On the thirtieth day of Halloween: RIVER’S EDGE (1986)
Four years before Laura Palmer’s body washed up on the shore, blue and wrapped in plastic, there was Tim Hunter’s River’s Edge, opening with eerily similar imagery — but so much worse.
Jamie’s (Danyi Deats) stark naked body lies sprawled on the river bank of a small Northern California town. Dead. Not blue yet. But she will be soon.
Her murderer Sampson (Daniel Roebuck) goes to school later that day. Nonchalantly telling his friend group he strangled her the night before after a fight. And do they want to see her dead body? It’s there where he left it.
Nobody believes it until they see it. And the only one who expresses the human amount of shock and horror is Matt, Keanu Reeves in one of his most complex early roles.
This is a Lynchian film — down to an unhinged Dennis Hopper, and so much more — that wasn’t actually inspired by Lynch himself. River’s Edge came out the same year as Blue Velvet, within months of each other. Director Hunter snd writer Neal Jimenez are Lynch’s contemporaries who don’t get even a fraction of the recognition they deserve for trailblazing now-iconic Twin Peaksian imagery before even Lynch did.
Apathy is its own character here. And it’s as chilling as the murder itself.
✨Crispin Glover/5 stars. Highly recommend cultivating empathy every chance you get.✨