Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Hole / Venom (2001 - 2005)

Movie: 2.5/5
Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

"Miramax ... Why?"

Movies: 2.5/5

The Hole: 2/5

A group of kids decide to go into an abandoned bunker from World War II while they were supposed to go on a school field trip. Needless to say, something happened and everyone ends up dead. Except for one soul survivor, played by beautiful Thora Birch. While locked up in a hospital, a detective (Embeth Davidtz, Army of Darkness and Europa Report) is trying to help her to understand the situation in which the three others died.

I am going to go into spoiler territory because I need to. If you haven't seen The Hole, please skip this review or scroll down to Venom. I hate movies about characters who have this sort of mental disorder where it has to be about "ME". Take the film I reviewed not too long ago called Roman. Roman disgusted me to no end because I sat through that garbage. I felt that The Hole was going to be ok until we got to the twist and I was like; "NO!"

Thora Birch's character is revealed to be this stalker type character who is obsessing over Desmond Harrington's character in the film. She lies to cover her ass and whenever something doesn't go her way, she kills them. It's this annoying "ME" complex where it has to be about them and not take into consideration the other people involved. It's a wreckless behavoir of someone who is disturbed and mental. Even at the end of the film, she ruins the life of Embeth Davidtz's character and virtually walks away scott free.

I hated it; is the film well made? Sure. I thought the acting was pretty good from Kiera Knightley and Thora Birch. Didn't care that much for Desmond Harrington's acting. I also find it funny how it's marketed around Knightley on the box art, including a quote about her, when she's probably only in the movie for fifteen minutes tops. 2/5.

Venom: 2.5/5

Everyone in town knows Ray Sawyer as the local and creepy tow truck driver in a small Louisiana town. While Eden (Agnes Bruckner) and Eric (Jonathan Jackson) are fighting one night, Ray drives by and has a head on collision with an elderly woman who practiced voodoo. While Ray proceeds to save the old woman, he opens the suitcase she had with her and is soon killed by the snakes living inside it. As soon as the police salvage Ray's corpse, it vanishes and soon a body count starts to rise quickly in the small Louisiana town.

This was a "so-so" slasher flick. The film was based on a video game that never got finished and released to the public. From what I could find on both the bonus material and searching on the net, Ray was originally going to be named Mr. Jangles after the keys that were on his belt loop. This film was also a casualty of Harvey Weinstein leaving Disney and was just dumped into a small run in theaters by Disney.

The acting was cheesy as hell and had a very stereotypical teenage slasher feel. It felt almost as if this was Scream with a supernatural entity instead of Ghost Face. Meagan Good was ok in the five minutes of screen time that she had. Agnes Bruckner was okay in the lead, but I couldn't really care that much. I give the film 2.5/5.

Video: 3.5/5

The Hole: 3.5/5

Presented in open matted in 1.78:1 instead of 2.35:1, Echo Bridge gives The Hole a decent HD presentation. I did notice a glitch in the video in the opening, Thora Birch's character is walking to a pay phone and the video distorts. Other than that, it's got a nice grainy transfer throughout. Would it have been better if it was presented in OAR? Sure. I give the transfer 3.5/5.

Venom: 3.5/5

Echo Bridge has released Venom several times on Blu-ray and every time has released it in this open matted 1.78:1 from the 2.35:1 source. Grain is pretty strong throughout; there was a shot were the image looked real dull in this morgue sequence. I also noticed that the shading covering the camera is visible in a shot when Bijou Philips's character is going around Ray's Happy Time shop. I give the presentation 3.5/5.

Audio: 4/5

Echo Bridge has given The Hole a very typical 2.0 DTS-HD MA English track and it sounds average. Venom on the other hand has a wide variety of audio tracks present; English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Why do we honestly need the English DTS-HD MA 2.0 when we have the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track? That seems like a waste of space if you ask me. I give the audio presentation on both films 4/5.

Extras: 2/5

We have no bonus material for the film The Hole; but, we do have all the extras ported over from the Disney DVD of Venom. We have a Making Of, storyboard to film comparisons, and cast auditions. The making of was only a few minutes which was ok. Storyboard comparisons shows how close everything matched up in the few scenes that were selected. And the casting auditions were so-so, especially when all of the acting was bad. I give the bonus 2/5.

Overall: 3/5

I picked this up and several others for $3.99 plus tax each during Best Buy's Echo Bridge sale. For that price, I can recommend this release. I doubt that we'll ever get these in their proper aspect ratio any time soon. Will these encodes most likely get re-used in another Blu-ray from Echo Bridge? I wouldn't be surprised, 3/5.

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