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Far from Home (1989)

Director: Meirt Avis
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Matt Frewer, Richard Masur, Susan Tyrell,  Andras Jones, Anthony Rapp, Jennifer Tilly, Karen Austin, Dick Miller
Rated R 86 min

FAR FROM HOME is one of the movies Drew Barrymore starred in during her adolescent, post-drug  addiction "comeback" period. Drew plays Joleen Cox who, along with her divorced writer dad (Matt Frewer, run out of gas in a small desert town in Nevada. They end up stuck in a trailer park owned by a sneering, foul mouthed woman named Agnes Reed (Susan Tyrell) while they wait for a gas truck to arrive. In the meantime, Drew meets two local boys who take a liking to her. There's a geeky and polite kid named Pinky (Anthony Rapp), and the troubled and possibly dangerous Jimmy (Andras Jones). However, romantic entanglements get put on the back burner when a killer begins picking off the park's residents.

I avoided this movie for decades because the cover art led me to believe this would be a sappy love story. While there are a few mildly sappy moments, FAR FROM HOME is actually a very well made thriller. The screenplay is by longtime John Carpenter collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace (FRIGHT NIGHT 2; HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH), which he adapted from a story by Ted Gershuny (SUGAR COOKIES; SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT).

The movie stumbles a concerning the identity of the killer, which ends up not being much of a surprise. However, the gorgeous photography and scenery and the excellent cast makes up for any of the story's shortcomings. I really enjoyed the characters in this one, especially Richard Masur as the eccentric 'Nam vet and Susan Tyrell (NIGHT WARNING) as the nasty trailer park owner. Jennifer Tilly is fun as the beautiful, but ditzy, Anna. And of course, it's always great to watch Dick Miller as the town's Sheriff.

This movie is somewhat notorious for scenes featuring fourteen year old Drew Barrymore in various states of undress. It's definitely exploitive -- which is probably what Barrymore wanted at the time to jump start her career. She also made the equally trashy GUNCRAZY around this same period.

FAR FROM HOME is no masterpiece, but it is a fun, somewhat trashy, thriller.

3 out of 5. 

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