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