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Movies From the Black Lagoon: Junkyard Dog

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Junkyard Dog - 2010, Rated R
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer

A lone FBI agent embarks on a desperate search for a kidnapped girl in rural Tennessee, in this' fight for survival' flick that was based on an actual case.
The movie starts with a young co-ed, Audra, on her way to a Halloween Party. Her vehicle breaks down but her cell phone proves handy, as does an AAA membership. Sadly her call is picked up by a serial killer known as 'The Calendar Girl Killer." His real handle is Jyd and his modus operandi involves grabbing victims and holding them for a month before snatching another one, hence the name. So far no bodies have turned up but there's a reason for that-and we will discover why alongside Audra.
Jyd runs a scrap yard where he entombs Audra in a subterranean chamber-which looks suspiciously like a trailer buried under twenty feet of dirt. He then enjoys visiting his victim nightly and forcing her to cook up an odd meat product. We all know what he's eating so it comes as no surprise when Audra is informed that these are the remains of October's girl. This sicko has his dog on the same diet and has trained the unfortunate animal to act as his look out and body guard.
Meanwhile, an FBI agent, Samantha Deatheridge, is returning to active duty after surrendering her weapon for shooting two bad guys. Her "by the book " boss warns her to take it easy in a speech we heard Dirty Harry get in every movie. She isn't having it however and immediately sets off to find the 'Calendar" killer. She blows into town like an ill wind and immediately insults the locals at a dance hall. She even winds up face to face with Jyd who doesn't claim to recognize the photo of Audra being shown around the club.
Jyd sees Deatheridge as an immediate threat proving that names can be good indicators of a person's character. He uses the old ploy of disabling her vehicle to lure her to his scrap yard. Samantha is no dummy though and manages to figure out what is going down and even gets the drop on Jyd before the titular hound turns out to be a superior wing man and disarms her.
Jyd imprisons his new catch, which does not build up much confidence in Audra that she will be saved. Concurrently, the FBI asks the local sheriff to look for their missing agent. He tracks her to the Scrap yard but Jyd manages to convince him that he sold her a part for her car and she promptly took off.
Down in the bunker however the victims are planning a little surprise for Jyd. Turns out these ladies never missed an episode of "Mission: Impossible." Pretty soon they give the room a Rambo styled makeover that converts most of the furnishings into lethal weapons. However our villain has two advantages. He is armed and he is crazier than a snake's armpit-game on.
The finale involves a fierce battle for survival. It is a visceral struggle that leaves everyone bloodied. There is no way I will give away the ending but suffice to stay it is worth sticking around for. By no means a perfect flick this dog can still hunt and deserves a bone for a Grade A effort.
This one gets more stuff right than wrong. It is important you identify for the victim and care what happens to her so it is good that they get Audra right. She comes across as a sweet but less than sturdy princess who all but chucks it in The film also gets Jyd right. Innis Casey beautifully plays him. This is not your twitchy motor-mouthed sort of madman. He is more realistically etched as a brooding anti-social personality disorder type. What he is doing may be insane but he goes about his sociopath chores like a guy putting in his nine to five. The scene where he bristles at the term junkyard and retorts with a full definition of a scrap yard is priceless. Here is a guy who imprisons, assaults, and then consumes his victims but never tell him he runs a junkyard.
The only problem here is Vivica Fox. She is a fine actress who can handle the physical nature of an action flick but she plays the character like "Dirt Harry." She comes off as a bad 70's cop show version of a maverick cop with the requisite hard-boiled dialogue. What a shame and it's the only false not the flick sounds. Fox gets better after she is imprisoned but the scenes before that ring as untrue and very Hollywood, which stands out due to the rural setting.
This film is R rated for good reason. Dog lovers beware as this film does feature a few scenes of violence directed at a dog. There are also several scenes depicting sexual abuse of Jyd's victims, which, while tastefully done, are very disturbing.

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to:

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