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Currently showing posts tagged Dimension Films

  • Clown (2014) Blu-ray Review

    Clown (2014)

    Director: Jon Watts

    Starring: Laura Allen, Andy Powers & Peter Stormare

    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    After the entertainment for his young son’s birthday fails to arrive, Clown finds loving father Kent (Andy Powers, In Her Shoes) donning a clown suit and makeup to perform.  Unfortunately, over time the vintage costume and wig refuses to come off, simultaneously altering Kent’s personality into something demonic.  With little hope for a cure, the once wholesome father finds himself in a circus of nightmares that places his family in dire straits.  Laura Allen (The 4400) and Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street) co-star.

    Conceived from a clever mock trailer deceivingly billing eventual Producer Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, The Green Inferno) as its helmer, Clown spotlights the fear-inducing carny figure under unique circumstances as a cobweb infested vintage costume serves as the carrier of evil for an unsuspecting father.  Uniquely crafted, Jon Watts’ (Cop Car, Marvel Studios’ upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming) feature-length directorial debut wastes little time establishing the idyllic family life Kent and wife Meg (Allen) live as they celebrate the birthday of their son Jack (Christian Distefano, PAW Patrol) before peculiar events strike.  Experiencing extreme difficulty in removing the clown nose and full body costume discovered in a mysterious traveling trunk, Kent grows frantic when even power tools fail to sever a single stitch.  Developing a voracious hunger, the real estate agent in clown’s clothing finds answers in the costume’s previous owner Herbert Karlsson (Stormare) who reveals the sinister past of the clown through history and its insatiable appetite for children.  Failing to fatally eliminate the demon’s carrier, Kent, progressively becoming more clown-like, evades death to feed while, Karlsson and Meg join forces to stop a big top reign of blood.

    Shot quickly and cheaply, several years of domestic delays and increased buildup escalated the occasionally creepy feature to heights impossible to live up to.  Presenting one of the better clown designs in recent memory with a grim pursuit of children through Chuck E. Cheese ball pits and unapologetically leaving gallons of prepubescent blood in the demon jester’s wake, Clown also adds a possessed dog in need of decapitation and rainbow spewing body liquid as Kent attempts to unsuccessfully take his life several times.  Greatly suffering from severe pacing issues that jeopardizes the film’s initial suspense, Clown possesses genuine moments of eeriness yet, not nearly enough to leave a lasting impression.

    Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Clown with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  Maintaining a softer approach that keeps detail and otherwise more impactful colors mildly restrained, the digitally shot feature is decently presented and appears true to its intended palette.  Although, black levels lack a deeper inkiness common in other modern features resulting in murkier presentations that are mediocre at best.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, dialogue is greatly prioritized while, the film’s inclusions of heavy bass notes during intense moments of screams and other frights make the track a nice compliment to its onscreen theatrics.  Containing only one supplement, Making Clown (6:24) is a fairly standard EPK with talking heads Eli Roth, Star Laura Allen, Cinematographer Matthew Santo and others discussing the film and their various contributions to it.  In addition, a Digital HD Code has also been included.

    Anticipated for far too long, Clown’s delayed release may have generated welcome buzz yet, its finished product, littered with pacing misfires and an otherwise interesting plot gone dull, diminishes the promise it once had.  While jolts of creativity are contained within, Director Jon Watts has graduated to far better projects that display his talents to much greater effect.  Given its long road to home video, special features are regrettably nominal while, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s presentation is pleasing enough.  

    RATING: 2.5/5

    Available August 23rd from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Clown can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • It Follows (2014) Blu-ray Review

    It Follows (2014)

    Director: David Robert Mitchell

    Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto & Jake Weary

    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    For gorgeous college student Jay Height (Maika Monroe,The Guest) life couldn’t be better until, an innocent date and sexual encounter takes place, plaguing Jay with nightmarish visions and paranoia that something is after her.  Comforted by her sister and friends, Jay must find a way to combat the evil entity before it’s too late.  Keir Gilchrist (It’s Kind of a Funny Story), Olivia Luccardi (The Rewrite), Lili Sepe (Spork), Daniel Zovatto (Beneath) and Jake Weary (As the World Turns) co-stars.

    From the director of The Myth of the American Sleepover, It Follows is far from an easily describable film but, one that captures the very foundation of subconscious fear.  Simply stated, following a should-be romantic date and a steamy sexual encounter in the backseat of a car, the beautiful Jay Height (Monroe) is struck with a startling sense of fear that an unknown force is stalking her.  Forewarned after being set up by her date, Jay has inherited the evil being as she questions her sanity and turns to her sister and friends for protection.  While its premise feels anything less than ordinary by genre standards, It Follows taps into a dreadful tone found only in nightmares responsible for countless sleepless nights.  Objecting to drown itself in expositions, the film is reliant on its unsettling atmosphere and the entities unrelenting will to follow its victims to separate itself from the crowd.  Constantly altering its appearance from a scantly clad elder woman to a freakishly tall man lacking eyes, the supernatural force perfectly embodies dream logic with little rhyme or reason for its existence while, never failing to startle the audience.  For as unsettling as the many faces of “it” appear to be, It Follows is also aided by its unidentifiable time period set in Detroit, Michigan.  With a cellphone making a minor appearance, household appliances, vintage station wagons and outdated appliances including, tube televisions and characters only witnessing black and white films continue to cement the film’s surreal logic of not quite grasping where you are.  In addition, Composer Disasterpeace’s score of tranquil and aggressive synthesizer use is unlike any score heard in decades that feels familiar yet, wildly unique.  Influenced by the works of John Carpenter, Disasterpeace’s applauded efforts take shape as a character of their own, startling viewers at every dramatic turn.  Unsurprisingly, some may be left with more questions than answers regarding the film’s narrative while, akin to our most chilling nightmares of little to no explanation, It Follows runs its course like a fever dream of fear, leaving viewers sometimes unsure but nonetheless terrified.

    Anchor Bay Entertainment presents It Follows with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  Demonstrating excellent clarity and bold colors, the transfer shines with its naturally pleasing skin tones and admirably handled inky black levels.  Free of any digital rendering or intrusive anomalies, It Follows looks pitch perfect.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, dialogue is always audible, even during the film’s many hushed moments.  In addition, Disasterpeace’s lauded synth score is beautifully handled offering a powerful effect leaving listeners in a state of absolute bliss with its mix.  Although falling on the lighter side, special features include, an Audio Commentary hosted by Scott Weinberg of Nerdist fame with Critics Eric O. Snider (Moviebs), Britt Hayes (Screencrush), Samuel D. Zimmerman (Shock Till You Drop), Alison Natasi (Flavorwire) and Eric Vespe (Ain’t It Cool News).  In addition, A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace (4:56), the Theatrical Trailer (2:13), a Poster Art Gallery (5 in total) and a Digital HD Code are also included.  

    Hailed by many as an instant classic, It Follows is a daring exploration of fear that oozes originality.  With a naturalistic, likable cast and an addictive score from another era, Director David Robert Mitchell’s terrifying tale of dream logic hits all the right notes for those willing to surrender themselves to its abstract sensibilities.  Complimenting the film’s quality, Anchor Bay Entertainment succeeds with a flawless transfer and audio mix although, a juicier supplemental package would have been most appreciated.  Creepy and refreshing, It Follows will bring your nightmares to life.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    Available July 14th from Anchor Bay Entertainment, It Follows can be purchased via Amazon.com