Made for the Chiller Network, Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear has an interesting premise for a horror anthology - five short films by young film makers, each one themed around a particular human sense. Unfortunately, like most anthology films, the result is an uneven, often disappointing collection of stories.
Studio: Scream Factory
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 28 Min
Package Includes:Single Blu-ray Keepcase
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 10/22/2013
Chilling Visions begins with a deeply disturbing title sequence where a man is tortured and has his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth sewn shut. The first film, Smell, is probably my favorite of the pack, where we meet sad sack Seth Kyle (Corey Scott Rutledge), suffering a bout of depression after a recent breakup and stuck in a job going nowhere for a company beginning a new round of layoffs. Enter Miss Margaret (Hilary Greer), the Avon lady from hell, with the answers to all of Seth’s problems - a bottle of pheromones guaranteed to bring him success in love and work. But she warns him to use it sparingly, and to call her if he has any “unexpected side effects.” Before he knows it, he’s being promoted to management and is a hit with the ladies (as well as a possible reconciliation with his ex). But alas, there is a price to pay for this newfound success (isn’t there always?), and Seth finds that the spray is causing his flesh to melt away. Smell was written and directed by Nick Everheart (the SyFy original movie 2012 Doomsday), who brings enough dark humor to the tale to keep it entertaining.
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
See tells the tale of a mad optometrist, Dr. Tom (Ted Yudain) who can distill a person’s visions into eyedrops. When he finds that one of his favorite patients, Amy (Debra Jans), is being abused by her boyfriend, Travis (Lowell Byers), he tries to teach him a lesson by offering up a buffet of disturbing images to give him a sense of what it’s like to be a victim of physical abuse. But the plan backfires on the good doctor, leading to a violent conclusion. Child actor Miko Hughes makes his directing debut with See, and, unfortunately, relies too much on violent gore rather than instilling fear on his audience.
Touch is, perhaps, the biggest surprise of this collection. Henry (Caleb Barwick), a 12-year old blind boy, is stranded when when his parents crash their car on a country road. Henry ventures into the woods, trying to find help. Instead, he stumbles upon an abandoned camping outpost inhabited by a serial killer (Lowell Byers). Henry uses his wits to overcome the killer and save his parents. Director Emily Hagens keeps the story fresh, and manages to pull of an ending that, while not exactly original, is done with much style and finesse.
Things go downhill from here. Taste, directed by Eric England, has a smug hacker, Aaron (Doug Roland) arriving for an interview with Lacey Sharp (Symba Smith). Lacey makes Aaron an offer he can’t refuse. When he refuses, all hell breaks loose, with Lacey literally making lunchmeat of Aaron. This is the goriest of the five shorts, yet there is no rhyme or reason for it, and to make matters worse, the story makes no sense whatsoever, with more time spent nodding at all of the other shorts in the anthology.
Finally, we arrive at Listen, a mockumentary about a group of filmmakers investigating an urban legend of a long-lost song that is supposed to cause one to go on a murder-suicide spree. They sift through found videotapes, trying to piece together the song. The problem is that the story goes on far too long, and the viewer pretty much knows how this is going to eventually end, so there is no real surprise or thrills, either.
Shot on the Arri Alexa, using various stylistic approaches, the 1080p transfer provided to Shout! Factory retains the originally intended 1.78:1 broadcast aspect ratio, and was compressed using the AVC codec. Since Chiller still broadcasts in 480i, this Blu-ray is a definite improvement over the original broadcast. Colors are consistent and vibrant (where they are intended to be), and detail, for the most part, is quite good. I did notice some very minor banding and compression artifacts here and there, but I really had to look for them.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Two audio options are provided, a 5.1 or 2.0, both in DTS-HD Master Audio. The 5.1 opens up the soundstage slightly, adding in a few discrete effects. Dialogue is clear and understandable, and both tracks have a nice dynamic range.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
The back cover lists a Still Gallery as one of the special features, but it is not included on the disc’s menu.
Special Features Rating: 2/5
Deleted Scene (1080p; 0:55): Seth Kyle taking a bath from Smell.
Teasers and Trailers (1080p; 3:26): A series of nine promos from the Chiller network.
Smell and Touch are the real highlights on Chilling Visions, so much so that I want to seek out Emily Hagins’ feature debut, My Sucky Teen Romance. But the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts, and the five senses on display here don’t add up to a worthwhile feature-length experience.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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