DVD Review HTF REVIEW - THE RETURN

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Kevin EK, Mar 3, 2007.

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  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    The Return



    THE RETURN

    Studio: Universal
    Film Year: 2006
    Film Length: 86 minutes
    Genre: Supernatural/Horror

    Aspect Ratio:

    • 2.35:1 theatrical ratio

    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio:
    • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround



    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
    Film Rating: PG-13







    Release Date: February 27, 2007.


    Rating: 2/5

    With: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Peter O’Brien, Adam Scott, Kate Beahan & Sam Shepard
    Written by: Adam Sussman
    Directed by: Asif Kapadia

    THE RETURN is a decent horror film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a young woman having nightmare visions of a town she’s never been to, and of a murder that “just may be her own”, to quote the ad copy on the back cover. It’s actually an okay ride, and the performances are appropriately subdued and moody until the shocks begin. Given that it’s a PG-13 film, there’s nothing excessively bloody here – just a series of the usual LFE shocks and sudden jump cuts after the quieter moments. This is a fairly straightforward thriller, although there are a lot of leftover loose ends that may be confusing for the viewer. It’s not overly long, clocking in at under 90 minutes, but it definitely takes its time setting the stage for what winds up being a pretty ordinary story. I’m trying not to spoil the twists for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, so I’ll just say that it was certainly better than I anticipated, but nothing that will stay with me too long.


    VIDEO QUALITY: 4/5

    THE RETURN is presented in a beautiful anamorphic 2.35:1 picture with heavy emphasis on the darker side of the color spectrum. As befits the thriller/horror genre, there’s a lot of darkness in the movie, and the black levels here are quite deep and satisfying. There’s a definite edge to the look of the film – standard dialogue scenes appear to have been shot handheld to increase the jitters of the viewer. Once it goes into heavier shock mode, the colors become bleached out, and the image becomes openly shaky. This is clearly the intended effect, and it works well for the movie. (Although I have to say that if I see ONE more movie where the director has just discovered the slant-focus lens or the handcrank camera, I swear…)


    AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5

    THE RETURN is presented in a well-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 in both English and French. The surround channels are used very nicely, particularly during the visions and during the driving sequences. At several points, normal sound effects are heightened to add more shock points. At many points during the film, there is a very light LFE effect that is clearly intended to heighten the anxiety of the viewer. And then you have the “cattle prod” effects that jump out of the speakers to keep your heart going throughout. As a word of caution, if the film appears to be really, really quiet during a scene, I strongly advise against cranking up the volume or the next shock cut will take out your windows and your eardrums… In all seriousness, it’s a good mix that makes effective use out of a surround sound system.


    SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5

    • The Making of THE RETURN: Creation of a Nightmare (8:33): This anamorphic featurette mostly features interviews with the producers, writer and director about the concepts behind the film. IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM, DO NOT WATCH THIS FEATURETTE BEFORE SEEING IT – IT WILL SPOIL THE MOVIE! In the opening comments, the creators of the film immediately discuss the ending of the film, so it’s interesting to watch – after you’ve already seen the movie and know what they’re talking about. That said, their comments aren’t all that deep. The one moment of interest here is a brief interview with Sarah Michelle Gellar where she comments about Sam Shepard pleasantly surprising her by agreeing to be in the film.

    • Deleted Scenes: The Terror You Never Saw – (10:44) This is a series of brief scenes, scene extensions or alternate scenes that flesh out the characters a bit more, but not to an extent that their absence is really felt in the completed film. They are presented in a non-anamorphic format in 2.0 sound. To be honest, there really wasn’t any terror that I could find in any of these bits – just character development.

    • The Alternate Ending: Too Shocking for the Big Screen – (5:44) A non-anamorphic alternate ending is presented here. It’s really not all that different from the one used in the completed film – but it’s easy to see why it wasn’t used. The alternate simply doesn’t work as well, and among other things, would have created a massive continuity error.

    There are a couple of Universal trailers presented as you first activate the disc, but no trailer is presented for the film itself. Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish and French. A scene index is provided with plenty of chapter stops throughout the film.

    IN THE END...

    THE RETURN is a fairly tame package overall. It’s a nice movie with a few jolts to it – similar in many ways to a roller coaster at Disneyland. If anything, this could be called a “date thriller movie”, if such a term can be used. There isn’t much in the way of extras, but it’s certainly not a bad way to spend 90 minutes in the home theater.


    Kevin Koster
    March 3, 2007.
     
  2. Chris Tedesco

    Chris Tedesco Second Unit

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    I'm staring at this DVD right now. Debating if I want to even watch it. Crap, it's only 90 minutes of my life....
     

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