Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Gangster > Murder > Urban > Psychological Thriller > Identity Theft > Heist > Comedy > Briti > Dead Man Down (2013/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)/Perfect Friday (1970/Network U.K. Region B Import Blu-rays)/Stoker (2013/Fox Blu-ray)

Dead Man Down (2013/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)/Perfect Friday (1970/Network U.K. Region B Import Blu-rays)/Stoker (2013/Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: B- & C/B+/B-/B-     Sound: B- & C+/B-/B-/B-     Extras: C-/B/C/C-     Films: C-/B/C+/C-



PLEASE NOTE: The Man Who Haunted Himself and Perfect Friday Blu-rays can only be operated on machines capable of playing Region B Blu-ray format software and can be ordered from our friends at Network U.K. at the website address provided at the end of the review.  The others are Region A.



Now for the latest thriller releases on Blu-ray…



Niels Arden Opley’s Dead Man Down (2013) had some potential with Colin Farrell as an assassin dealing with a dangerous head gangster (Terrence Howard in one of his lesser performances) while also finding a romantic interest in a sexy, lonely woman (Noomi Rapace) who is able to blackmail him with video footage of his work.  Even with Dominic Cooper and Isabelle Huppert in the supporting cast, the script is a disaster, has every cliché you can imagine, the directing lacks energy, the director cannot make any of this intense or believable and the result is a shocking waste of talent and opportunities.


Action is weakly captured and it was a bore all around.  See it when you are not tired or not operating heavy machinery.


Extras include three making-of featurettes, two of which are Blu-ray exclusives.



Basil Dearden’s The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970) is an underrated, truly creepy thriller based on Anthony Armstrong’s story “The Case Of Mr. Pelham” (once adapted into a Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode) in which the serious, rich, at peace, slightly stuffy, elite Harold Pelham (Roger Moore in one of the best performances of his long, great career) suddenly finds his accomplished life in unexpected trouble.


Much like Michael Douglas in David Fincher’s The Game (1997, which owes a little more to this film than you might think), crisis slowly develop out of nowhere and Pelham has to figure out exactly what is going on.  Where Douglas’ corporate guy is warned in advance of his upcoming plight, our electronics businessman is not for certain if he is losing his mind, if he is being lied to or if a strange twin of himself has somehow appeared in his reality to destroy his life or all of reality as we know it.


The film offers no easy answers and as much as Fincher’s film, deals with huge wealth, socio-economic class and additionally since it is a British film, a caste system that is and is not invisible.  Moore is the perfect choice for the role, being able to be the high class guy and possibly the absolute opposite.  His reactions are classic and in his performance, he is able to constantly show the shock of someone who has been holding their emotions back all their life (i.e., selling their soul(s)) just to be part of the establishment, capitalist elite and success at any cost.  As far as I am concerned, the film is an underrated British classic and maybe Dearden’s best film, whose son later made Douglas’ Fatal Attraction (1987) possible.  Hildegard Neil, Alastair Mackenzie, Anton Rodgers, Freddie Jones, Olga Georges-Picot, Gerald Sim and Charles Lloyd Pack help make up the incredibly terrific supporting cast.


Nice that this remarkable, fully restored Blu-ray with a bunch of great extras has arrived!


Extras include the full screen 1.33 X 1 version on DVD (which was not part of our press copy, but is included if you purchase it), Image Gallery, Promotional Material Gallery, Isolated Music Score by Michael J. Lewis, Original Theatrical Trailer, Music Suite, PDF DVD-ROM Press Materials and a another very strong, excellent, terrific feature length audio commentary track with Roger Moore from a few years ago joined by Producer (and Director in his own right) Bryan Forbes that not only covers the film itself, but offers outstanding insight into filmmaking, the British film industry and other priceless information that makes owning this disc a must!



Peter Hall’s Perfect Friday (1970) is a lesser-seen entry in a cycle of classy heist thrillers that started with Topkapi and Charade, but is not anywhere nearly as competent or effective as longtime bank employee Stanley Baker (Zulu) has been planning a robbery of his business and being such an efficient employee, believes he will get away with it since he’ll be gone before he is suspected, but he gets help in a couple who loves money and robbery.  Ursula Andress (Dr. No, looking as good here as she ever did) and David Warner (Titanic, Time After Time; channeling an evil twin version of Peter Wyngarde’s Jason King more than a bit) plan to help him out and take some cash for themselves.


It will not work out so easily and we get some twists that are at least ambitious, but the film is too self-conscious of its stars and the cycle it is in, therefore holding it back from ever totally working or ever totally being believable.  Still, it has enough moments to see once, but it did not work when I saw it back in the day and it has not aged any better since.  At least it is a first-rate production and all serious film fans should see it once.


Extras include Stills, A German Theatrical Trailer and PDF DVD-ROM Press Materials.



Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker (2013) is an attempt to do a creepy family secrets thriller, something that has already been rendered silly recently by the Dark Shadows remake, but done more seriously here with Mia Wasikowska as a young woman who loses her father, has an uncle (Matthew Goode) she did not know about mysterious turns up soon after and a mother (Nicole Kidman, stealing every scene) who has some secrets of her own to hide.


The title is the family name, so you would expect this to be about vampires, but the screenplay wants it to be about murder, demons, possibly incest, throws in touches of Alice In Wonderland and ultimately does not know what it wants to be.  It is not a film that works, even with a great turn by Jackie Weaver and Dermot Mulroney’s appearance.  I really was expecting more from the director of the original Oldboy, but this vies between clichéd, meaningless and boring with more than a few moments having meaning only the makers likely understand.  Another waste of talent, this is a sad miss.

Extras include Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes-enabled devices, Deleted Scenes, 3-part theatrical behind-the-scenes featurette, Image Galleries, Red Carpet Premiere and A Filmmaker’s Journey piece on the film.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Dead is a digital shoot with some clichéd styling, but is passable and better than the much softer anamorphically enhanced DVD version also included, which is the poorest performer on this list.


The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image on Friday is a 35mm film shoot with Movielab color that can look good at times, but is not consistent, nor is the print, which shows its age at times, but this is still the best the film has looked in eons and Network have secured the best print possible.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 33 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Stoker has digital enhancements in its visual effects and style choices that are not as clichéd as we would usually see in the genre, but it is still overdone and does not make up for what the script lacks.


The visual champ on this list without any doubt is the 1080p 1.75 X 1 digital High Definition image on Haunted which has never looked so good, has some great demo shots, looks like a brand new print and whose representation of a dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of the film as issued in it original theatrical release is very impressive throughout.  This was always a good-looking film, but on Blu-ray, you can really finally see the visual intent throughout.  Director of Photography Tony Spratling (Fanny Hill, Edge Of Sanity, TV’s Space Precinct and The Persuaders! with Roger Moore (both TV shows reviewed elsewhere on this site) is a very underrated talent who delivers some of the best work of his career here.


Spaces seem always open, yet claustrophobia is just around the corner and the idea of visual entrapment is always at least hinted at in subtle ways that make the film all the creepier and thanks to Blu-ray, you can see the depth and structure intended.  This transfer has more than a few demo moments for even the best HDTVs, even Ultra HDTVs and is a serious must for all filmmakers and big movie fans.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Dead and Stoker should be the sonic champs and though they are recent recordings, they both suffer from problematic soundstages that put their sound too much towards the front speakers.   Dead simply has a boring mix and an obvious one with little imagination, while imagination cannot save Stoker from its mix of quietness, dialogue and subtle sound effects that are supposed to be mysterious, but say and do nothing.


The PCM 2.0 sound on Haunted and Friday can show their age, but with less tricks and a more realistic/naturalistic approach sound warm and as good throughout (Friday seems to have been boosted to simple stereo) and have never sounded better.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Dead DVD is the poorest performer here and allows you to hear the mixing limits in new ways.




As noted above, you can order The Man Who Haunted Himself and Perfect Friday Blu-ray imports exclusively from Network U.K. at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com