Directed by Wes Craven
Starring Max Thieriot, Emily Meade, John Magaro, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Denzel Whitaker, Paulina Olszynski, Jeremy Chu, Raul Esparza, Shareeka Epps
Universal//Rated R//Horror//108 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
Twenty-five years after his groundbreaking, "Nightmare On Elm Street," Wes Craven returns to the teen slasher genre. The film presents us with "The Ripper," a serial killer possessed by a demon that could be linked to any of seven local children born in the minutes immediately following the serial killer's death. As the seven teens, approach their 16th birthdays in the small town of Riverton, they fear that the Ripper will possess one of them. The group, a darker version of the "Archie" comic-book gang, is composed of a jock (Nick Lashaway), popular but mean Brittany (Paulina Olszynski), religious zealot Penelope (Zena Grey), blind Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), superstitious Jay (Jeremy Chu), outcast Bug (Max Thieriot) and Bug's best friend Alex (John Magaro). Meaningless backstories consume much of the film, while a Native American legend, claiming the California Condor carries the souls of those it consumes, is thrown in to little effect. Craven leads viewers down blind alleys riddled with logic inconsistencies and fails to frighten us with poorly arranged killing scenes that are sometimes, unintentionally funny. The final insult is delivered by ineffectual, post-production 3D that leaves us hoping Wes Craven's soul will be made to answer for this dud. DVD or Blu-ray features: Director commentary with actors Max Thierot, John Magaro and Emily Meade, Alternate Opening, Alternate Endings, Deleted and Extended Scenes, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
* * (C)
Directed by Tod Williams
Starring Brian Boland, Sprague Grayden, Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
Paramount//Rated R or Unrated//Horror//91 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
"Paranormal" and its sequel, "Paranormal 2," are inexpensive films shot largely on low-resolution home video cameras and blue-toned surveillance systems. Unlike the first film, the sequel requires us to wait a long time for something noteworthy to happen. In "Paranormal," Katie (Katie Featherston) claimed a demonic presence gained ever-increasing control over her as she slept. To disprove this, Katie's boyfriend, Micah (Micah Sloat), set up a video camera in their bedroom and was surprised when it captured frightening events. Chapter two is set in the home of Katie's sister, Kristi Rey (Sprague Grayden), where Kristi's husband Daniel (Brian Boland), has security cameras installed throughout the house. The surveillance footage is mixed with that of handheld video cameras that record the couple's lives. Each night the camera records the home's common areas and Hunter's room where the family German shepherd, Abby, stands guard. Following 75 minutes of unspectacular footage, Daniel's teen daughter concludes that evil forces have come for Hunter, the first male born into Kristi's family in nearly a century. The notion that an upscale, somewhat featureless suburban home, is targeted by malevolent spirits, is creepy, but the film's clever ending doesn't make up for 90 minutes of missing terror. DVD features: Director's Cut, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: Film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy.
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE