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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Amusement (2008/Horror/Warner Bros. Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Amusement (2008/Horror/Warner Bros. Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/C+/C     Sound: B/B-     Extras: D     Film: C-



The Horror genre is still in flux, making money the cheap and easy way while real fans wonder if a good film will get made and if so, will people see it.  Writer Jake Wade Wall was already behind scripting the remakes of When A Stranger Calls (which almost worked) and The Hitcher (which did not) so when we saw he was writing an original script for Amusement (2008), would he turn out to have original ideas that would make for a good thriller or not?  The results show that there are ideas there, but they just get drowned by every cliché in the book.


A man with an 18-wheeler may be a killer (think Duel for a few seconds) who seems to have abducted a girl who he is beating up, but the cover-up is that she is mentally ill.  There is at least one killer on the loose and a childhood incident is supposedly again the blame, but the situation becomes so elaborate that it becomes quickly contrived and even if the makes had more money to play with, the script cannot keep it afloat.  At times, you hope this might turn into a smart thriller, but by the time shades of torture porn surface making it look like every low-budget disaster we have seen lately, forget it.


The result?  Very few will be amused.  The unknown cast is interesting, but left with nothing to do, wasted.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is softer than it should be for a new shoot, with detail issues, though color can be good in shots and is not totally gutted out.  This looks worse on the two picture options on the DVD: anamorphically enhanced widescreen and a dumb pan & scan edition for old analog TVs.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix has some good moments, but is also flatter than it should be for a Horror film and suggests budgetary limits, as well as some of the imagination.  Marco Beltrami actually did the score.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on both versions is weaker, needless to say, and there are no extras.  That is odd too since the cheapest of Horror DVDs tend to have them, but both discs offer a Digital Copy DVD-ROM for PC and PC portable devices so you can see the film in more places.  Was that necessary?



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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