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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Matt Eskandari
Cast:
Chad Michael Murray, Bruce Willis, Shea Buckner
Writing Credits:
Doug Wolfe

Synopsis:
A disgraced doctor and his family are held hostage at their home by criminals on the run, when a robbery-gone-awry requires them to seek immediate medical attention.

MPAA:
Rated R. 4.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 7/21/2020

Bonus:
• “Making of Survive the Night” Featurette
• Director/Cast Interviews
• Trailer & Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Survive the Night [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 22, 2020)

Under-discussed issue of 2020: how will COVID-19 impact Bruce Willis’s ability to appear in his usual 274 direct-to-video movies this year? That remains to be seen, but at least Survive the Night restores the actor to his place on the small screen for now.

When Jamie (Shea Buckner) and Matthias (Tyler Jon Olson) attempt a robbery, it goes awry. This leaves Matthias badly hurt and in need of medical care.

Given the nature of these events, they can’t simply check into an ER. Instead, Jamie follows a physician named Rich (Chad Michael Murray) on his way home from a clinic.

Eventually Jamie holds Rich’s family hostage as a means to force the doctor to heal Matthias. Along with his retired cop father Frank (Willis), Rich and clan try to… survive the night!

Boy, that really makes the movie’s title sound ham-fisted, doesn’t it? No one goes into straight-to-video thrillers like this with the expectation of subtlety, so this telegraphed aspect of the project comes as no surprise.

Nor does the stiff, cliché nature of Night itself. It comes with a semi-trite premise and finds nothing new to do with its themes.

I guess Night attempts to spice up matters with Rich’s backstory, as we learn quickly that he, wife Jan (Lydia Hull) and daughter Riley (Riley Wolfe Rach) needed to move in with Rich’s parents. Rich ran into malpractice trouble at his last job so this becomes his only chance to redeem himself.

This all feels contrived and phony, as Rich’s disgrace acts as nothing more than a cheap way to churn some melodrama. The basic tension involved with the plot seems like it should suffice without the artificial plot points related to Rich’s family and professional status.

Some of those components exist to create a rift between Rich and Frank as well as Rich and Jan, but again, these segments don’t feel necessary. We encounter a story about a family held hostage by two killers – why embellish that?

I would assume the filmmakers simply lacked confidence in their abilities. Perhaps they felt the story’s natural drama needed goosing because they feared they couldn’t exploit the basic tale as well as they should.

And they might’ve been right about that, as Night provides precious little drama or tension. It comes with trite, predictable characters who go through trite, predictable situations.

A skilled filmmaker might still churn this into a dynamic presentation, but director Matt Eskandari fails to locate a beating pulse here. The thriller elements lack impact, and the character moments never become more than tedious.

It doesn’t help that Night attempts an odd sense of compassion toward Matthias and Jamie. Though we see at least one of them as a remorseless, brutal murderer, the film treats their interactions almost as though the audience should view them as protagonists!

This becomes a bizarre choice, but the filmmakers flail so much that it doesn’t surprise me. More interested in tired melodrama than anything else, Night never connects.


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

Survive the Night appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a decent but erratic presentation.

Sharpness turned into one of the inconsistent elements, as some aspects of the movie looked oddly soft. While most of the movie seemed fairly well-defined, these less precise moments created minor distractions.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. The film showed no print flaws and it came with a layer of grain, a factor that surprised me since this was a digital production. I guess the filmmakers added “grain” to give it more of a film-like appearance.

Colors opted for either heavy blue/teal or sepia/amber. These choices felt tedious and could look a little dense, though the image usually pulled them off in a satisfactory manner.

Blacks were a bit crushed, and shadows could seem somewhat heavy at times, though neither issue became a true distraction. Ultimately, the picture fell into the “not bad” category but that was about it.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked a bit better than the visuals, though it never quite excelled. Audio quality became a minor weak link, especially in terms of dialogue, as speech could seem somewhat thick at times.

Still, the lines always remained intelligible, even if they lacked truly natural qualities. Music showed nice range and impact, and effects followed suit, so they seemed fairly accurate and concise.

Given the nature of the story, we didn’t get an especially lively soundscape, though it became more active at times. Some thunder rolled through in a reasonably convincing manner, and gunfire added impact.

Most of the track felt more atmospheric, though, and didn’t create an especially broad soundfield. In the end, this was a competent soundtrack and nothing more.

A few extras appear here, and The Making of Survive the Night goes for 10 minutes. It brings notes from director Matt Eskandari and actors Chad Michael Murray, Lydia Hull, Jessica Abrams, Shea Buckner and Tyler Jon Olson.

“Making” looks at story/characters as well as cast and performances. Expect a banal promo piece.

We also get Cast and Director Interviews. These offer segments with Eskandari (8:41), Murray (5:52), Abrams (4:09), Hull (3:32), Buckner (6:20) and Olson (3:45).

Because these “Interviews” come from the sessions used for “Making of”, this package renders that featurette moot. In other words, don’t bother with “Making of” if you intend to view the “Interviews”.

That said, one shouldn’t expect much compelling info from the “Interviews” either. The comments remain fairly bland and lean toward praise for all involved. This becomes a lackluster collection of notes from director and cast.

The disc opens with ads for Intrigo: Death of an Author, Trauma Center, Hard Night Falling and The Courier. We also get a trailer for Survive.

Even at a brief 89 minutes, Survive the Night feels too long, as it can’t sustain its simple premise. Trite and predictable, the film does nothing fresh with its genre. The Blu-ray brings acceptable picture and audio along with a few bonus materials. Night delivers a wholly forgettable thriller.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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