Blu-ray Review: Siege (1983)

August 21, 2021

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Among a backdrop of civil unrest and labor disputes, downtown Halifax becomes a warzone. At a local gay bar, a group of homophobic rioters crash the scene smacking their hands with the tools they carry in a scene that has absolutely zero symbolism whatsoever.
Anyway, those assholes, along with their absolutely psychotic ringleader, the oft-mentioned Cabe (a chilling performance from Doug Lennox), take out everyone in the bar execution-style (seriously, Siege holds not a fucking thing back… this is hardcore shit) after they witness an “accidental” death at the mob’s hands.
Thankfully one dude beats feet outta there and hides out in the apartment of  Horatio (Tom Nardini), a social worker for blind kids with super-human hearing (never even discussed, they just can hear beyond the abilities of mortal man).
Now, Horatio is keen on protecting the weak, so when that villainous scum comes a callin’ for their prey he enlists the help of Chester (Daryl Haney), his greaser-punk weapons expert next door neighbor (who lends out his arsenal via a medicine cabinet that connects both apartments) to help keep his charge safe… and hopefully survive the night!
Gritty, nihilistic, dark (in both tone and imagery), and reminiscent of the early works of John Carpenter (Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape From New York being the examples if you’re keeping score), Siege takes place entirely over the course of one hellish night right in the heart of a run-down urban landscape draped in shadows and fog. It’s the perfect aesthetic for such a bleak tale to unfold… and make no mistake this film is presented with the utmost seriousness, no matter how slightly off-the-rails nutty some of the concepts present are.
Additionally the cast is pretty damn tight n’ outta sight with Nardini making for a likable, street-wise hero, the aforementioned Lennox’s hard-as-fuckin’-nails bad guy action, and Jeff Pustil bringing a layer of palpable slime to the screen with his portrayal of the angry mobs leader, Goose.
It also has to be said; for a decade that used homosexual slurs quite casually, this film shows that practice, and homophobia in general, as the loathsome shit it truly is. It’s bold, and rather unique in my not so humble opinion…
Speaking of humble, Severin plays it short but sweet with the bonus material on this Blu-ray release with an audio commentary with writer/co-director (Maura O’Connell) Paul Donovan (and Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener) that details how the low-budget masterpiece came to be in detail, as well as the film’s trailer comprising the entirety of the offerings at hand.
No bullshit; Siege is the greatest urban action-flick you have (likely) never heard of, and I loved this flick so damn much I can easily say this is the best release of the year so far!

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