* * * (B)
Directed by Vera Farmiga
Starring Vera Farmiga, Norbert Leo Butz, Dagmara Dominczyk, John Hawkes, Bill Irwin, Joshua Leonard, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Donna Murphy
Sony//rated R//Drama//109 minutes
Available on: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Adapted from Carolyn S. Briggs's memoir, "Higher Ground" traces Corinne Walker's (Farmiga) efforts to sustain her Christian faith. As a teen Corinne falls in love, gets pregnant and is married, but when difficulties arise within her marriage, Corinne and her husband seek to strengthen their bond through faith. They join a patriarchal church group that leaves her gasping for air, except when in the company of Corinne's free-spirited friend Annika (Dominczyk). Both dramatic and humorous, Corinne's journey is one of self-discovery and empowerment. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features: Film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Commentary with Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard and Renn Hawkey, Making Higher Ground, Production Diary, Toe Sucking, Meeting of the Men, Grave, English or French.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
* *1/2 (B-)
Directed by Troy Nixey
Starring Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson
Sony//Rated R//Horror//99 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
Guillermo del Toro wrote this screenplay based on a 1973 TV-movie that, as a child, rocked him to the core. He rewrites the script to center on Sally (Madison), a 9-year-old sent to stay with her dad (Pearce) living in a Gothic mansion he is restoring to sell. Sally amuses herself, and avoids Dad's new girlfriend (Holmes), by investigating every nook and cranny in the house. She discovers a hidden realm, populated by small creatures that become increasingly malevolent. The question remains -- are Del Toro's childhood fears sufficiently scary to spook the film's adult audience. DVD or Blu-ray features: The Story, Blackwood's Mansion, The Creatures. English or Spanish. Conceptual Art Gallery (Blu-ray only).