Henry Lee Lucas tortured and murdered hundreds of people. He spent most of his formative years being brutally assaulted by his mother and half brother. Henry spent most of his life in prison and whenever he was released the temptation for murder was too much. Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas picks up during his last release from prison in 1975 and his subsequent arrest in 1983. Henry Lee Lucas (Antonio Sabato Jr.) joins forces with Ottis Toole (Kostas Sommer) and Becky (Kelly Curran) and they embark on one of the most prolific killing sprees in American history.
Unfortunately, Antonio Sabato Jr. cannot provide the performance that this film needs. Henry Lee Lucas is a deeply disturbed and mangled personality. The lead actor cannot be a former Calvin Klein underwear model. The audience does not get the desired impact from the emotional scenes and the film struggles considerably from his performance. When an entire film is centred around one character, the lead needs to shine. The budget that is required to get some reasonable talent was probably not available. However, the casting just seems off in every role. The three lead characters are all too “good looking” to be playing their roles. The cast needs to be as unattractive as their roles indicate. The casting is the biggest concern with this effort.
The film looks decent. The editing and shot selection lend themselves to the Horror genre. The director Michael Fiefer uses montage quite well in the flashback scenes. The shots splice together as Henry attempts to piece together his past, the end result captures the moment efficiently. Michael Fiefer also uses a prowling camera in a number of scenes and it is a useful technique to build suspense in these scenes. The on location shooting is another strong part of this film. The landscape shots are elegant and would provide a useful juxtaposition to the horrifying events going on in the film, if they were horrifying. The film manages to showcase some great locations and use some creative editing techniques.
Overall, the focal point of the film resides in the development of Henry Lee Lucas. Unfortunately, the casting is putrid and that is what resonates with audiences the most. Having read some literature about Henry Lee Lucas, the film attempts to stay close to his personal history. With some minor digressions surrounding his murders, the film’s timeline is accurate. Michael Fiefer has been involved with serial killer films for years now. However, his films have the same formula and this film does not digress from the pattern. The film managed to exceed my expectations with its creative editing and mediocre direction. Unfortunately, the only memorable part of this film is Antonio Sabato Jr.’s horrible attempt at being dark and twisted.