EVIL Comes in Pairs. “The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One” reviewed! (Well Go USA / Blu-ray)

“The Witch:  Part 2 – The Other One” – A Whole New Blu-ray Tale of Intensity.

A top-secret lab, known as the Ark 1 of Jeju Island where The Witch project is being conducted, is raided by ruthless mercenaries armed to the teeth with weapons and an enhanced superpowers resulting from The Witch project.  Eradicating every living person in the tundra camouflaged facility, one teenage girl emerges bloody from the carnage and wanders off into a neighboring snow-covered forest.  She’s rescued by Kyung-hee and her brother Dae-gil who inherited the land from their recently killed father.  The siblings are in a contentious situation of their own with a gangster uncle, Yong-du, who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the property, especially when he took care of the previous landowner.  With her Witch powers, the girl helps her kind rescuers to fend off a Yong-du shakedown, but the problems only begin there as the Ark 1 mercenaries are tracking down the girl’s whereabouts to finish what they started and a tactical team, enhanced with Witch powers too, has also been dispatched to eliminate the girl as an unpredictable global threat.  When all forces collide, the Earth will shake in a bloodbath of superpowers. 

A direct, but not an entirely direct sequel to the 2018 high-action Korean thriller “The Witch:  Part I – The Subversion,” writer-director Park Hoon-jung (screenwriter of “I Saw the Devil”) returns with a follows up the long awaited sequel “The Witch:  Part 2 – The Other One” that promises to be just as excitingly unrestrained with more players in the superpower game culminating to an explosive head that plays out like a hard-hitting Guy Richie storyline of intersecting plot threads except without wisecracking Englishmen.  The sequel follows another, and a handful of others in sperate, funneling threads, like the first installment’s principal character Koo Ja-yoon with insurmountable supernatural abilities except now everyone and their brother can “Twilight”-jump and Wolverine-heal, making the field even-steven to a known extent up until the grand finale.  Park returns as producer as well as newcomer Hyun-woo Kim, producer of “I Saw the Devil” and “Snowpiercer,” with Next Entertainment World and Goldmoon Films serving as production companies.

The sequel does not specifically revolve around first film femme fatale Koo Ja-yoon and turns the focus on a new prodigal Witch who has been cooped up in a lab since birth, hence why the film is not a full-fledged direct sequel as the storyline goes into an offshoot that later intersects. The face of the new witch is played by Shin Si-ah who makes her feature film debut.  When not covered in blood, Shin’s mostly reserved performance opens to light-hearted and childlike wonder as her character is experiences everything for the first time outside the Ark 1 lab.  Kyung-hee (Park Eun-bin, “Death Bell 2:  Bloody Camp”) and Dae-gill (Sung Yoo-bin, “Manhole”) take in the girl and become the warm absorption resemblance of family life or a life with romantic interests that can quickly be ripped away at any moment, sending the emotionally teetering girl into battle mode.  However, that sensation of relationships and tenderness hardly translates well on screen.  Perhaps losing some impact in literal translation, the trio’s dynamic retains a goalless fruition of connecting with other people, especially the superhuman powerless ones.  I found more complexities in the two factions seeking the same target – the girl.  Enigmatically opening with the mercenary raid on the secret Ark 1 lab and executing all in their path, we’re not immediately introduced to, and then barely given an introduction at all, is “The Cursed Lesson’s” Chae Won-bin’s mercenary boss lady and her squad of lesser-though of subordinates who all carry this overly murderous confidence with the latter being often measured inside their own group.  The other group is quite the opposite with the official tactical response team deployed by the Witch project head Dr. Baek (Jo Min-soo), a returning character from “The Subversion.”  Compiled as chief agent Jo-hyeon (Seo Eun-soo) and her second-in-command, a South African named Tom (Justin John Harvey). Seo and Harvey have a better act as the exchange is degrading and goofy in a comical manner with Jo as a workaholic lone wolf leader of an elite group of special ops while Tom brown noses his commander with new tech and offers helpful suggestions to which his commander either breaks or doesn’t use the new tech and views him as more of a warmhearted nuisance. Jin Goo completes the principal cast as a high-level gangster boss that would be big time in reality but in “The Witch’s” universe equates to an insignificant goon in a fancy coat. With an entourage of loyal henchmen, Jin Goo rubs elbows with his business smarts to get in bed with a clandestine organization as well as staying alive as long as he can in order to rob property right from under his niece and nephews’ nose. Goo plays the part with sly astonishment as he creates a pompous persona mildly shocked by awesome abilities of a young girl with the strength of 100 men.

What garnered much fascination with the 2018 film was the Korean dark, neo-noir tone intermixed with the uncanny abilities of a mystery person who can’t remember jack about their past. Park Hoon-jung essentially removes the simplified spine of “Part 1” and transplants it as the basis of “Part 2” with the similar added angles of a destroyed lab that supposedly no one survives but one person ultimately does and a pair of benevolent landowners who rescue, nurse, and essentially adopt the amnesiac girl back to 100% percent. “Part 2′” mirrored storyline is then targeted by at least three different angles represented by each bird-dogging group to add elements of change that include a contrast of comedy and austere posturing, the former being refreshingly novel to the two-film series that promises more to come after an open-ended finale. Returning to the sequel is the insane visual effects of “Twilight”-esque rapid movements and epic fight sequences with large explosions, a cold and bloody violent complexion, and high body count and while that’s all good and dandy for surface level popcorn effects, what’s agonizing is the how sped up they are as if every super occurrent was purposely depressed on fast forward by the power of three. If Park and his creative visual supervisors and gurus could have tempered down every other two moments with instead of having thrown cars, and among other things, seemingly skip multiple frames would have had more of a plausibility impact. The mélange complexity of multiple pursuers armed to the teeth and converging onto an unexpected teenage girl shacked up in a humble abode is a great classical spell of barnstorming besiegement that has the same improbability odds of survival as before betting on David versus Goliath until upended unto the aggressors, with all their guns and knives, who now need a prayer and much more against the prodigal youth with a considerably more amount of Witch power.

A fierce force of controlled power, and unforeseen surprises, the long-anticipated sequel, “The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One,” has finally landed post-pandemic. Well Go USA Entertainment, who released the first installment on Blu-ray, has picked up the rights to release the sequel on the high-definition format, presented in a sleek and sharp 16:9 aspect ratio. Virtually no issues with the digital presentation, the Blu-ray’s 1080p heightens every aspect of detail, even to a fault with the wonky visual effects as mentioned earlier. The overall darker lit tone and range can sometimes give off the appearance of softer details but with solid contrasting, the outlining shapes up more so than often and there’s no compression distortion to render an ill-defined texture. The Korean-English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, also available is a Dolby Digital 7.1 Atmos and a Stereo 2.0, delivers a formidable, comprehensible, and frenzy-favorable mix of balanced action and dialogue. Depth perfectly pitches the focus properly while the range fuses together mostly during the fighting sequences until there’s a deep and punch-packed explosion mushrooming into a ball of crackling fire. No evident issues with dialogue and the English subtitles synch well with no flaws. Bonus content features a glossy and sped-cut behind-the-scenes featurette and the theatrical trailer. Physical features include the original Blu-ray snapper case with a cardboard slipcover featuring the same cliff-note touching cover art as the snapper case. The NTSC Blu-ray come region A hardcoded, is unrated, and has a runtime of 130 minutes. Time flies when you’re engrossed in “The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One’s” take no prisoner thriller of transcendent turbulence.

“The Witch:  Part 2 – The Other One” – A Whole New Blu-ray Tale of Intensity.

EVIL Worming Its Way into Your Body! “They Crawl Beneath” reviewed! (Well Go USA / Blu-ray)

“They Crawl Beneath” on Blu-ray Home Video from Well Go USA!

After a near-death experience, Danny finds himself living on his profligate uncle’s couch when his family-desiring girlfriend fears his occupation will emotionally destroy them if he dies in the line of fire. The turbulent relationship reaches a stalemate, frustrating Danny further into confiding into his imprudent uncle as they work to rehab an old car. When an earthquake takes his uncle’s life, pins his leg underneath the car, and traps him in a closed garage isolated from much of civilization, Danny has limited options for rescue and to make matters worse, the ground opening up has released an undiscovered wormlike creature from the fissures. The severely injured officer now must fight for survival against an enemy unlike any other and face the terrible truth that could possibly change his life forever…if he lives through the night.

“They Crawl Beneath” is subterranean-to-surface horror with large wormlike aggressors hungry for fleshy food. The 2022 creature feature is the screenplay brainchild of writer Tricia Aurand who pens her way through a career of shorts to features with her second full length screenplay, originally entitled “It Crawls Beneath,” developed with the crux of the story surrounding the struggling emotional arc of a couple’s embattled relationship growth while being besieged by the belowground bloodsuckers in a tussle of grit and determination that dually transposes a never give up, never say it’s over theme. “Area 407” and “Reed’s Point” director Dale Fabrigar helms the film in what’s the second collaborator effort between Tricia Aurand and the director that falls upon the complete opposite on the genre spectrum behind the feel-good holiday movie “Middleton Christmas,” cowritten and produced by Suzanne DeLaurentiis and, before your wheels start spinning, there’s no mention of her relation to famous television cook Giada De Laurentiis or Giada’s Italian film-centric father, Dino De Laurentiis. Like an effort to purge cathartically the holiday spirit, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, who wrorte-and-directed 1996’s “Mutant Man,” produces the film with Fabrigar and Aurant spearheading the project under her banner, Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions,” and presented theatrically by Kevin and Noel Goetz of BBMG Entertainment and “Monstrous’s” Film Mode Entertainment.

“They Crawl Beneath” is essentially a one-man show, puncturing much of the same vein as “Stalled,” “Buried,” or “The Shallows” where a single protagonist much problem-solve to work out from a difficult and deadly situation. Now, “They Crawl Beneath” slightly differs from the examples aforementioned that provides a bit of setup with cop-on-leave Danny (Joseph Almani) down in the dumps and hanging with Uncle Bill (Michael Paré, “Village of the Damned”) as a direct result of having a fallen out with girlfriend Gwen (Karlee Elridge) over a near death experience in a shootout with a perp. Almani gives a wrought performance that’s raps a handful of times on the door of embarrassing ignominy with overzealous one-liners that squander the fervid weight the story works very tirelessly to setup for Danny and his pitfall of troubles. Yet, Danny also can’t grasp the heaviness of Gwen’s decision to leave him as if what matters to her is no matter at all and that’s where the script disproportionally downplays Danny’s pride by having him recoil into the arms of a cool uncle. Michael Paré is the better half of that relationship despite his uncle Bill’s stag behavior. Paré has one of those classic, Golden-Age-type, voices to the likes of Robert Mitchum and though that doesn’t necessary speak to the Gen-X youth as cool, there’s still a panache quality about the 40-year vet actor that makes him feel bigger than the film itself. Elridge’s Gwen undercuts much into Almani’s man versus underground grub with an attitude in scenes that are terribly forced. Elridge, who doesn’t fail on her own accord, falls into an uninspiring role with unimportant lines and scenes just so there can be a prominent love interest for Danny. Gar-Ye Lee, Christopher M. Dukes, Brian DeRozan, and Elena Sahagun co-star.

I’ve read a few threads and comments around the worldwide web comparing Fabrigar’s “They Crawl Beneath” to the creature feature-classic Kevin Bacon-starring film “Tremors.”  Those comments and comparisons are grossly ill-conceived.  Aside from the physical release cover art which displays a well-armed individual standing cool on cracked pavement in the desert while the foreground large fissure in the road exposes a menacing burrowing organism does echo Graboid parallelism, but that’s the extent of it. There’s no “Mad Max” man with a rifle and a handgun in this flick. There’s an outskirt L.A. desert, but much creepy-crawler action takes place in a four-walled and dark garage. And the only similarities between these creatures and the Graboids are the Graboid’s snake-like tongues. The pint-sized creatures with tri-mandible, razor sharp teethed, mouths appear similar but individuated and brandish a stinger to be lethal at both ends of its larva bulbous body. The puppetry is obvious but also fantastic in the same breath. I couldn’t see Fabrigar and the creature effects supervisor pulling off the task any other way that doesn’t grade A visual effects, such as the cast in James Gunn’s “Slither.” “They Crawl Beneath” enters more of a survival horror and less of a creature feature with the principal lead finding himself trapped inside a garage and pinned underneath a car. Typical of many low-cost and independent productions that take refuge in one single, inexpensive location, the setup, the lion’s share act two, and the escape pays off big time in deflection stagnation by keeping Danny occupied with options though more than likely the creatures would have bit off his face during numerous moments of vulnerability. Pacing like this is troubled throughout. As I mentioned, Karlee Elridge’s scenes often created a distraction from the story’s essence and her scenes were intrusively pointless. As Danny finally connects with Gwen on the phone and she proclaims she will get ahold of Officer Holden to send help, there’s a scene following of her driving and calling officer Holden and explaining the situation. The scene bears inane purpose and is repetitive and there are a handful of scenes like this to thicken out the role of Elridge.

Practical effects driven “They Crawl Beneath” is middle of the road magnitude survival creature feather that has squirmed its way onto a Blu-ray home video from Well Go USA Entertainment. The unrated region A Blu-ray is presented in 1080, 1.78:1 aspect ratio with an impressive contrast with enriched negative space that demarcates the well-shot positive space. Picture quality doesn’t seem to suffer compressed on the BD25 as there is no banding in the blacks and there are plenty of darker scenes contained in the garage. Skin, human and Platyhelminth, appear textured aplenty and while typical arid landscapes can whitewash character details due to lack of diverse color and adjacent objects, that’s not the case here as the focus in exterior scenes is tight on the characters and less about what’s in the background. The English language DTS-HD master audio channels cleaning through the output with phonic clarity. Acoustically, the garage sequences can sound slightly isolating which works for the confined space meant to have no sound dampeners to start. Creature screeches are generic but effective and sync aptly to the action without degradation. Option English SDH subtitles are available. The Well Go USA Entertainment release is feature film only with no bonus material accompanying the 88-minute runtime. “The Crawl Beneath” returns to the midnight showings of the USA Network days where the schlock hits the fan with genre features playing at ungodly hours, but the Dale Fabrigar quaking-quagmire is quick to enclose one man trapped in a room full of man-eating slugs and, sometimes, that’s all we want in a film.

“They Crawl Beneath” on Blu-ray Home Video from Well Go USA!

At 42,000 Feet, EVIL Can Hear You Scream! “Row 19” reviewed! (Well Go USA / Blu-ray)



Don’t Miss Your Connection For “Row 19” on Bluray!  

Young Katerina survives a deadly commercial plane crash that killed her mother.  As the only survivor to miraculously to alive, she becomes the center of the public and media attention over the next 20 years.  Now as a grown woman with a young daughter of her own, around the same age of her deadly tragedy, Katerina is about to embark on a plane for the first time to visit her mother and though past feelings leave her tense and scared, her daughter and her being a psychologists help soothe her fears…to an extent.  The late-night flight during a snowstorm leaves half the cabin empty with only a few passengers and the flight dwindles the numbers even more when passengers begin to die off in mysterious random misfortunes.  Lines blur between reality and the past for Katerina who’s about the relive the worst day of her life. 

I consciously realize that all things Russian is likely on everyone’s blacklist at the moment with the unfounded war Ukraine, but anything not created by the authoritarian Russian governing body could be, more-or-less, independently controlled by the people of Russia who are, again more-or-less, against the bloody and unnecessary Putin-fueled conflict outside their country.  So, when I sit and analyze Russian native Alexander Babaev’s latest film, a mile-high horror known as “Row 19,” I’m objectively looking at the artist and his craft rather than the possibility of a stalwart countryman just doing his propaganda duty for the motherland.  In fact, there’s none of that latter statement present in Babaev’s paranormal 2021 thriller that touches upon regret and facing fears, penned in the debut feature film screenplay by James Rabb. “Row 19,” or “Ryad 19” and, in South America, “Passenger 666” is the high-flying, dark mystery of the air film from multiple production studios in KIT Film Studio (“Mermaid: Lake of the Dead”), Central Partnership, Monumental Film, and Red Media.

“Row 19” sets the stage with a handsome cast of ensemble characters boarding a sole frostbitten and nearly vacant plane bound for a destination that audiences know all too well will be a landing zone that is anywhere else, but the destination printed on their purchased tickets. A variety of character flavors is always a classic touch when elucidating an unexplained threaten situation. At the yoke is Svetlana Ivanova (“The Blackout”) playing the adult version of the Katerina who bested death being the only survivor of a deadly plane crash 20 years ago. Scarred not only on her leg but also in her head, Katerina vouchsafes herself into getting back on than massive flying steel horse with an internalized pep talk by way of her psychologist vocation who she also helps people with their own internalized issues. However, Katerina is not a very good psychologist when the cabin goes into a tailspin of unexplained death and disappearances. The impression from the film is that the script, at one point or another, had Katerina as a medical physician as she’s often called upon and looked toward by the other passengers to know what to do when a passenger faints or another passenger is burnt to a crisp. She also doesn’t help the matter when she claims to be a doctor (and neglect to mention she’s a mind doctor. I believe that warrants a case for malpractice.). In the adjacent row is the hunky former combat news reporter Alexey (Wolfgang Cerny, “The Red Ghost”) who makes small talk with Katerina and her daughter Diana (Marta Timofeeva) and yet, the suspected sexual tension between them became never present and never materialized. Instead, Katerina and Alexey go back and forth on their mental blocks that causes drug use and shaky hand syndrome, a welcoming change to a rather routine love interest path that’s been overtrodden in other films in similar plots. However, there’s never a full understanding of Katerina’s role in this topsy-turvy spin through realities that only suggests that Katerina has a mighty will that can’t be contained even for her own good. Anatoliy Kot, Denis Yasik, Irina Egorova, Viktoriya Korlyakova, Ivan Verkhovykh, Anna Glaube, and Yola Sanko as the Witch (yes, there is a regular Baba Yaga-esque in the character list!) round out of the cast.

The sky is the limit with airplane horror as the concept of inescapable terror above the clouds can be the most frightening experience for not only acrophobia or claustrophobic individuals, but for average joe passenger looking to earn extra flyer miles on their fear membership cards.  We’ve seen zombies on a plane (traditional and Nazism), we’ve seen gremlins on a plane, and, hell, we’ve seen snakes on a plane.  Now, Babaev introduces the spell-casting witch confined to the rows of the tightly packed, small, and uncomfortable airplane seats and served the Salisbury steak with a side of rancid bag peanuts.  I can see why a witch would be pissed off as well.  However, there’s more than what meets the eye in Babaev’s witch that isn’t just on an obvious killing spree because her inflight cocktail was a little watered down or because of something a little more worthy of a massacre.  “Row 19” aims for misdirection in trying to get the audiences thinking one way by using sleight of hand but really a behind-the-scenes motive is kept in the dark for most of the runtime.  Babaev keeps the momentum fairly charged by setting up individual character personalities with just enough of a touch of odd behavior to make the atmosphere feel foreboding and keep interest in the next key scenes of story progression and at the climatic reveal is where the director’s momentum takes a nosedive, losing the altitude and the cabin pressure of smooth flight with a bow-wrapped-gift exposition that takes all the air of the suspension. 

Fasten your seat belts. Secure all lose items. Lift your tray table and lock it in the upright position. “Row 19” is about to take off and take flight on a Blu-ray home video release from Well Go USA Entertainment. The not rated, region A Blu-ray is presented in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio with a decompression of around 20-26 Mbps, rendering picture quality of this AVC encoded release better than expected from Well Go USA. Image is sharp, well-delineated, and abundant with the right amount of color, appropriately denoting flashbacks with a filtered color reduction with only the slightest of change by director of photography Nikolay Smirnov. The Russian language 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track is crisp and clear. A solid track, well-established, full-bodied fidelity track that hits all the right channels with the right balance. There is an option English dub as well as available English subtitles on the Russian track. The subtitles synch well, though fast, and are transcribe with no errors detected. The 79-minute feature comes with a static menu, scene selection, and zero bonus features, which is typically the case with these U.S. distributed Russian releases. “Row 19” is visualized phobic fear, a self-flagellation of trying to change the past with what ifs, and director Alexander Babaev instills a shadowy creepiness inside the cockpit of consternation, but stalls at the height of the film’s storytelling success with a wrap-it-up quick and loose ending.

Don’t Miss Your Connection For “Row 19” on Bluray!  

Southern Hospitality is all EVIL Cloaks and Daggers! “The Long Night” reviewed! (Well Go USA / Blu-ray)

“The Long Night” now available on Blu-ray home video!

After spending years in foster care as a child, the now adult Grace tries to track down any information or background about her biological parents with the help of affluent boyfriend Jack.  The New York City couple travel into the rural, deep south on a seemingly solid lead about her folks.  As Grace and Jack drive up to their contact’s isolated and grand manor estate, their contact with the information doesn’t greet them upon their arrival and as they search the house, they find it as empty and still as the wide open land around them.  When darkness falls, cloaked members of a demon worshipping cult surround the estate, using their telekinetic and telepathy powers to infiltrate and corral Grace toward being a host for the prophesized return of 400 year slumbering and powerful demon the night of the equinox.  The couple battle the subservient minions inside and outside the manor as the night progresses into terrifying visions of Grace’s predestined lineage and the hope of surviving the night is quickly dwindling.

A longstanding demonic cult with supernatural psychotronic abilities besieging two city slickers armed with broken cell phones and a fireplace poker feels like the mismatch from Hell.  Somehow, “The Curse of El Charro” director, Rich Ragsdale, was able to stick the landing with loads of dourly, yet intensely powerful, cinematography crafted from a Mark Young (“Tooth and Nail”) and Robert Sheppe script based off the Native American mythology of the Horned Serpent, Utkena.  Keeping with the mythos’ descriptors involving snakes and horns or antlers, Ragsdale utilizes his usual bread and butter music video talents to fashion psychedelic imagery out of an extremely committed cult mercilessly stopping at nothing in resurrecting their preeminent master who will cleanse the world of corrupted humanity to start the world afresh…or so they believe.  Shot on site at a deep-rooted and isolated plantation house and property in Charleston, South Carolina, “The Long Night,” also known as “The Coven, is a production of Sprockefeller Pictures (“Fatman”) and Warm Winter in association with Adirondack Media Group, El Ride Productions, and Hillin Entertainment.

Super stoked that “The Lurker” and Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” remake star Scout Taylor-Compton is playing an age-appropriate role and not another high schooler, the actress plays the soul and parent searching Grace who has a strong desire to track down her parents, which never comes to the forefront why Grace was placed in foster care to begin with. Compton is completely competent assuming a role that requires her physicality as well as her emotional range in fear through resistance against a group of mostly unknown cast of characters that mostly keep their hoods and masks on for the entire engirdling of the manor house. Compton can also exude being a badass at times, but the script shamefully holds the character back that never allows Grace to become a true opposition to their exalting will toward their demon god. Nolan Gerard Funk (“Truth or Dare”) might ooze that trope persona of a dude-bro bred out of spoiled opulence as Grace’s boyfriend Jack. Despite his unappealing swaggering veneer, Jack reaches for depth more than any other character in the film and Funk pins it pretty well. Jack loves Grace but can’t face his Hamptons residing parents’ derision of a woman, of any woman in fact, who will never be good enough for their son and that creates some nice early on tension that fizzles out to being actually nothing of real importance to the couple. Yet, Jack continues to be the one with more common sense, receiving pre-plot point hump bad vibes since arriving at the manor and also making some of the better decisions when the bottom drops out and snake-charming demonists come calling for his main squeeze to squeeze out the resurrection of an unholy being. Funk adds bits of comedic charm throughout like someone who watched too many horror movies and tries to reenact scenes that could be beneficial to their survival in theory but hopelessly fails in a humorous way. A real waste of a raw cinematic talent is in Jeff Fahey (“Body Parts”) who plays the brother of the missing manor owner. Fahey feels very much used for solely his veteran star power, a recognizable face, just to be nearly instantaneously forgotten at the same time and by the climatic ending, you might not even remember Fahey being a part of the story. “The Long Night” rounds out with Deborah Kara Unger (“Silent Hill”) and Kevin Ragsdale (“Little Dead Rotting Hood”).

“The Long Night” is a delicate incubus uncoiling its snake-biting venom of inexorable fate. Rich Ragsdale hyper stylizes flashbacks and often mundane moments to conspicuously denote unimaginable and resistant-futile power over a pair of out of their league NYC outlanders. Speaking of which from within the script, there is a sting of contrast between North and South, as if the Civil War was still relevant, ever since the first moment Jack and Grace hit the screen with their travel plans. Jack passively continues to harp upon his dislike of South and even looks to Grace to make sense of a demon cult outside on the front and back lawn, hoping that her Southern roots can explain the provincial nonsense raising torches and speaking in tongues that’s blocking any and all exits. Even Grace, a character originating from the South, believes that the makeshift totems surrounding the property are resurrected to ward off evil. As a Southern, I never heard of such a thing. The concept for a Lazarus possession out of the depths of dimensional binding sounds like a winner in my book, but Ragsdale can’t quite smooth out the edge to effectively and properly give the cult and Grace a banging finale of supercharged hellfire that sees our heroine fight to the bitter end. Instead, the entire third act and ending feels like a sidestep because not a single better thought came to the writers’ imaginations. Cool visuals, good special effects, but a banal trail off ultimately hurts “The Long Night’s” longevity.

Well Go USA Entertainment delivers the Shudder exclusive, “The Long Night,” onto Blu-ray home video with a region A, AVC encoded, high definition 1080p release. Presented in 16X9 widescreen, some scenes look compressed or rounded suggesting an anamorphic picture, but the overall digital codec outcome is really strong elevated by the creepy folkloric and the pernicious dream atmospherics of “Escape Room’s” Pierluigi Malavasi who can masterfully casts the light as well as he shields it in a menacing silhouette. Some of the nightmares or hallucinations see more of compression flaws in the mist, smoke, or gel lighting with faint posterization. The English language 5.1 DTS-HD master audio balances a vigorous surround sound output, catching and releasing all the appropriate channels with a range of environmental ambient noise and the scuffle between violent contact, denoting a strong amplitude with depth between foreground and background. Dialogue comes out nice and clear with a vitality that’s reverberates in the ear channels whenever a momentous moment sparks an outburst of rage and dominion. Special features include a behind-the-scenes featurettes that look at the raw footage of the birthing flashback scene, the overall aesthetic tone of the film, and the resonating tribal score. Also included is a Rich Ragsdale commentary track, the theatrical trailer, and Ragsdale’s 2019 short film “The Loop,” a meta-horror surrounding a scary VHS tape and two young brothers. While “The Long Night” has flaws with unfinished plot details that will leave a lingering unsatisfied aftertaste, entrenched within the narrative is a contemporary premise revolving around dark fate and that gut feeling toward belonging to something bigger that unfortunately turns out to be murderous summonsing of a demon scratching at the door wanting to be let out in the world. An unforgettable long night of terror.

“The Long Night” now available on Blu-ray home video!

I Would Be EVIL Too If Disturbed at “6:45” reviewed! (Well Go USA / Blu-ray)

Now on Blu-ray “6:45” the Worst Time of Your Life!

Bobby and Jules seek to fix their broken relationship with a vacation to the island resort town of Bog Grove after a big fight about Bobby’s suspected infidelity.  The off-season island is strangely quiet with hardly any tourists roaming the shops and boardwalk.  The couple stay at the Cozy Nook bed and breakfast, owned and operated by an eccentric host, Gene, whose more personally invasive than he is hospitable, yet everything else feels like a dream for both Jules and Bobby reconnecting to what is lost between them until a hooded man slices Jules’s throat and snaps Bobby’s neck.  Next thing Bobby knows, he becomes awoken by a 6:45 am alarm and feeling relieved that the horrific moment was only a dream, but when the events exactly play out as they did in his dream and he dies again the same way only to wake up again at 6:45 am, he, and he alone, realizes he and Jules are trapped inside a time loop driving him to face a different, more grim reality.

Ah, yes.  The time loop genre.  An alternate dimension where reliving the same day over and over again without a new path of escape on the horizon had established a foundation of fear beginning with Bill Murray starring in the Harold Ramis directed comedy “Groundhog Day” and has more recently been a executed (pun intended!) delightfully in the Christopher Landon cycling slasher “Happy Death Day.”  Well, here we are again, as if we ourselves are stuck in a time loop, with another rinse and repeat picture titled “6:45” from the “Perkins’ 14” director, Craig Singer.  “6:45” will mark as screenwriter Robert Dean Klein and Singer’s fourth collaboration in their respective roles and their first feature together in 15 years following 2001’s “Dead Dogs Lie,”, 2003’s “A Good Night to Die,” and 2008’s “Dark Ride.”  The fictional locale of Bog Grove is actually multiple locations up and down the new Jersey Shore from Ocean Grove to the Seaside Heights, showcasing a few local hangouts and attractions of the upper Jersey shore of Ocean County.  “6:45” is coproduced between the director and the films’ stars Augie Duke and Michael Reed under the Birds Fly Dogs Bark Wind Blows productions.

Augie Duke must need a vacation because “6:45” makes the second getaway horror where one of Duke’s previous characters vacations at the Jersey Shore following the Cape May-shot psychological thriller “Exit 0” alongside sojourning costar Gabe Fazio.  While there are parallels between the two Jerseyan films, Singer’s very own holiday in Hell is set on repeat and poor Augie Duke has to continuously have her throat cut more than a handful of times as the romance-question Jules, but being a quietly discreet scream queen of indie film (“The Black Room,” “Hell’s Kitty,” and “Necropolis:  Legion”), the L.A. born Duke can handle a simple boxcutter to the juggler.  Opposite of Duke, playing a recovering alcoholic musician in Bobby, is an equal match for indie horror credits to his name with Michael Reed (“The Disco Exorcist,” “Exhumed,” and “Subferatu”).  Duke and Reed play nice as a happy couple on the rebound but as death and the date never ends, the strain between them grows with intensity every cycle as Reed has been the outlier in remembering every moment of his girlfriend’s death and the helplessness he feels in the inability to stop it no matter what route he tries. Creepy characters a peppered throughout just to make more peeving towards Reed tumble drying recollection of events from the Cozy Nook’s nosy nuisance of a host Gene (Armen Garo, “The Manor,” “Coda”), the drunk lesbian Brooklyn (Sasha K. Gordon), and the shadowy, silent man (Joshua Matthew Smith) who’s a representation of the incessant range and has one job of slicing throats and breaking necks. Remy Ma, Sabina Friedman-Seitz, The 45 King, Allie Marshall, and Windows, himself, from “The Thing” Thomas G. Waites co-star in the film.

“6:45” has a story that can easily wrap you up initially and have you invested in a couple burdened by their love-hate relationship. To lure you in more, that light-and-dark balance tilts more toward the latter in a dangerous askew manner and love morphs into a blinding obsession to where anything is possible, making that narrative of a volatile human chemistry cocktail needing to be told as straightforwardly as humanly possible. Singer works diligently on keeping Reed and Jules on that track of an askew reality revolving around the historical mysteries of a bruised romance that include infidelity, alcohol abuse, and even violence, but Singer keeps close to the chest in not unveiling the true nature of Bobby’s repetitive retreat on what should have been the best day the newfound happy couple’s lives after rekindling and taking next steps to marriage with an island proposal that’s seen as Bobby’s good faith effort in turning around his life for the better because of his love for Jules. Yet, out of nowhere, the established linear narrative takes an unexpected montage turn in style, blending the couple’s past, present, and future all in one Brady Bunch grid mixed with even more flashbacks and repeated scenes that tries to explain more of Bobby’s checkered, playboy background and hand over emotional stress of repeating everyday like a persistent and noisy street hawker trying desperately to hand you pamphlets. Yet, the repeated days stay sequential after Bobby’s next death and so Bobby and Jules die more than a dozen or so times, but the next title card follows in sequential order (but aren’t they also reliving the same day so wouldn’t be day 2 over and over again). “6:45” attempts unnecessary stylistic approaches to keep the story fresh because no one wants to see the same thing over and over again and that’s perhaps where Robert Dean Klein collapses in the second act that inevitably bled to a total meltdown of story in the third act in trying to connect the time of 6:45 am to an important event with an end result of just leaving us more bewildered about the reference. The gist of Bobby and Jules’ downfall is clear, but how Singer takes us there is a pothole-laden path with lots of senseless bumps along the way.

This off-season, Jersey shore, psychological thriller really casts a dark cloud over the sunny good times usually offered for vacationers. “6:45” is the shark roaming just offshore in that feeling of fearful uncertainty of what lurks about. Well Go Use Entertainment releases the Craig Singer film onto a region A Blu-ray home video, presented in a widescreen 16X9 aspect ratio, and is rated R for strong violence and gore, sexual content, nudity, and language throughout. Cinematographer Lucas Pitassi casts a fairly natural image, clearly sharp and texturally above par in Well Go Usa’s high-definition Blu-ray release. While much of the gels and abnormal lighting comes more into play at the tail end of the film, “6:45” offers a more than just a paradoxical effect on the mind but also on the sight of seeing what should be a joyfully hopping with out-of-town patrons and vividly bright with beach sun resort town turned into a cold and dreary Hell by the ocean. The English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 had some issues with inconsistent dialogue levels that were, at times, muffled without just cause. Perhaps, the cause was more boom placement or interference of some sort. The soundtrack by Kostas Christides has a smoother quality while creating tense atmospherics where needed and ascending into rock instrumental for those black sheep montages and flashbacks. English SDH subtitles are an available option. On the variable-trailer-esque menu, there are no bonus features nor are there any bonus scenes during or after the credits on this barebones release. The cardboard slipcover, of the repeated Blu-ray cover art, is a flat, smooth matte that nicely sheathes the snapper case. “6:45’s” thrills and chills literally emanate a no time to die mantra disillusioned by guilt and death and the only slither of hope out of purgatory is to come clean, but if it was only that simple – in life and in Craig Singer’s film.

Now on Blu-ray “6:45” the Worst Time of Your Life!