Darkness (1990* )/Old
(2021/Shyamalan/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Retribution
(1987/*both Severin Blu-rays w/CDs)/Warning
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B-/B/B/B-/B Sound:
C+/B+/B-/B-/B- Extras: B-/C/D/C-/B+ Films: C+/C/C+/C+/C+
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
for some mystery thrillers in time for Halloween....
(1990) has the Italian Troll
director in the U.S. with a Satanic Possession thriller about a
reverend haunted by a recently executed child killer who loves Satan
and comes back to haunt him and his family when they move into a
newly-purchased house. That gives it a child-in-jeopardy issue, but
the vengeful killer also has captured the souls of the group of
children she took over. That is a very heavy, ugly situation that
seems more like an Italian horror film or a bold indie horror B-movie
in the U.S., but that is how dark this is.
it also is repeating too much we have seen in the genre before film
films like The
and a few others. Considering it was made long after such films had
their best cycle years before, you can see why it decided to go
overboard in other ways. Effects are not bad, acting not bad (Gene
LeBrock, David Brandon, Barbara Bingham and Michael Stevenson make up
the main cast), music score effective and the look different, but it
was only so memorable and only worth a look for serious horror fans
who want to be completists. The title was changed to 'Evil
overseas, but it has no such sardonic humor.
one other reason to recommend it it it does pull off a consistent and
dim atmosphere that helps it get over even its obvious parts,
something we do not see in such film much these days. Now you can
see for yourself.
include a CD soundtrack, while
the discs add Beyond
Interview With Director/Co-Writer Claudio Fragasso, The
Devil In Mrs. Drudi:
Interview With Co-Writer Rossella Drudi, Sign
Of The Cross:
Interview With Actor David Brandon and an Original Theatrical
(2021) is the latest formula film from the talented-but-self-limiting
director who was once being touted as another Spielberg (a goofy
notion) and thought his hits would never end. Instead, he quickly
ran into formula (though some people like his idea of a superhero
film, I thought they were limited and overrated too despite some
actors I like) and his approach eventually collapsed into the
disaster known as The
other issue is that his films kept implying some mysterious disaster
(a different one for each film) was not only coming, but would
quietly befall the entire world, often without them knowing it or
knowing it after it was too late. In the post-COVID-19 era, it all
rings as hollow now as it did for myself from the beginning (not even
seriously, ever) and thus, I finds the title of this new film highly
ironic, especially when the director's name is added.
the actual film, several families are visiting a nice, sunny,
beautiful, clean beach to have their vacations and though we have
global warming and high depletion of the ozone layer, what happens to
them is worse than sunburn or skin cancer. They suddenly start to
age many years in only a few hours, sometimes killing them. How and
why? Not enough sun screen? Is it aliens? A timeslip? A bad
usual in Shyamalan films, it is presented as supernatural or surreal
for the majority of the film and then later, maybe, another alternate
explanation is offered (never as good as a better Twilight
episode) and it never works. Some viewers may wish the mystification
stayed and no 'realistic explanation' was revealed, but more often
because the reveal is just so bad, not just because they want to
enjoy being in the clouds.
cast (looking like they are trying to remake either Lost,
or both!) includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicki Kreips, Rufus Sewell (of
fame,) Alex Wolff, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Embeth Davitz,
and others keeping the odd tone going throughout without fail. Too
bad that cannot save yet another dud.
include Digital Copy, while the
discs add (per the press release) DELETED SCENES, SHYAMALAN FAMILY
BUSINESS - We look at what Night’s two daughters, Ishana and
Saleka, contributed to the film and how collaborating with family
made filming outside Philadelphia still feel like home, ALL THE BEACH
IS A STAGE - Shooting a film in a wide-open space is challenging
because angles have to be created, much like theatre. Night explains
the significance of his camera movements and the cast discuss the
unique experience of filming without coverage, NIGHTMARES IN PARADISE
- When making a film like OLD, finding the right shooting location is
everything. Hear the story of why Night took the production to the
Dominican Republic and how Mother Nature both challenged and helped
the production and A FAMILY IN THE MOMENT - Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky
Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff recount one very special,
emotional night of filming that brought them closer than they ever
(1987) has a wild concept where two different men (one a passive man
(suffering manic depression?) and the other a killer criminal,) both
born at the same time, die at the same time, then come back to fight
each other in the same man. OK. The passive man tries to kill
himself and when he fails, the killer starts possessing him. Filled
with lots of latex make-up and optical effects, it is a mixed bag,
but a very ambitious film just the same, yet too convoluted to really
work. That did not stop them from making and completing it.
that, it needs all the exposition it can get, so the longer Dutch
version that has not been as seen actually works better, so its great
Severin has been able to get both versions and given this a 2K
restoration that makes the film look about as good as it possibly
can. The cast of Dennis Lipscomb, Leslie Wing, Suzanna Snyder and
Hoyt Axton gives it their all to keep this going and I was impressed
at the times it did work. The night shooting is a plus and though it
does not all hold together when all is said and done, it is more
ambitious than most films in its genre are today, which is the best
reason to revisit it.
include a CD soundtrack, while the discs
add Audio Commentary With Co-Writer/Director Guy Magar on the
Extended Dutch Video Release Version and the Theatrical Version
Interview With Co-Writer Lee Wasserman, Shock
Interview With Actress Leslie Wing, Angel's
Interview With Actress Suzanne Snyder, Santa
Maria, Mother Of God, Help Me!:
Interview With Actor Mike Muscat, Settling
Interview With Soundtrack Composer Alan Howarth, Visions
Interview With Special Effects Artist John Eggett, The
Art Of Getting Even:
Interview With Artist Barry Fahr, Living
Interview With Production Designer Robb Wilson King, BINGO:
Student Short By Guy Magar with Optional Director Commentary, an
Original Theatrical Trailer, Stills & Poster Gallery and
(2021) is an interesting attempt to do a thriller where technology is
so over-prevalent, there is not room for people to be human and too
much has been surrenders to technology, which all gets thrown off
when a worldwide storm hits and starts affecting all electronics.
The cast is more impressive than expected, including Alice Eve,
Thomas Jane and Alex Pettyfer, all underrated actors who deserve
ambitious material like this.
effects and sound effects are not bad in design, but the film gives
us some good and interesting ideas, only to interrupt them with
wasted spaces and off moments. One of the saddest is that religion
has been totally corporatized and you have to 'subscribe to God'
including a free version and upgrades that you have to pay extra for.
The film does achieve a convincing coldness and is worth a look for
the cast and things that do work. Too bad they did not have more
money and one more rewrite, as they were that close to at least a
Copy and a trailer are the only extras.
(1949) is based on a Cornell Woolrich story of a young child (Bobby
Driscoll, on loan from Disney at the time for this film) who tells
many tall tales, but it is a hot summer and his parents can only take
so much. Soon after his latest made-up follies, his mom lets him
sleep on the fire escape (!) and when he moves up a flight of steps,
he is near another apartment where he actually witnesses a murder!
course, no one believes him, not just because of his lying for
attention, but because he is a child and it was common in that era
for children to 'be seen and not heard' which is dealt with to some
extent in the screenplay. But he is a witness and when the
male/female couple who did the killing find out he was actually
there, they form a plot to stop him.
is not bad for a short B-movie that has Film Noir elements, even with
a child-in-jeopardy, but he is somewhat resourceful, so he is not as
much of a sitting duck or victim in a plus for the film, which later
inspired Hitchcock's Rear
(1954, see our 4K review elsewhere on this site) but the two films do
not have as many similarities as you might think.
Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman make up the rest of
the solid cast and those interested should still catch this, but
expect a little political incorrectness in the beginning.
are sadly no extras.
for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby
Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition
image on the 4K version of Old
looks the best of all the releases here, shot on 35mm film and with
fine, consistent color, detail and depth, yet despite the higher
12-bit color of Dolby Vision, the film still has a sort of oddly flat
look. The 1080p is not as good with lesser brightness and color, but
it is passable. The Dolby
Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) has the best sound
here too, but it is not always active (Shyamalan's films always have
their share of silence) and is on both disc versions.
1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image on Darkness
has a slightly faded look, partly due to the styling of the film, yet
some of it might not be, so expect the look to be very prominent,
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix in Italian is not
strong, but more authentic than the English dub that is not very
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on both version of
look pretty good, but the optical printing work for visual effects
look grainy and age the film the most. Fortunately, the film is one
of the now-rare films totally shot on Fuji
35mm negative color film. A competitor (with Agfa, who like Fuji,
no longer makes motion picture film of any kind, sadly) gives the
film a unique color pallet that gives it a added dimension of
otherness. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is
from the old Dolby System A-type noise reduction soundmaster and
decodes well (try Pro Logic or one of its variants for home theater
owners) and sound pretty good for a low budget film its age. The
combination is more impressive than you might think.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Warning
is our only HD shoot here and is a little softer than expected, CGI
visuals not withstanding. Color and the look are not bad overall.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has its moments, but has an
inconsistent soundfield and a few other minor detail limits.
Otherwise, this is watchable enough.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Window
can show the age of the film at times, but it usually looks pretty
good and the restoration is yet another volatile RKO film saved
pretty well. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also a little
better than expected, even when it shows its age, you can hear the
audio with more warmth and clarity than expected. This will likely
never sound better.
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great