Young hippie couple Lily (Blythe Danner in her feature movie debut) and Timothy Frischer (Heath Lamberts) rent a secluded beach cabin on an isolated island on the New England coast in an attempt to reconnect with each other and save their shaky marriage caused partially by Timothy’s immaturity and unfunny buffoonery.
Timothy is a lost soul who has tried everything from acting to painting to photography. It is fairly apparent that he is not really very good at any of the things he does. Lily is a shallow person who thinks she is really hip and tries to give the impression that she is into everything modern, though she comes off as an insensitive, flirtatious and sometimes cruel person.
Unfortunately, the man they rent the cabin from is a military-brat sociopath (a pre-M*A*S*H Alan Alda) – who proudly fought for his country in Vietnam and paid the price by stepping on a land mine and being reduced to walking on crutches – with two Dobermans more vicious than his temper.
After a night of heavy drinking by the three, Timothy accepts a challenge from Major Ritchie to play a game. The game turns out to be ‘Army’ with Ritchie as the mean drill sergeant and Tim as the lowly private (although he thinks the game is kind of fun and puts his energies into it).
Then the game becomes ‘Prison Camp’, and the Frischers find themselves hostage to Ritchie, who gets a kick out of frightening them with his dogs and playing mind games with them.
A struggle for survival eventuates, with the couple trying to find a way to kill Ritchie and his dogs and get away.
The plot is largely nonsensical, and this unusual film is very arty in a typical early-70s way. It also really feels like it’s trying to make a point – good luck working out what the hell it was.
Major Evelyn Ritchie