Was anticipating worse judging from the mixed to negative reviews seen for this film, while it didn't completely grab me it didn't make me mad either. Basically it is a mildly entertaining and harmless diversion, no more, no less.
The performances of Jack Palance and Martin Landau have garnered mixed views, some viewers finding them a lot of fun and others feeling that they over-acted. This viewer is of the opinion that they were a lot of fun to watch and were by far the most involved actors in the cast. The overacting complaints are understandable in the case of Landau who admittedly is over-the-top and not all his scenes add to the film as effectively as they could have done, but because his character is meant to be deranged and that Landau succeeds very well at making Sarge gloriously unhinged the over-the-top-ness is forgivable. Palance is wonderfully cranky and brings a curmudgeonly charm to his eccentric role whenever he appears, and actually for late career Palance it's not that hammy, with the exception of the ALIEN line at the end.
As for other virtues, Tarah Nutter does a credible job in the female lead role, of the younger cast she is the only one to have any material with any real meat to it, due to being on screen the longest of them, and to really convince. Kevin Peter Hall is a cool-looking and subtly terrifying alien, definitely making a good impression with his little (which was wisely limited, any more and it would have taken some of the mystery away) screen time. There are some fun and creepy moments, the climax is fun if also somewhat illogical and the flying discs do provide an unsettlingly creepy effect, on first viewing Greg's death was nightmare inducing and the scene with the boy scouts still has shock value. Greydon Clark wisely doesn't take things too seriously, while making sure that the fun and creepiness is a good mix and doesn't overshadow the other, while not entirely succeeding in making them run consistently throughout the film.
Quality of the effects , the look of the film and script are mixed. The flying discs look good on their victims and have a real gory effect but look rather cheap journeying to them. Without Warning is slickly filmed with some atmosphere in the lighting, though the sets are limited, some exteriors are lit too darkly and a few of the shots in the middle third go on for too long inexplicably, seeming to only do that for padding purposes. With the script, Palance has all the best lines, there is a nice knowing tongue-in-cheek humour and Landau's dialogue at the end is delightfully kooky and while it lacks character motivation logic (and it's easy to mistake it for an all too easy way to get killed) it fits with Sarge's state of mind, but the dialogue elsewhere for almost all the younger cast is very awkward, with some clunky gaps, and confused stuff delivered stiffly.
Of the younger cast, only Nutter convinces, everybody else has very little to do and come and go (some going quicker than when they were introduced) and they are all rather stiff. Ralph Meeker, Cameron Mitchell and Neville Brand are not bad in their roles but have nothing to do, and Larry Storch is rather irritating here. Character development is sketchy at best, only Palance and Landau have any development. Without Warning deserves credit for having an original premise, but more could have been done with it. It entertains certainly and is fun, suspenseful and creepy but those factors don't come consistently and too much of the story is padded out (to make up for that not a lot happens here and to sustain the somewhat too long running time),a little on the predictable side and there is a lack of logic in places (mainly in the behaviour of the characters). Pacing is also a real issue, with too many dull stretches, especially in the transition from the middle act to the last which is an almost endless drag, and would have benefited from less of the long shots and a couple of Landau's scenes (some like in the car going on for too long and not bringing an awful lot to the story, feeling more like padding than anything else) being trimmed down or excised, which would have made the film fifteen minutes shorter perhaps.
In conclusion, mildly entertaining and a harmless diversion, that didn't leave me either completely riveted or angry, but it is a bit dull and more definitely could have been done with the premise. 5/10 Bethany Cox
Action / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Action / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
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Sandy and Greg are two teenage kids going camping with their friends in California. Their plan is to go to the lake in town, and despite warnings from the creepy town gas station owner, Joe Taylor, the kids go camping there and end up separated from each other. Greg and Sandy team up with Taylor to save the town, but unfortunately for them, Taylor is rather eccentric and fixated on hunting down the hostile alien threatening them, and a former Vietnam war veteran, Fred Dobbs, is convinced that Sandy and Greg are the aliens.
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