This 1984 horror flick stars John Heard and Daniel Stern, both of whom later starred in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. The premise is fairly simple. People are disappearing in New York City at an alarming rate, especially in one particular area. As it turns out, homeless people who have been living underground have been exposed to high levels of radiation and other toxins being stored underground, which turns them into C.H.U.D.s (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers). Sounds good so far, but as you get into the film it kind of falls flat. John Heard is quite a good actor who does a decent job, but the plot tries to be about too many things. Is it a love story between Heard and his girlfriend? Is it about Heard’s character wanting to do something relevant in life with his photography? Is it about a cop who does the right thing against the system? No…not really and yet it has all of these things in the plot which is realistically a low-budget horror film. The C.H.U.D.s themselves don’t look that scary. The effects look like they were done on a shoestring budget. Daniel Stern gives a decent performance, but his character isn’t really asked to provide performance on a Shakespearian level anyway. Look for a cameo of a young John Goodman playing a beat cop in the diner scene and Patricia Richardson from Home Improvement in a small role as an ad woman. Overall, it tries to deliver suspense, but never really does. I found the ending to be a bit disappointing, but also what you’d expect. If the movie had concentrated more on scares and less on subplots that never go anywhere, it would have been a much better film. Don’t get me wrong it’s watchable, just don’t expect too much going in.
Runtime: 1 Hr 28 Min
Release Date: August 31, 1984
Director: Douglas Cheek
Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry