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E1 ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
William Malone
Cast:
Dylan Purcell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Jeffrey Combs, Cherilyn Wilson, Timothy Bottoms, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Brennan Bailey, Dov Tiefenbach
Writing Credits:
William Malone

Synopsis:
Since childhood, Laura has suffered from a bizarre medical condition that forces her to spend most of her life in a dream state. Confined to a hospital bed, she attracts Danny, an art student, who learns a terrifying mass murderer is stalking her.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 103 minutes
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 7/13/2010

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director William Malone
• "Making Of" Featurette
• Interviews with Cast and Crew
• Three Deleted Scenes
• Trailer
• Stills Library
• Music Video
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Parasomnia (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 23, 2010)

Though director William Malone scored a modest hit with House on Haunted Hill back in 1999, his 2002 follow-up Feardotcom pretty much tanked, and his next flick Ė 2008ís Parasomnia - didnít even get a theatrical release in the US! That doesnít necessarily make the film unworthy of your attention, though it doesnít bode well. Nonetheless, I figured Iíd give this DVD of Parasomnia a look.

Danny Sloan (Dylan Purcell) hits a rough streak after his girlfriend dumps him and thieves loot his apartment. When he visits his pal Billy (Dov Tiefenbach) in rehab, he wanders into the hospitalís psych ward and spies lovely young Laura Baxter (Cherilyn Wilson). Laura has been institutionalized due to a disorder that keeps her asleep most of the time; she occasionally awakens, but not often and not for long.

Danny feels smitten by the pretty Laura, so he starts to visit her. He also sees a psycho hospitalized prisoner named Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick), a serial killer who Billy claims would hypnotize victims and cause them to off themselves and others.

When Danny hears doctors indicate that theyíll take Laura away for experiments, he decides to "rescue" her. He kidnaps her and takes her back to his apartment, where he gets to know her during her occasional lucid moments.

In the meantime, we learn that Volpe maintained some strange mental connection to Laura, so her departure displeases the nutbag. This leads to much unpleasantness as he uses his mind control powers on Laura.

As I mentioned at the start, the fact that a flick goes direct-to-video doesnít automatically make it a dud. Some movies just slip through the cracks and donít get the distribution they need; their lack of theatrical exhibition doesnít mean they arenít worthy efforts.

Parasomnia doesnít fall into the "buried gold" category. Itís more like a buried turd, as I can see exactly why the film went straight to video: itís awful. Not mediocre, not disappointing, not even garden variety bad Ė itís Awful with a Capital "A".

Essentially something like a Hitchcock take on Nightmare on Elm Street, Parasomnia falters in many domains. Acting? Mediocre to incompetent, headlined by Wilsonís Nell-style take on Laura. She goes over the top with the wide-eyed naif routine and makes scenes funnier than they should be.

Not that the rest of the cast helps. Kilpatrick essentially just plays a minor variation on Hannibal Lecter, while Purcellís Danny offers little more than a whiny wimp Ė and a creepy character, to boot. Danny feels more like a stalker than an actual hero; heís a loser who gets his own personal real-life love doll in Laura and doesnít want to let his plaything go.

Silliness abounds in this moronic tale. Are we really supposed to believe that a psychiatric hospital keeps an inhabitant hooded and strapped like a torture victim at Abu Ghraib? I guess thatís within the realm of believability when you find a flick whose villain makes with the crazy hypnotic goo-goo eyes to get what he wants.

Perhaps someone could make a decent movie with a "literal sleeping beauty" character at its heart, but Parasomnia is far from good. It occasionally musters a certain level of tolerable mediocrity, but most of it just seems derivative and stupid.


The DVD Grades: Picture C-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Parasomnia appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not bad, the transfer remained mediocre at best.

Sharpness was up and down, as the movie exhibited inconsistent levels of clarity. Overall, close-ups boasted good definition but wider shots suffered from mild to moderate softness. Some light edge enhancement didnít help, and artifacts made the image a bit messy at times. Jagged edges and shimmering were minor issues, but sporadic specks and marks materialized; these werenít excessive, but they seemed heavier than expected for a recent flick.

Colors werenít much of a concern in this fairly monochromatic affair. Given the nature of the story, I didnít expect dynamic hues, and the film tended toward a subdued bluish look much of the time. What colors we found seemed decent but unexceptional. Blacks tended to appear somewhat loose and inky, though, and shadows were often too dark. That was an issue given the fact that so much of the film took place in low-light interiors. All in all, there was enough positive material on display for a "C-", but it wasnít an inspiring presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Parasomnia seemed more satisfactory. Like many horror movies, it often went with creepy atmosphere. A few action/scare/dream sequences brought the track to life in a more active manner, and those added punch to the package, especially during the third act. The audio used the speakers in a natural manner that created a good soundscape.

Audio quality was positive. Music showed nice range and clarity, while effects offered good accuracy and punch. The smattering of loud scenes showed solid definition, and they lacked distortion. Speech was also concise and natural. Nothing here dazzled, but it achieved its goals.

In terms of extras, we open with an audio commentary from director William Malone. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the filmís roots and development, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, effects and visual design, the opening title sequence, music, and other filmmaking elements.

Malone directed a pretty crummy movie, but he provides an engaging commentary. He digs into various aspects of the filmmaking process with gusto and covers a good range of subjects. Malone drags on occasionally but he usually gives us a pretty good chat.

A Making Of featurette fills 14 minutes, three seconds with notes from Malone and actors Dylan Purcell, Cherilyn Wilson, Sean Young, Patrick Kilpatrick, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Jeffrey Combs. We get general soundbites from the set, but the show emphasizes film clips and a few behind the scenes shots. The latter can be interesting, but the show feels too generic to be very informative.

More content shows up via Interviews with Cast and Crew. These fill a total of 52 minutes, nine seconds and include info from Malone, Purcell, Wilson, Combs, Kilpatrick, actor Timothy Bottoms, composer Nicholas Pike and visual effects supervisor Gene Warren III. They get into the filmís origins and inspirations, cast, characters and performances, cinematography, editing and the opening sequences, score, effects, and a few other movie topics.

Much of the info that appears here also pops up in the commentary, especially through the interviews with Malone and the actors. Pike and Warren provide some of the freshest material, though the others have some good moments as well. Bottoms spends much more time with reflections about his career than with Parasomnia. This is generally a good collection, but it can be a little redundant at times.

Three Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 12 minutes, 14 seconds. We find "Original Black and White Opening" (5:34), "Billy is Suspicious" (4:33) and "Danny Talks to Nurse" (2:03). The first two extended existing sequences in uninteresting ways, while "Nurse" adds a smidgen of exposition. All are superfluous.

Next comes a Stills Library with 19 images from the set. A few interesting details emerge, but nothing great. We also find a Music Video from the Plagues. This is an old garage single mentioned in the flick; the video just sets it to scenes from the movie. Itís a decent little tune but a boring video.

A few ads launch the disc. We get promos for Four Boxes, Blood on the Highway and Donít Look Up. The DVD also provides the trailer for Parasomnia.

With an unusual "sleeping beauty" character at its core, Parasomnia had the potential to provide an intriguing tale. Unfortunately, it just riffs on other horror movies and suffers from too many basic flaws to become anything enjoyable. The DVD gives us mediocre to unsatisfying visuals along with fairly good audio and a pretty nice set of supplements. I canít find much to enjoy in this forgettable flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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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