The Film (3/5)
French anthropologist Jean-Charles Pommier (Pierce Brosnan - Goldeneye, Remington Steele) is admitted to a hospital in Los Angeles whereupon he immediately freaks out and dies, but not before whispering (and biting) into the ear of Dr. Eileen Flax (Lesley-Anne Down - Countess Dracula, North And South). Dr. Flax is immediately inundated with hallucinations from Pommier's life. He had recently arrived in America with his wife and was due to teach anthropology at UCLA. They had moved in to a house where two murders had occurred, when Pommier begins noticing a group of punks/motorcycle gang types hanging around his property, even going as far to build a type of shrine to the murderer. Dr. Flax continues to flashback to Pommier's point of view, oftentimes at the worst possible moment, collapsing and crashing into furniture or to the ground. She is, through hallucinatory flashbacks, reliving Pommier's last week alive.
Pommier discovers that this group of people are actually Einwetok, which are Inuit demons who appear human and are attracted to places of murderous death and cause mischief and death themselves. He soon realizes that they know that he knows what they are and they will go to great lengths to keep him from sharing knowledge of their existence. While we as viewers are learning this, so is Dr. Flax and soon the Nomads are aware of her and begin to threaten her.
Nomads is an odd film. It pokes along at a somewhat glacial pace only to pick up in the final 1/3. But, and it's a commendable but, it is interesting. John McTiernan directs with stylish aplomb, especially considering it's low budget and it was this film that lead him to direct Predator the following year (and that of course lead to Die Hard). Blue tinted scenes, sharp editing and a general 'what exactly is going on?' atmosphere lend themselves very well to the film. It's not exactly an easy film to follow but I imagine multiple viewing would be rewarding. The Nomads gang include Adam Ant, genre superstar Mary Woronov, and early 80's pop/Valley Girl soundtrack participant Josie Cotton in a small role. And there's a very creepy scene involving a nun that kicks off the more exciting final 1/3 of the film.
Scream Factory presents Nomads in a 1080p MPEG-4 transfer in 1.85:1. There were some pops and scratches, one a long line down the entire screen, source damage I imagine, but just for a moment and otherwise it really looked pretty good. Grain structure was very pleasing to the eye and Scream Factory has done a great job upgrading over previous releases.
Audio is presented in the form of a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track and dialogue and soundtrack both came through well. Subtitles are included.
Scream Factory has included an interview with Lesley-Anne Down and composer Bill Conti, a theatrical trailer, radio spot and photo gallery. I'd have loved a commentary or an interview with director McTiernan.
As I said above, and something that I believe bears repeating, Nomads is an odd film. It's more thriller than horror for the most part and I think another viewing would help what seemed like a glacially paced first 2/3, move along at a better clip. The ending was very satisfying and some of the editing was top notch. I went back and watched a few scenes again immediately. I was that impressed. There are definitely some very interesting ideas on display here. Just know that it's a bit slow going for a stretch but that it picks up for an entertaining conclusion.