Nomads | Chicago Reader

Nomads

Given how glumly unimaginative horror films tended to be in the mid-80s, there's enough that's original and evocative in this independent effort to allow you to overlook its glaring flaws—which include Pierce Brosnan as a French anthropologist with a Pepe Le Pew accent and a surly Lesley-Anne Down as an overworked emergency-room physician. Writer-director John McTiernan has concocted a tricky narrative—Brosnan, dying as the film begins, telepathically communicates his experiences to Down, who, stumbling dazed through Los Angeles, relives them as the film unfolds—and more than once it collapses into incoherence. But the basic idea—that a sinister street gang roving the city is actually a band of ancient, evil spirits—strikes off in a sociological direction that was new for this over-Freudianized genre, and even the horror effects have a fresh twist: they're based, not so much on isolated shocks and surprises, as on the deliberate, patient doubling and redoubling of portentous images. With Anna-Maria Montecelli and Nina Foch.

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