Richard, a wealthy businessman, and Jen, his young, candy arm mistress, helicopter in onto Richard’s desert retreat house. While his wife and children are at home, Richard plans to spend his time away relishing a pleasurable weekend that involves relaxing by the outdoor firepit, swimming in the infinity pool, being sultry with Jen, and do a bit of hunting along the mountains, canyons, and riverbeds. When Richard’s associates, Stan and Dimitri, arrive a day early, a party filled night rapidly ensues, but events turn sour when Jen is brutally attacked the next day and Richard plans to snuff out the scandal before it unravels to ruin him. Unwilling to cooperate with a coverup, Jen is nearly murdered by her three attackers only to arise like the rebirth of the Phoenix, igniting a vengeful fire inside her as she uses everything she has at her disposal to finish what they started.
In a day and age when the slightest bit of a woman’s attention can explode into a vile reaction of testosterone warped misguidance and it’s the woman who is shamed as the accosted criminal being barked at aggressively by the unequivocal fearful and condemning voices of the male species, it’s movies like Coralie Fargeat’s action-packed “Revenge” that symbolizes woman’s resiliencies against men’s efforts in a show of violent force that’s “First Blood” without John Rambo, but rather with a scorned princess for retributive capital justice. “Revenge” is the French filmmaker’s first full-length penned and directed feature film that’s one gritty and bloody grindhouse vindictive sonovabitch, a pure punch to the throat, and a direct message to misogyny everywhere. Filmed in the Morocco desert during Winter, the small cast is swallowed by the vastly arid landscape of transfixing cruelty, a synonymous parallel to the feat the heroine Jen is drawn to task. It’s also a feat that Fargeat managed to salvage to finally release a rape-revenge thriller backed by a conglomerate of production firms and financiers to stand with a film from a first time director whose treatment offers up maltreatment of women, such as the rape, along with the savagery, the concept of revenge, and ridiculous amounts of blood. M.E.S. Productions, Monkey Pack Films, Charades, Logical Pictures, Nextas Factory and Umedia are just to name a few of the production companies to be supporting capital.
With a role embodying the symbolic brutalization of physical and mental rape, a role of complete loneliness in a fatal skirmish against their attackers, and in a role forsaken in the face of death only to be reborn from the ashes of their former self, Matilda Lutz’s fully charged capacity to tackle such a demanding performance is beyond praiseworthy, scrapping the timid traits from Jen’s ravaged glossy persona and replacing with a rigid exterior ready and willing to combat to the death. The Italian born Lutz has to go through a metamorphosis and refashion Jen to be able to differentiate from her more bubbly first half self as the easy kill or the disposable male plaything. In a twisted turn of events, Jen’s mortal adversaries have every advantage to douse out Jen’s existence: gear, guns, vehicles, clothes, water, fuel, numbers, etc. Yet, despite all the advantages, the desert, much like Jen, is unforgiving as it is bare. Richard (Kevin Janssens), Stan (Vincent Colombe), and Guillaume Bouchede (Dimitri) exude the utmost confidence their grip around Jen’s throat. Janssens’ fortifies as the rigorous cutthroat, a misogynistic philanderer, determined to save his own skin no matter the cost while Colombe’s Stan is a retracting coward with regretful impulses. Colombe’s brings the comedy to a grimly tale and positions Stan to be the teetering villain tarnished by his guilt of nearly killing Jen, but never apologizes to being the catalytic rapist that initiates the whole debacle. Bouchede supplements with his divestment to charm as the overweight, do-nothing witness to save Jen from Stan’s seizing urges. As Dimitri, Bouchede stalls his typical niceties to be the silent violator who can open up the flood gates of aggression when transgression warrants it.
“Revenge” has an ultra-violent and super-synth finish chapping with multiple motifs of a rebirth theme and supplies a hefty bloodletting of incorporeal measures. Knocking it out of the park in her first feature film, Fargeat’s cauterizes the unnerving serious tone with alleviated black comedy of the bloodiest kind. The roundabout endgame chase comes to mind, involving a frazzled Jen and a wounded, but indomitable Richard in a merry-go-round of a shotgun standoff is some of the best editing work of fast and ferocious content I’ve seen in some time while still able to vitalize a transparent sense of what’s occurring. However, not all the slick editing is flawless. Some minor inconsistencies in the editing are noticeable and while these moments of lapse are not detrimental or pivotal to the story, they reflect Fargeat’s challenges of making a hyper-stylized action-thriller in her freshman full-length feature. In a sense, everything Fargeat’s deploys positions “Revenge” into a surreal tonality, glamorized for those thirsty for blood gushing in a canyon-vast desert bristled with rape and payback where a mere four players in this ebb and flow game of killer combat chess can effortlessly locate each other, but one can always find their prey by following their blood trail, another motif that continues to pop up that speaks metaphors of their life blood is the very object gives them away in the end.
Giving the limited edition treatment that it deserves, Second Sight Films’s Blu-ray release of “Revenge” is a mouthwatering narcotic of raging cathexis and while the Blu-ray BD-R can’t be technically critiqued, the LE release offers HD 1080p transfer of the original, 2.39:1 aspect ratio and sports an English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While Fargeat might be inspired by Lynchian themes, the cinematography work by Robrecht Heyvaert also resembles “Pitch Black” director David Twohy’s films with making something small larger than life and a particular chase scene involving all four characters at the edge of a canyon stroke a familiar chord with Twohy’s “A Perfect Getaway.” There were Second Sight Films’ exclusive bonus features included on the disc, featuring new interviews with director Carolie Fargeat and star Matilda Lutz (entitled “Out for Blood”) an interview with Dimitri actor Guillaume Bouchede (entitled “The Coward”), a interview with Robrecht Heyvaert (entitled “Fairy Tale Violence”), a new interview with composer Robin Coudert and the synth sounds of “Revenge,” and a new audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author and editor of Diabolique. The release is sheathed inside a rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Adam Stothard as well as a poster and a new soft cover book with new writings by Mary Beth McAndrews and Elena Lazic Overall, “Revenge” received a monster packaged release ready for the taking on May 11th. “Revenge” destroys toxic masculinity and breathes a vindictive hope from the fiery embers of rebirth and destruction.
Yachtman Georgia Perry aims to be a part of the best of the best by joining a handful of women who’ve sailed around the world. The rules are simple: don’t step on land, don’t let anyone step on your boat, and don’t turn on your outboard motor. As Perry heads out into the open ocean, the 25-year-old carries with her a burden of lifetime baggage stemming from her mother’s acute depression and gruesome suicide, her father’s accident and deteriorating health, and the bond between her and her boyfriend Luke coming unraveled. Combine all that weight with complete isolation, loneliness, and no wind to push her sails, Georgia quickly spirals downward into a turbulent state with her only traveling companion being her cat with whom she has conversations on her becalmed sloop. All her fears come to fruition, blurring the line between reality and disturbing fantasy that threatens her voyage and, maybe, even her life.
Bayside Pictures presents “Visitors,” the last helmed feature by the late Richard Franklin of “Psycho II” and “F/X2” fame. “Razorback” writer Everett De Roche penned the 2003 psychological thriller and is able to conjure out some wicked mind buckling material of a woman subjected to cabin fever in the form of a volatile, non-linear story. Franklin adds his two-cent charm with impressive visual sets and effects from the early turn of the century, implementing CGI where appropriate, being practical when deemed, and, by golly, the effects resulted didn’t come out too shabby. The ocean has always been beautiful, yet terrifying mystery that has yet to be fully explored, and Franklin’s able to capture the ominous anomaly that associates with the deep blue sea under an overwhelming guise of mental health and severe isolated confinement.
Before she wandered into “Silent Hill,” but after becoming forsaken in “Pitch Black,” Radha Mitchell showed strength in solitary by playing the headstrong, nautically ambitious sailor, Georgia Perry. Mitchell, who was slightly older than her 25-year-old character, fabricates a troubled young woman willing to risk it all, even her life, even if it meant to leave to escape all her woes and that she holds dear at home. The “Rogue” and “The Crazies” remake actress from Melbourne has a sensationalized and systematic dynamic with her on-screen mother, played by the late Susannah York, in what’s considered to be a disturbing role of manipulative motherhood that forced Georgia to be extremely close and clingy to her endearing father, an underrated role bestowed upon Ray Barrett. A young and upcoming Dominic Purcell (“Blade: Trinity” and “Primeval”) costars as Georgia’s lover and business manager who may or may not have other underlying intentions with Georgia’s sponsors. Appearing never together and putting Mitchell at the epicenter of their lives, the foursome played their roles beautifully by stretching the limits of reality without being overly absurd to the point of being unbecoming of a thriller.
By no means is “Visitors” a woman versus nature premise. Yes, Georgia faces any elements that would plague any sailor who ventured into the ocean alone, but nature was only accessorial. “Visitors,” for the sake of being funny, is more of a film about a young girl embarking on a journey of self discovery. Georgia must get away from negativity that has been eating at her zealous spirit ever since the terrible childhood accident that had crippled her father and destroyed her parents’ marriage. Her embattled mother’s constant belittling, berating, and blaming is the brunt of that that has been burdening. At sea, Georgia battles her onshore demons, which also includes her father’s failing health and her failing relationship with Luke, and coinciding is her ever present looming and underlying fears that lurk out into manifestation, or a visitation if you will, during severe cabin fever. The trip around the world won’t kill her, but her inner demons just might which begs the question if “Visitors” is more of a mental health film and the answer is a firm yes without salty doubt.
Umbrella Entertainment releases “Visitors” onto a region 4 home entertainment DVD. The DVD is beyond an upgrade from it’s region 1 counterpart in the image and audio departments. The anamorphic widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio, renders a cleaner image with slightly more natural color tone as well as offering more film flesh on either side from the 35mm negative. The English Dolby 5.1 audio track offers a range of diversity. The dialogue is clear and fine, the ambient track syncs with ample depth, and the brooding and perilous soundtrack from composer Nerida Tyson-Chew (“Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid”) provides a delectable varied score to Georgia’s though process. The extras are thin, not much different from the Stateside release, including a photo gallery, cast and crew bios, and the Palace Film’s theatrical trailer. Considered widely as an Australian ozploitation film, “Visitors” is deep-seeded, mental trench warfare on the high seas set on a course of psychological doom. A fine film for being Richard Franklin’s last hurrah.
With the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment December 12th release of David F. Sandberg’s “Lights Out,” a frightening film that will make you afraid of the being alone in the dark just as “Jaws” did for swimming in the ocean’s water, hitting Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download, there are others to celebrate the darkness surrounding them with a list of iconic horror (and comic book) legends in which the dark has influenced them, has inspired, has empowered them, and has made genre-bending characters the most evil monstrosities in their own right.
As Seen In: Dracula (1931)
From: Transylvania. Though partial to the odd British holiday.
Profile: Dracula (Bela Lugosi) is an ancient-but-charming aristocrat with a big castle and dodgy accent. Likes sucking blood and terrorizing English toffs.
The Story: The Count comes to England for a spot of neck biting, but gets the stake from Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan).
The Dark Side: The sunlight kills Dracula. Or weakens him (depends on which film you’re watching, to be honest). Either way, he’d prefer you kept the blinds shut.
Some Light On The Subject: With his big shadowy castle, fear of daylight, and penchant for a midnight snack, Dracula is cinema’s original “creature of the night”.
As Seen In: Gremlins (1984)
From: Discovered in a Chinatown antiques shop, albeit in their much cuter Mogwai form.
Profile: The Mogwais turn into mischievous green monsters, who enjoy messing with electrics and, erm, watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
The Story: The Gremlins run amok over wholesome town Kingston Falls and ruin Christmas.
The Dark Side: Much like Dracula, sunlight kills them. Even a camera flash sends them scurrying.
Some Light On The Subject: The Gremlins take a classic horror trope – the monster who doesn’t like light – and make it one the film’s three “rules” (no bright lights, no feeding after midnight, and DON’T get them wet – that’s just asking for trouble, that is).
As Seen In: The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
From: Ohio, where he has the most bizarre workshop in the history of tailoring.
Profile: Real name Jame Gumb (Ted Levine), a serial killer who kidnaps women so he can make his his own “woman suit” with their skin.
The Story: Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) helps FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). After noshing the faces off a few prisons guards, naturally.
The Dark Side: Gumb traps Starling in his cellar, stalking her in his night vision goggles.
Some Light On The Subject: The dark becomes a deadly weapon. It’s masterful stuff, using the viewer’s primal fear of darkness to create scares.
As Seen In: Pitch Black (2000)
From: A planet in the M-344/G System. Science speak for “somewhere in deep space”.
Profile: Species of aliens that live in the darkness. Look like a much daintier hammerhead shark. Dangerous, but no match for intergalactic criminal Riddick (Vin Diesel).
The Story: Riddick and a ship of space travelers crash land on the planet, just as it’s about to enter a moth-long eclipse. Typical.
The Dark Side: Another one that can’t stand the sunlight. Strange that they should live on a planet that only gets dark every 22 years.
Some Light On The Subject: This does for the dark what Jaws did for the ocean.
Anne and Nicholas Stewart
As Seen In: The Others (2001)
From: A dusty old house on Jersey, where they live with their uptight mother Grace (Nicole Kidman).
Profile: Deathly pale and mollycoddled.
The Story: After new servants arrives at the house, strange events lead the family to believe the house may be haunted. Probably never occurred to them that they’re the ghosts.
The Dark Side: They suffer from a rare photosensitive condition – forcing their neurotic mother to obsessively close the curtains. It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep mysteriously opening on their own. Spooky.
Some Light On The Subject: The kids’ condition is a smart twist on an old horror trope, making the darkness a key plot device.
As Seen In: Batman Begins (2005)
From: Gotham City. Which is about as dark-sounding as a city gets.
Profile: Orphaned billionaire who dresses up like a bat.
The Story: After witnessing his parents’ murder, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) reinvents himself as the Dark Knight, turning feat back on the criminals.
The Dark Side: Spends most of his time creeping around in the shadows on tip-toes so he can jump out on the baddies.
Some Light On The Subject: Though not an actual horror character, Batman is intrinsically tied to the night, fear, and darkness – fusing super-heroics with gothic elements. Check out his first mission in the Bat-suit, lunging out of the shadows vampire-like to snare his prey.
As Seen In: Lights Out (2016)
From: An old mental institute, where she was killed in a freak accident while doctors attempted to treat her light-sensitive skin condition.
Profile: Returning from the dead, she’s become a crazed psychotic obsessed with keeping former institute pal Sophie (Maria Bello) all to herself.
The Story: Diana stalks or kills anyone who stands in the way of her friendship with Sophie. Bad news for her kids Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman).
The Dark Side: Like all great monsters, Diana can only exist in the dark. So keep those lights very much on.
Some Light On The Subject: Perhaps the most ingenious take on cinema’s of the dark yet. The darkness becomes the monster.
“Lights Out” SYNOPSIS:
“When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.”
Teresa Palmer (“Triple 9,” “Warm Bodies”) stars as Rebecca; Gabriel Bateman (“Annabelle”) as Martin; Billy Burke (the “Twilight” franchise) as Martin’s father, Paul; Alexander DiPersia (“Forever”) as Rebecca’s boyfriend, Bret; and Maria Bello (“Prisoners”) as Sophie. Annabelle 2’s David F. Sandberg helms the script of “Final Destination 5” screenwriter Eric Heisserer.
BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS
• Deleted scenes
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS
On December 12, “Lights Out” will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including; Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Sky Store, Sony Playstation, Wuaki.tv and Talk Talk.
Street Date: December 12, 2016
DVD Languages: English
DVD Subtitles: English SDH
BD Subtitles: English
Running Time: 81 minutes
Rating: Rated 15 for strong supernatural threat, bloody images