises from the grave to kill anyone he deems unpatriotic. He enjoys murdering his victims with several holiday themed methods, impaling on a flagpole, death by fireworks, etc. Only Jed, and Sam’s wheelchair bound nephew, Jody (Christopher Ogden), realize what is happening. Uncle Sam is on a collision course with the town’s annual Independence Day celebration and a corrupt congressman.

Uncle Sam falls into that odd sub-category of slasher films, the holiday themed slasher. Nearly all the set piece kills involve icons of America and the Fourth of July, which is easily the most amusing part of the movie.  The film is an obvious satire and reaction to the first Gulf War. It's very heavy handed but manages balance between mocking nationalism and presenting a revenge fantasy against rude and awful people. Jed ends up being the only sympathetic character in the entire cast, which makes any scene that don't include him or a violent confrontation with Uncle Sam a bit of slog to get through. The film vacillates between comedy and social commentary but ultimately never achieves either. Uncle Sam is a noble effort, but ultimately a failure.

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