Impulse (1984)


Impulse (1984)
Cast: Meg Tilly, Tim Matheson, Bill Paxton, Hume Cronyn
Director: Graham Baker
Nutshell: great premise where Freud’s Id takes over and people of a small community start going stark raving bonkers with more than an edge of nastiness


Impulse contains a very interesting premise and a few good scenes doesn’t add up to a complete whole as the movie fails to build upon its strong central idea. Tilly’s mother raves and rants over a long distance phone call and then blows herself away. Meg Tilly returns to her ancestral town to find people behaving in a very strange Body Snatcher kind of way. It appears that people have been taken over by their basic impulses and that all their learned behavior and socialization has been forgotten rendering them as lusting animals of superior intelligence. It is as though everyone in this town other than Tilly and her husband Matheson have become infected by some virus that has the effect of subduing their conscience or in Freudian terms, their ego and superego’s have been obliterated and the impulsive, satisfaction seeking, pleasure driven id takes over completely.

Men and women stripped down to what we really are like without all the socialization and education. A frightening idea and a terrifying prospect. After all, us humans are basically animals blessed with a slightly more developed brain. Our instincts are the same as those of animals. The intriguing central idea starts well but then runs shot of direction about two thirds of the way through. The love conquers all ending is also unsatisfying as is some of the acting along the way. It is though a fascinating idea and could have been made so much more of in the hands of a more capable director perhaps. The film is not what it could have been, yet manages to entertain in an uneven sort of way.