Plot: What’s it about?
A small earthquake hits a quiet town, leaving the residents acting strange and exhibiting odd behavior in Impulse. Early on in the film, Jennifer (Meg Tilly) receives a call from her mother, she’s yelling some absurd things all before she attempts suicide. She lives, though her fate isn’t sure. Jennifer and her boyfriend, Stuart (Tim Matheson) decide to come into town to check on her. They stay with Jennifer’s father and he has a farm where he provides the milk to the town. Stuart and Jennifer both notice right away that everyone in the town is acting strange. Things just don’t quite seem right. Did the earthquake cause some damage? Has something else been contaminated? What exactly is it that’s causing everyone in the town to act so strange all of a sudden. These are all questions that the film raises, and across its brief 90 minute running time, I was hooked. I had a theory or two, but I won’t spoil things. I had never seen the film prior to this review, but it definitely kept me with it.
I had several WTF moments during the film. Small towns just make for an interesting setting when you have a plot like this where a big disruption causes a stir in an otherwise quiet place. As I was watching this, I was frustrated, on edge, entertained and many other things. It’s one of those films that keeps you with it, because the outcome becomes eagerly awaited. There are indeed some tense moments, including one where Jennifer is locked in a garage as some kids set fire to it. Another involves a local sheriff shooting up the town after a young boy causes some havoc. There are many of these moments and more that really baffle us, but also keep us intrigued. Don’t expect a happy ending here, but the film does give us a pretty solid conclusion. It’s both conclusive yet also don’t spoon feed us things either. I could see some films becoming overly talky and trying to explain too much, but what’s presented here is just enough to where we’re not left wanting more. The acting is solid (Bill Paxton gets a small role here) and the film is very well paced, making this something definitely worth checking out. It’s something that might even benefit from a second viewing or two.
Video: How’s it look?
Despite some early presence of grain, the transfer for the most part satisfies. There’s a clarity to things and strong details that are most appreciated. The grain on occasion did make me lower my score, but it’s not a huge problem, nor is it a consistent one. While not the most visually pleasing film, the small town setting and some background shots do provide nice images for us. The transfer is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a solid DTS HD track that brings us into this world and remains involving. Vocals have the clarity we expect, but there’s also a lot of action and intense moments that liven things up a bit as well. The track serves the film in a nice manner.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Graham Baker provides his thoughts on the film. The track is ok, but there are too many stretches of silence. Still, I think it’s worth a listen since the film is so interesting.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
The cover art for Impulse is a bit misleading, but the film is very interesting and kept me hooked. I had an idea or two where things were headed, but it works here, because the story doesn’t get too broad and try to do too much. Thankfully it doesn’t overstay its welcome either. The cast is solid and the basic premise provides intrigue. This one earns my recommendation.