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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Micah Gallo
Cast:
Bruce Davison, Elizabeth Roberts, Denise Crosby
Writing Credits:
Micah Gallo, Bryan Dick, Jason Alvino

Synopsis:
A family moves into a secluded mansion where they soon find themselves being targeted by an entity taking the form of a giant spider.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 10/1/2019

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Micah Gallo
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Micah Gallo and Writers Bryan Dick and Jason Alvino
• “Beginnings” Featurette
• “The Journey” Featurette
• “Denise On Set” Featurette
• Kickstarter Mini-Featurettes
• Andy Dick Screen Test
• Storyboard Gallery
• Trailers


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RELATED REVIEWS


Itsy Bitsy [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 25, 2019)

A new take on the monster genre, 2019’s Itsy Bitsy borrows its title from the well-known children’s rhyme. Single mother Kara Spencer (Elizabeth Roberts) lives in New York with her kids, 13-year-old Jesse (Arman Darbo) and 8-year-old Cambria (Chloe Perrin).

Kara and her offspring move to the quiet countryside so she can take a job as private nurse to ailing elderly Walter Clark (Bruce Davison). This seems like a downgrade for the kids, and Jesse resents his need to care after his younger sister.

When he explores their new residence, Jesse finds an ancient artifact that Walter received under suspicious circumstances. Before long, this relic unleashes a terrifying secret that threatens the family.

Does it count as a spoiler to reveal that the horror revolves around a killer spider? Maybe, but given that a) all the film’s publicity mentions an arachnid and b) Itsy Bitsy comes from “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, I don’t think this information ruins the flick for anyone.

Is it also a spoiler to reveal that the model on the Blu-ray’s cover never appears in the film? This feels like false advertising, as the image promises nubile college-aged victims, not little kids, elderly men and single moms.

That said, I understand these choices, as Bitsy needs all the help it can get. A toothless stab at horror, the movie bores more than it scares.

A visual effects-oriented veteran of low budget fare, Micah Gallo makes his feature-length directorial debut here. I wish I could refer to Bitsy as a promising effort, but Gallo shows little feel for the material and can’t deliver anything beyond the realm of trite and predictable.

And dull, too, as Bitsy brings us a relentlessly slow, bland affair – albeit one that tries desperately to make us feel otherwise. In particular, the score by Frederik Wiedmann and Garry Schyman pummels us from start to finish with music that leaves no room for introspection or interpretation.

The same goes for everything else about Bitsy, as it never allows for any sense of nuance or subtlety. Despite a story with many potential layers, it stays tissue-thin and fails to dig into any narrative themes beyond the most superficial.

Everything here comes telegraphed a mile in advance, and none of it qualifies as interesting or dramatic. We wind up with flat characters, trite situations and zero tension.

None of the actors disgrace themselves, but they can’t do much with the poorly-written material. They lack much personality and can’t add anything to the proceedings.

Though Gallo comes from an effects background, that side of Bitsy becomes a flaw as well. The title monster never seems believable and this renders any potential scares difficult to accomplish.

A horror movie with no terror or tension, Itsy Bitsy sputters. Some aspects come with the potential to succeed but the end result seems thin and forgettable.

Footnote: a tag scene appears after the end credits finish.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Itsy Bitsy appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie delivered a generally good presentation.

Sharpness largely seemed positive, as the majority of the movie offered appropriate delineation. Some of the many dimly-lit interiors could come across as a little ill-defined, but most of the film looked reasonably concise.

I saw no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. I also noted no signs of source defects.

As expected, colors remained stylized, with a definite orientation toward a mix of orange and teal. These hues appeared predictable but they served the production’s choices.

Blacks seemed fairly deep and firm, while shadows offered pretty good clarity. Again, some dark shots could seem a little dense, but these elements usually worked fine. This came across as a “B” presentation.

I felt the same about the often subdued DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, as it focused on the usual scope one associates with creepy horror films. This meant a lot of spooky ambience and not much more.

That said, the mix did kick to life at times. Some of the stabs at scares boasted good involvement around the spectrum, and music provided nice utilization of the channels.

Audio quality seemed solid. Music was lively and full, while speech appeared natural and concise.

Effects also appeared accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a generally positive soundtrack.

We get a few extras here, and we locate two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Micah Gallo, as he presents a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, music and editing, sets and locations, various effects, budgetary restrictions, influences and related domains.

From start to finish, Gallo provides an excellent commentary. Prepared and thorough, he leaves virtually no stones unturned and brings us a stellar examination of the film.

For the second commentary, we hear from Gallo and writers Bryan Dick and Jason Alvino. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters and the script’s evolution.

Though I called the track “screen-specific”, in truth the participants rarely discuss the material we see. Instead, this becomes a long chat that gets into some of the processes involved in the writing of a screenplay.

This becomes a fairly engaging track, though after the terrific Gallo solo piece, it disappoints a little. Still, it gives us some nice insights about the screenwriters’ point of view and merits a listen.

A few featurettes appear, and Beginnings runs two minutes, 53 seconds. It involves notes from Gallo and creature creator/special effects makeup Dan Rebert.

“Beginnings” examines the movie’s spider and how the movie brought it to life. Though brief, the clip offers some good info.

With The Journey, we get a two-minute, 20-second reel with Gallo. He discusses some of the production’s challenges in this fairly superficial piece.

Denise On Set fills three minutes with comments from Gallo and actor Denise Crosby. “Set” looks at Crosby’s character and performance in this mediocre segment.

Under Kickstarter Mini-Featurettes, we get five clips that span a total running time of four minutes, 17 seconds. In these, we hear from Crosby, Gallo, Rebert and actor Elizabeth Roberts.

These “Mini-Featurettes” examine cast, characters, effects and story areas. Like the disc’s other programs, these give us a few insights but seem too brief to relate much.

Andy Dick Screen Tests last three minutes, seven seconds. This is a comedic piece that offers minor amusement.

In addition to two trailers, we get a Storyboard Gallery. A running piece, it fills 30 minutes, 44 seconds and shows 365 images. It’s not a great format but I like the content.

With a killer spider as the lead villain, Itsy Bitsy seems ripe to inspire creeps at the very least. Unfortunately, it brings more yawns than yelps, as the flick feels slow and monotonous. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture and audio as well as supplements highlighted by an excellent audio commentary. Bitsy bores.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main