Rollercoaster (1977)

Full disclosure: I watched this movie thinking it was a disaster flick a la “The Poseidon Adventure” or “Earthquake,” and while it doesn’t exactly fit the category, it’s actually an impressive little thriller unto its own. With a plot involving a domestic terrorist planting bombs at various amusement parks and being tailed by police, the movie has a surprising urgency to it, and director James Goldstone manages to extract a significant amount of tension from the proceedings. In some ways, Goldstone approaches the movie much the same way Steven Spielberg did with “Jaws,” in that he focuses on suspense over action or violence, and he makes great use of the inherent adrenaline rush that accompanies a roller-coaster ride. Add in strong leading performances by George Segal and Timothy Bottoms, not to mention an early appearance by a young Helen Hunt, and you have a strong, effective and compelling thriller.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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