Four friends take a canoeing trip through a remote mountain area soon to be destroyed by a dam project. However, their trip turns nightmarish as inbred locals take two hostage, and seem determined to rid themselves of all four men.
On one level a boy's own adventure gone bad; on another a nightmarish vision of a land destroyed by civilisation (echoing the ecological message of James Dickey's original novel), John Boorman's odyssey of four men (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox) on their fateful canoe trip resonates with a chilling power that far transcends its "Squeal like a pig!"/Duelling Banjos reputation.
Deeply haunting, right from the quartet's initial encounter with a foreboding albino boy, to a shock finale that lingers for what feels like an eternity.
The gorgeous backdrop of the film makes the violence and darkness even more disturbing - but this is more than just a horror film. There's real substance in themes, performances and John Boorman's superb direction.