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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Demonic Possession > Haunted House > Thriller > Cannibalism > Monster > Ship > Thr > Crimson Peak (2015/regular edition*)/Hills Have Eyes, Part Two (1985/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)/IT Chapter Two 4K (2019/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Mary (2018/RLJ Blu-ray)/Savage (2018/Well G

Crimson Peak (2015/regular edition*)/Hills Have Eyes, Part Two (1985/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)/IT Chapter Two 4K (2019/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Mary (2018/RLJ Blu-ray)/Savage (2018/Well Go Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B+/B+/B/B/B+ Sound: B+/B+/B+/B/B+ Extras: B/B+/C+/C/D Films: B+/C/C+/C+/B+

The mysteries and thrills here include two sequels and more...

Director Guillermo Del Toro is a rare breed in Hollywood today. A Director with a unique visual style and an equally strong writer as well. One of his lesser celebrated films, Crimson Peak (2015), sees its second (and best) release on home video courtesy of Arrow Video in this single disc edition.

Crimson Peak stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, and Jessica Chastain.

A unique ghost story set in the 1800s, Crimson Peak is a gothic romance centering around Edith (Wasikowska) who falls for the handsome Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) after the mysterious death of her father. She moves to be with him in his bizarre family estate known as Crimson Peak with his odd but alluring sister Lady Lucille (Chastain). Despite being warned by the ghost of her mother at an early age to 'beware of Crimson Peak', she ends up discovering that the house has many horrors and sinister secrets hiding within it... some that involve her new family.

I feel that this film will get a cult following in the years to come and will be remembered as a unique landmark in Del Toro's career. While it's not as strong as The Shape of Water or Pan's Labyrinth, the film is closer to the tone of some of his Spanish film productions like The Devil's Backbone, but has more of a horror element akin to a Hammer horror film than other works he has created. Speaking of, there's several shout outs to Hammer throughout, including the main character's last name 'Cushing' (of course referring to Hammer horror actor Peter Cushing), which fans will snicker at. It's too bad Christopher Lee wasn't still alive to have made an appearance.

Special Features include:

Audio commentary by co-writer and director Guillermo del Toro

The House is Alive: Constructing Crimson Peak, a feature-length documentary with cast and crew interviews and extensive behind the scenes footage

Spanish language interview with Guillermo del Toro

The Gothic Corridor, The Scullery, The Red Clay Mines, The Limbo Fog Set; four featurettes exploring different aspects of Allerdale Hall

A Primer on Gothic Romance, the director and stars talk about the key traits of Gothic romance

The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, the cast and crew talk about the film's use of color

Hand Tailored Gothic, a featurette on the film's striking costumes

A Living Thing, a look at the design, modeling and construction of the Allerdale Hall sets

Beware of Crimson Peak, a walking tour around Allerdale Hall with Tom Hiddleston

Crimson Phantoms, a featurette on the film's amazing ghosts

Kim Newman on Crimson Peak and the Tradition of Gothic Romance, an interview with the author and critic

Violence and Beauty in Guillermo del Toro's Gothic Fairy Tale Films, a video essay by the writer Kat Ellinger

Deleted scenes

Image gallery

Original trailers and TV spots

and a Reversible Sleeve featuring original and exclusive artwork by Artist Guy Davis

I'm a big fan of Guillermo Del Toro and of this film. I am happy that Arrow got a hold of it and gave us this great release to tide us over until the eventual 4K UHD disc. However, the limited edition from Arrow that was released last year is the same disc, but has lobby card reproductions, a poster, and a collectible booklet. If you don't care as much about those goodies then this single disc release is fine.

Wes Craven's follow-up to his controversial original film and shot before A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, Part Two (1985) has been released on disc yet again, though this time in its most definitive version yet from the good people at Arrow Video. Sporting a shiny new transfer, new extras, and other goodies, this new Arrow set will be a coveted collector's item for fans of the late horror director.

The film stars Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston, Susan Lanier, Kevin Spirtas, and Tamar Stafford to name a few.

Disowned by its director, this mediocre follow-up to the original has a similar storyline. Bobby (Houston) is haunted by memories of he and his family being attacked by scary cannibals in the desert. Told through many flashbacks from the original film, Bobby attempts to overcome the trauma, but ends up right back where he started when he sponsors a motor cross race that goes down in the desert, along with Ruby (Blythe) who also survived the first film.

Special Features include:

Blood, Sand, and Fire: The Making of The Hills Have Eyes Part II - brand new making-of documentary featuring interviews with actor Michael Berryman, actress Janus Blythe, production designer Dominick Bruno, composer Harry Manfredini and unit production manager/first assistant director John Callas

Still gallery

Original Theatrical Trailer

6 Postcards mimicking original lobby cards

Reversible fold-out Poster with new Paul Shipper art and original theatrical poster artwork

Limited Edition 40-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Amanda Reyes and an archival set visit from Fangoria

and a Reversible Sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper

A nice companion piece to Arrow's release of the first film on Blu-ray disc last year, The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2 isn't one of Wes Craven's better films by a long shot, but is worth revisiting in this new limited edition set. If you're a fan then you'll definitely appreciate all of the goodies enclosed.

To read a previous review of this film on DVD check out this link:


Next up is IT Chapter Two 4K (2019), the hit sequel to the huge hit big screen remake of the hit Stephen King novel that originally also scored well as a TV mini-series. Though I was not a big fan of the first film, it was at least consistent in its gross humor and sardonic approach to horror, something the sequel continues. It is now, years later as the friends who encountered the horrors of the killer clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard back and effective as ever) who feeds on fear and more.

At about 2.5 hours, it checks all the sequel boxes and leaves nothing uncovered to freak out its established audience, but those who did not see or like the first film will more likely be lost, though those familiar with book or mini-series might be at least bemused. The cast sure gives it its all and the money is on the screen, plus I was amused by a few moments, but I did not buy it much more than the previous entry, so ti is for fans only and they turned out very strongly. It is worth a look if you are curious or a King completist, so I can add that at least it is one of the better King movies by default as so many of them turned out bad over the decades.

The cast also includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Finn Wolfhard, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan and more.

Extras include Digital Copy, while the discs add a feature length audio commentary track with Director Andy Muschietti, plus featurettes Pennywise Lives Again!, This Meeting of the Losers Club Has Officially Begun, Finding the Deadlights, The Summers of IT: Chapter One, You'll Float Too and The Summers of IT: Chapter Two, IT Ends.

Michael Goi's Mary (2018) does its best to be a creepy ship tale includi9ng demonic possession and stars Gary Oldman as a worker and sailor who suddenly buys the title ship thinking he and his family could make money on it, but or course, there is something wrong with the ship and it is not defective manufacturing!

Emily Mortimer is his wife and the horrors that ensue are told in flashback (which weakens the impact in this case) as we find out how it caused the family (et al) all kinds of trouble. Unfortunately, we get nothing new they go through that we have not seen in dozens of similar films, but Jennifer Esposito's turn as the interviewing cop helps add to the believability and it seems all thought they could get this to add up into something truly creepy. Unfortunately, the good acting and ambition just never adds up. Nice try though and more ambitious than most such films of the last few years.

Extras include two Behind The Scenes featurettes: The Making Of MARY and Family At Sea: The Cast Of MARY.

Finally, a policeman, a stolen shipment gold and three robbers get trapped up on a mountain in a middle of a huge blizzard. When they all get caught in the blizzard they must find shelter or freeze to death. However, the question is ...can they set aside their differences or will they kill each other first in writer/director/star Siwei Cui's Savage (2018).

When three robbers stole a truck full of gold, they hid the gold in the mountains and decided to wait until things cooled off. Officer Kanghao vows to catch the robbers who stole the gold and killed his partner. After a year of searching, Kanghao learns where they have been hiding on the mountain, but there is a mega blizzard coming. The robbers had planned to use the blizzard to literally cover their tracks and escape before the storm.

Kanghao catches the robbers in the middle of moving their hidden gold and they begin fighting one another, but then the blizzard hits and the gold is stolen by a mountain poacher who would let them freeze to death and take the gold. Wounded, freezing and the gold missing they all eventually end up in the same shelter in the mountains in which they are forced to have uneasy truce. In the end, the police can't let the robbers escape and the robbers can let go of the gold and even in the shelter from the storm, they still end up fighting for the gold.

This was a revenge/survival story with a police officer who wants revenge for his fallen brother-in-arms, robbers who will kill for the gold and the officer's doctor/girl friend comes looking for him only to get mixed up in the storm with them. Things get more complicated when characters start to decide to betray one another and nobody knows who to trust. When it comes down to survival, what is more important ...gold or your life? Extras include trailers.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10+; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on IT Chapter 2 just edges out the rest of the releases on this list with its amazing color in its best shots (the carnival in particular) and looks as good as its predecessor. The 1080p 2.l35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray still holds its own, but just does not have the detail and color range, or some of the depth of the 4K version. Both disc versions offer Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) lossless sound mixes that are edited for best impact and sound as fine as anything here, though these other films sound good too.

Crimson Peak is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an original 7.1 DTS:X and 2.0 DTS Headphone: X audio mix, along with a mix in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless format. This is a gorgeously photographed film and is a perfect candidate for 4K UHD, which I'm sure will happen at some point. Comparable to Universal's release in 2015 in terms of presentation (the specs are the same on both), this is a fine looking presentation of a visually stunning film.

The new 2K restoration presents The Hills Have Eyes, Part Two on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a LPCM Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) audio mix. The soundtrack by Harry Manfredini is a highlight and sounds very similar to early Friday the 13th films. The image is considerably cleaner than previous versions on disc and the overall presentation is recommendable for Blu-ray.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Mary tries to come up with its own visual atmosphere and sometimes succeeds, but despite consistency, it never completes what it tries to start. Shot on 35mm film by the director who is a professional Director of Photography as it turns out, it is still easily one of the best-looking thrillers of the last few years.

The 1080p 2.65 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Savage is a solid HD shoot that also looks really good throughout with decent color and maybe it will be a future 4K release, but the color and definition are nice throughout just the same. The frame hardly makes it Ultra Panavision 70, but its good enough.

Mary and Savage (in Mandarin) both offer impressive DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless sound mixes that have solid, consistent soundfields that will not disappoint anyone who plays it on an optimal home theater sound system.

- Nicholas Sheffo (It 4K, Mary), Ricky Chiang (Savage) and James Lockhart



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