For all Richard Franklins willing acceptance of the mantle of more downmarket successor to Alfred Hitchcock, Link is not his equivalent of The Birds (1963). Franklin and Everett De Roche certainly set up a promising mise-en-scene they even suborn the uncredited help of the queen of British tv crime dramas Lynda (Prime Suspect) La Plante to help out on story. They have definitely researched their anthropology and even throw in wry little jokes I wanted to call my book Out on a Limb, Terence Stamp says, but Shirley MacLaine beat me to it. Yet, for all the anthropological realism brought to bear, Link is still just a killer ape film. When it gets down to it, the film never offers any explanation as to why Link is menacing Elisabeth Shue. There is a hint of an explanation offered in the tape recording but nothing is made clear. Despite the talent arrayed, they dont get the story set-up right either. The film never gets into gear for the first three-quarters. This lack of cohesion is displayed in the films almost criminally indifferent dispatch of a fine actor like Terence Stamp without any explanation about a third of the way in.
Richard Franklin certainly gains his feet in the last quarter of the film and offers a suitably tense series of shock effects there is one great moment where David OHara investigates a rattling letter slot in a doorway only to get his arm wrenched off. The scenes with Link pursuing Elisabeth Shue through the house, spying on her as she bathes and trying to push her over the cliff in a freewheeling van, are well sustained. The chimp Link has an incredibly sinister expressiveness in its sleekly beautiful face and blankly luxuriant eyes.
Jerry Goldsmith manages an appropriately anthropological score, mixing native African rhythms with electronic percussion and a classical score. The film headlines Elisabeth Shue, who was then 23-years-old but still receiving teenage girl parts and had yet to emerge as the Academy Award-nominated actress she did a few years later.
Full film available online here:-