Keller, another one of James Herbert's compelling one-name heroes, is the only survivor of a shocking plane crash. He mission to discover why and how he survived drives the book's narrative.
When the souls of the dead crash victims begin to interfere with the lives of those who live close to the crash sight, Herbert springs into action and delivers a classic tale of horror that is less hardcore but no less compelling than his previous The Fog.
In '81, five years after the book's publication, actor David Hemmings traveled to South Australia to direct a film version of The Survivor for producer Antony I. Ginnane.
Fortunately, it's not awful, but it's not a masterpiece, either.
Herbert's smart concept is not well exploited by screenwriter David Ambrose and David Hemmings' direction is plodding.
Production values, however, are decent. The crash of the plane into a field is decently realized, and the music by the late Brian May is moody and rich.
It is the film's failure to embrace the material in a more enthusiastic way that ultimately derails its potential. It's as if Hemmings was uncomfortable delivering a horror film.
Herbert's novel, first published in '76, is a dark and remarkable classic of uneasy terror, and may have been an influence somewhat on the source novel of Peter Weir's Fearless ('93).
The little-seen film didn't hurt the novel's reputation.