When her dad drops her off at her mother's for Christmas Jodie (Linzey Cocker) reluctantly goes but doesn't stay long as she walks in on her mum, Beth (Neve McIntosh) in bed with a bloke, Kieran (Shaun Dooley). But as Beth goes after her daughter who goes to stay with a neighbour in the cul-de-sac where her mum lives things start to kick off as an armed tactical team swoop in to the cul-de-sac forcing everyone to stay in their homes. Stuck in her home with Kieran they briefly see on TV that a container has been washed up on a nearby beach before the power to the house is cut. With strange noises up stairs, the military outside and her daughter in another house it is a battle of survival for Beth to find her daughter and get out of this mess.
For those who have grown up on British soaps and TV series like "The Bill" watching "Salvage" may feel like a horror version of one. Not only do we have a small community setting of a cul-de-sac but most of the actors have appeared in one British series/soap or another. Although as this is a British horror movie I have to say they missed a trick by not getting Emmerdale's Dominic Brunt involved. But this sense of familiarity which leads you to think where you have seen the actors before works in the movie's favour as it almost makes you smile when you think to yourself "oh look that's Anna Windass from Coronation Street" rather than its actress Debbie Rush.
But "Salvage" is not all about the British TV connections as we have this horror movie where we follow a woman along with the guy she was sleeping with trying to navigate this nightmare situation. There is almost everything tossed in her from the mystery of not knowing what is happening to people bleeding death as they try to get in to buildings as well as some crawling through enclosed spaces. In many ways "Salvage" uses elements you will find in much bigger budgeted horror movies but effectively wrangles them so they fit in to the scenario of a horror in the street setting.
The thing about "Salvage" is that you have to have that familiarity with the actors and their British TV heritage as well as a familiarity with horror movies to appreciate what a nicely put together movie it is. Without either of those familiarities you are really only getting half a movie and sadly half a movie is not strong enough to carry it which is partly down to the budget. In fairness director Lawrence Gough isn't reliant on a big budget to keep the movie moving but at times a bigger moment of drama or bigger effect is needed to lift it.
What this all boils down to is that "Salvage" for me worked because I was familiar with both the horror movie elements of the set up but also the British cast and many of their careers. But if you are missing one of those things and don't recognize the cast as having been on other British TV shows and soaps it leaves the movie lacking something.