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 > Gangsters > Neo Noir > Thriller > Psychological > Dutch > Horror > Monster > Supernatural > Ma > Blast Of Silence (1961/Universal/Criterion Blu-ray)/Broken Mirrors (1984/MVD/Cult Epics Blu-ray)/Crocodile Island (2020/DVD*)/The Exorcist: Believer 4K (2023/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/E

Blast Of Silence (1961/Universal/Criterion Blu-ray)/Broken Mirrors (1984/MVD/Cult Epics Blu-ray)/Crocodile Island (2020/DVD*)/The Exorcist: Believer 4K (2023/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Eye For An Eye: The Blind Swordsman (2022/Blu-ray/*both Well Go)/It Lives Inside (2023/Neon DVD)

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

Now for more thrillers...

Allen Baron's Blast Of Silence (1961) is the debut film of a man who turned into a major journeyman director/writer, but instead of continuing on the big screen, became one of the television's major go-to names to get some great episodes of TV shows done and there, he definitely made a few classics as well. Also playing the lead role of a hitman, it is a remarkable debut effort for a new artist and holds up better than you might think. His job happens to be during Christmas, so we see more than a few bits of that and New York City becomes a character in the film either way. No doubt he was thinking big screen throughout his career.

As he goes along, we meet all kinds of characters, good, bad and indifferent, played by unknowns who deliver and while the film also serves as a time capsule, it all meshes well and is an early post-Noir film (any such crime film after 1958 for a good while) that plays like the next raw, realistic, naturalistic step after that all-time great movement and storytelling in filmmaking. Baron carries the film all the way and even without the voice-overs, this could have still worked as a artsy crime film ala Arthur Penn's Mickey One with Warren Beatty.

As for Baron, he would revisit this territory with Terror In The City a few years later, but his TV credits are as killer as John Llewellyn Moxey's and include shows like The Brady Bunch, Love American Style, Surfside 6, The Immortal (1970,) The Sixth Sense, Room 222, Lucas Tanner, Switch, Barney Miller, Fantasy Island, Barnaby Jones, The Love Boat, Cagney & Lacey, Charlie's Angels and four of the first seven episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. As a matter of fact, early in The Werewolf episode of the show (episode five, by the way) when Kolchak (Darren McGavin) checks into The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, it is a recreation of most of the scene where his assassin in this film checks into a hotel arriving in town for his latest hit job.

With only a few parts of the film showing its age or being a little predictable, Blast Of Silence deserves more notice and respect than it gets and its great it has no only been preserved and restored, but that Criterion has picked it up. I highly recommend it!

The film is presented in two black & white digital High Definition 1080p options from really good 4K scans: 1.85 X 1 and 1.33 X 1, both of which look fine and hardly show the age of the materials used. The wider aspect ratio version looks nice and has some nice detail, while the 1.33 X 1 version shows more at the top and bottom of the frame, making it also a real pleasure to watch and you get some great shots that way you cannot get the other way. It may be slightly less sharp, but depth of field is great. This was shot soft matte, so both versions are actually authentic and it is a practice that still is used today when people shoot on film without anamorphic lenses.

The PCM 1.0 Mono sound is pretty good for its age off of the original optical soundmaster, not hurting that all of Lionel Stander's voice-overs (written by the brilliant Waldo Salt, both uncredited!) were done post-production in studio. I just wished this were a 2.0 Mono track, but besides that, it sounds just fine. Location audio is also not bad for its age.

Extras include a high quality paper pullout with illustrations, tech information and an essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty and separate a graphic-novel adaptation of the film by acclaimed artist Sean Phillips (Criminal, Reckless, Fatale), while the disc adds:

Requiem for a Killer: The Making of ''Blast of Silence''

Rare on-set Polaroids

Photos of locations from the film in 2008

and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Marleen Gorris' directs and co-stars in the foreign thriller/drama Broken Mirrors (1984), which centers on an Amsterdam Brothel where two prostitutes become friends in a unhealthy environment and against all odds in their personal lives. The film is out on disc courtesy of Cult Epics in this nice edition with some interesting extras.

The film explores how men dehumanize these women and the traumatic effects it has on them. Crosscut with the inner working of this brothel, a serial killer abducts one of the workers and chains her to a bed in an undisclosed location and deprives her of food. He loses his edge when she stops begging him for mercy, and whom we later discover was one of the clients of the brothel. The film is interestingly made and has great performances all around in its character study and doesn't get as graphic in its sexual content as it could have. Its themes are pretty apparent and it works as a artistic piece where a friendship blooms in an unlikely scenario.

The film stars Lineke Rijxman, Henrette Tol, Carla Hardy, Hedda Oledzky, and Edda Barends to name a few.

Broken Mirrors is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and lossless audio options: Dutch DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Master Audio 2.0 Mono and Dutch LPCM 2.0 Mono mixes, both with English subtitles. The film is nicely shot and has been preserves in HD looking transfer as the film was previously hard to track down and see in this quality.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary by Film Scholar Peter Verstraten

Interview with US sex worker Margo St. James (Adriaan van Dis/Cinema 3, 1991)

Promotional gallery

and a reversible cover.

Crocodile Island (2020), also called Ju e dao, is out on DVD from Well GO USA and is a foreign take on a giant monster movie akin to Skull Island or Jurassic Park. In the film, a plane crashes onto a distant island where prehistoric creatures roam. That happens to be the plot of at least three iconic Hollywood movies I could name off the top of my head, and also happens to be the plot of this one.

There are giant spiders of course too, but one must wonder, why did they rely so heavily on digital effects that look very rough and unfinished? For the sheer amount of digital effects in the film, they could have added some more detail and texture to the characters and made them look more realistic. Or go the old school route and do practical stop motion effects or animatronic characters? The result are dinosaurs and a huge prehistoric crocodile that look more like a dated video game than realistic cinematic characters. There seem to be a few rogue practical effects shots here and there of the crocodile that look okay, but the human drama doesn't outweigh the clunky special effects work the story is so reliant on.

Crocodile Island is presented in standard definition on DVD with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and audio mixes in lossy Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mandarin 2.0 with English subtitles. There are also a few scenes that are in English language. Being on the dated, low def DVD format, the image looks as good as it can, but shows discrepancies the bigger one blows up the image.

Special Features: Trailer for this film and other Well Go releases.

David Gordon Greene's The Exorcist: Believer 4K (2023) is the latest attempt to revisit the 1973 William Friedkin classic, itself celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, with most attempts just not that memorable. Greene has been drifting between commercial films and more quiet, artistic ones, like the recent, so-so Halloween revival, but I have to say that the first 35 minutes or so of this film is smart and some of his best work in years, then it has to become a sequel. Then Ellen Burstyn makes a great return, but then the film starts to get uneven and never totally recovers.

In the beginning, two gals who are friends in school go out in the woods for fun, but they disappear, worrying their respective parents. The film starts in what turns out to be a flashback of one of the gals' mothers dying overseas. Angela (Lydia Jewell) is now with her dad Victor (Leslie Odom, Jr.) and he becomes very concerned about her, already permanently damaged from losing his wife, her mother. This brings us to meeting the rest of the persons involved and when she is still not found and Victor and the police have no easy answers, he starts to think maybe there is something more.

Soon, convinced it is something evil and supernatural, he hears about a half-century old exorcism and contacts the woman who wrote a best-selling book about it, one time actress Chris MacNeil (Burstyn, who nearly steals the film) whom Victor contacts for help. From there, things start to get uglier and more harrowing.

As for the script, it eventually goes all out to throw in everything by the kitchen sink (though we see a few of those, none of them go flying in the air and Satan skips speaking through one) but it is as if they had some great ideas and a smart, mature, great approach and just did not know totally how to follow it up to the end. The cast is really good here though, including Ann Dowd (brilliant as the evil slave driver on The Handmaid's Tale TV series) exploiting her connection to that role a little, but playing a totally different character with genre conviction that is a fine throwback to better horror films of the past.

There is also an early twist in the film that was a big mistake in the long term and I did not think worked to begin with. If they had even done a toned-down version thereof, it would have actually worked far better. Either way, this is a close call with Exorcist III and the first prequel film as the best films since the original classic to take on the material and that world. No doubt all involved love the original film and it shows in many parts. I know some people were disappointed in this film and expected something flashier, but audiences also have a problem sticking with anything that requires more of an attention span these days, so cheers to the makers for taking some big risks for a big commercial film like this, one of the few ambitious such films of late in the big budget sequel category. It's definitely worth a look but maybe watching the original again first before viewing might help.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Exorcist: Believer 4K has some good shots, but it somehow is not as impactful as the recent 4K release of the original film, though it does try to look like it at times. It is still the best-looking release on the list and the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray is not bad, but is a little softer and challenged than expected, while color is not as good as the 4K, especially in the Video Black where it counts. Both offer lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) soundmixes that can be quiet and dialogue-based, then also gets interesting when the sound kicks in. A few moments are demo quality and some of the better such moments this year.

Extras include a Feature Length Audio Commentary track by David Gordon Green, Ryan Turek, Peter Sattler, and Christopher Nelson, plus we get six featurettes: Ellen and Linda: Reunited, Editing an Exorcism, Making a Believer, Matters of Faith, The Opening and Stages of Possession. And you can read more about the franchise with our coverage of the original, now in a solid 4K version:


And Exorcist II: The Heretic, the infamous sequel that just had too many people second-guessing the original script until it was a mess...


Eye For An Eye: The Blind Swordsman (2022) is an intense and beautifully made martial arts film starring Xie Mao (Ip Man: The Awakening) that has landed on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA.

The revenge thriller has a familiar plot to other films of its kind where the main character is struck down and must avenge one's name. The trope is classic because it works and this film at least puts its own spin on a familiar storytelling formula.

A clever lone blind swordsman / bounty hunter crosses paths with a young woman who is assaulted at her wedding by a twisted group of baddies. Tied to a similar revenge plot, the bounty hunter helps the woman by slicing and dicing his way through all that oppose them.

The film has incredible action sequences that are beautifully done and some jaw dropping moments that martial arts fans will enjoy. The period setting is expertly pulled off and in many ways this feels like if a John Wick film was set in ancient China. While the plot isn't anything revolutionary or original, the execution of the material puts it a grade above other recent films of late.

Eye for an Eye: The Blind Swordsman is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and lossless Mandarin DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and lossy Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0 with English subtitles as well as English dubbed DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. As mentioned, the film is a visual feast for the eyes and it would benefit greatly from a 4K UHD release in the future.

The only special features are trailers. Which is a shame as I would be curious to know more about the film's production and creation.

Eye For An Eye: The Blind Swordsman is a visual feast with flaming swords and all!

It Lives Inside (2023) is a suspenseful new horror film from Neon that explores the dark side of Indian culture and superstition. It feels similar to me as other recent genre films such as It Follows or Talk to Me, and has a high end indie quality to it that feels similar to an A24 production. The film does a good job of crafting suspense and tension and is smartly made and has a lot of convincing performances of shock and terror from its mostly unknown leads.

Samidha (Megan Suri) is an Indian American teen who is a responsible young woman from a good traditional Indian family, but yearns to fit in with the other kids at school despite some of her religious obligations. But when her old friend approaches her with a jar that contains a demon that is hungry to feed, she explains that it has become her obligation to tend for it. When the jar breaks near Samidha, the demon attaches itself to her too and feeds on her loneliness and angst. It starts to affect those around her too resulting in some brutal deaths which starts to peel away at Samidha's sanity. Overall, It Lives Inside has a cool cinematic and visual style with well developed characters that result in an entertaining horror film.

Directed by Bishal Dutta (Life in Color), the film also stars Neeru Bajwa, Betty Gabriel, Gage Marsh, Siddhartha Minhas, and Mohana Krishnan.

It Lives Inside is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. The film looks as good as it can on standard definition and remains a visual treat despite some compression evident in the aging format. A strong suit for the film is its sound mix which features a creepy score and sound effects that help aide the scares effectively. I would like to see this film in a higher resolution in the future.

No extras.

It Lives Inside is a great indie horror film and worth a watch!

- Nicholas Sheffo (4K, Blast) and James Lockhart



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com