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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
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The Other Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Fox Twilight Time
Oct 07 2013 01:12 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Studio: Fox
- Distributed By: Twilight Time
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Rating: PG
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray
- Case Type: keep case
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Region: All
- Release Date: 10/08/2013
- MSRP: $29.95
The Production Rating: 4/5Identical twins Niles (Chris Udvarnoky) and Holland (Martin Udvarnoky) Perry are having a rambunctious summer of 1935. Their older sister is expecting a baby which has all of the family excited, and their mother (Diana Muldaur) is starting to come out of a deep depression she had suffered some months earlier. Niles and Holland are like opposite sides of a coin: Niles is the thoughtful, deeply emotional twin while Holland is the mischievous, surly one. When a series of lethal and near-lethal accidents begin happening in this rural neighborhood, there is a great uproar in the family, especially since grandmother Ada (Uta Hagen) feels she can get to the root of the truth by first forcing Niles to participate in a trance-based empathy game and then once she gets the answers she needs, forbidding him to engage in the game any longer.
While the story’s central twist is a good one, it’s more successfully carried out in the Tom Tryon book where certain visual clues can be more successfully camouflaged than they can in the realistic world of the movies. As he did in To Kill a Mockingbird, director Robert Mulligan focuses more strongly on individuals and lets the story unfold rather matter-of-factly. And the director is so smart to show us images without putting a blaring spotlight on them which will have great significance much later in the film (the carnival sequence is one of those scenes that has a much bigger payoff later than at the time of first viewing, and we watch Niles participate in “The Game” in purely visual terms in an exhilarating sequence with a frightening conclusion.) The shock moments are certainly chilling without being gore-infused monstrosities, but the psychological implications of what has gone on before the big reveal (about two-thirds of the way through the film) carry even greater effect in the film’s last third even though the action slows down considerably. The final images have a chill all their own which will bring to a cinemagoer’s mind not only Rosemary’s Baby from a few years past but also The Omen which will be coming in a couple of years.
Chris Udvarnoky who has the larger role of Niles is creepily effective even if he occasionally swallows his dialogue in whispers or muted emotional outbursts. Brother Martin Udvarnoky playing twin Holland has very believable rapport with his real-life brother, and their scenes together are sometimes quite disturbing. Uta Hagen with a thick Russian accent and a lot of expressive warmth has a field day with Grandma Ada. Diana Muldaur well captures the brittle emotional state of Alexandra and later most effectively conveys her muted condition. Victor French beautifully plays a handyman whose son (Clarence Crow) is murdered during the killing spree, and Portia Nelson likewise gets nicely inside her stern neighbor character Mrs. Rowe who also comes to an untimely end.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully realized in the 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Color is wonderfully conveyed in consistently rendered hues that are most appealing and somewhat suggestive of an earlier era, the skin tones always completely believable. Sharpness is usually excellent though there are a couple of softer than expected shots with contrast that’s occasionally a trifle light. Black levels are usually quite good though not always plumbing the depths of inkiness. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix reproduces the cinema experience of the era with a very effective mono track. Dialogue has been nicely recorded and isn’t compromised by the mixing with sound effects or Jerry Goldsmith’s edgy score. There are no age-related artifacts like hiss or crackle to intrude on the suspenseful viewing experience the film offers.
Special Features: 2.5/5Isolated Score Track: the Jerry Goldsmith score is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo reproduction.
Theatrical Trailer (3:10, SD)
Six-Page Booklet: contains a superb collection of color stills, poster art on the back cover, and film historian’s Julie Kirgo’s astute analysis of the movie.