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(aka "The Other Side of the Tracks" )

 

directed by A.D. Calvo
USA 2008

 

Josh (Brendan Fehr, DISTURBING BEHAVIOR) has never gotten over the death of his high school sweetheart Emily in a train accident. He is still working in the same job at a pizzeria ten years after high school (living in his decrepit childhood home with a minishrine to his girlfriend's memory) when old pal Rusty (Chad Lindberg, the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake) shows up for the high school reunion and stirs up painful memories. Josh has a second chance of happiness when Amelia (Beatrice Rosen, 2012) applies for a job at the pizza place, but her convenient absences when other people around have Rusty questioning if she even exists until he meets her, and then things take an interesting, if not entirely original, turn. Stephanie Weir (TV's MAD-TV) and Sam Robards (AMERICAN BEAUTY) co-star. Shirley Knight plays Josh's mother. THE HAUNTING OF AMELIA is intended as a slow-burn tale of the supernatural, and it certainly is that. Although the set-up is laboriously languorous, we really do not know enough to care about any of the characters before Amelia shows up. It doesn't take much to eclipse protagonist Fehr's moping, but Lindberg's twitchy quirkiness could have used some directorial reigning-in since it is distracting throughout (but he's necessary as the exposition and thematic mouthpiece since Fehr spends most of his time walking along the train tracks to alternative pop music as if he's in a CW Network teen drama). It might be the fault of direction far more concerned with the visuals since performances of most of the cast members are broad in some scenes (when it seems as if the actors have been allowed to run with their dialogue) and on-the-mark in others (Knight is her ususal professional self and Rosen has a Marisa Tomei thing going on, but Weir and Robards seem lost while the two younger female co-stars seem to be existing in another feature entirely). The sparse scares are derivative but one extended bit works due to the eerie atmosphere the director managed to build up in that sequence. One also gets the impression that some scenes did not make the final cut (Robards' and Weir's characters disappear largely from the second half of the film) while others may have been dropped from the final script (a lot is made of the high school reunion in several scenes but the sequence fails to materialize). The digital cinematography is creative with some pleasingly saturated colors (in an age when genre directors have largely turned to muted color schemes). The sound design is okay, as is the scoring (save for the aforementioned teen drama-esque vocals) but the dialogue recording is variable (in one two-shot scene, it almost sounds as if Lindberg's dialogue was recorded on-set while Fehr's was ADR'd). Ultimately, the feature fails from over-familiarity and the use of unsubtle "subtle" dialogue and certain ghost movie conventions and reversals to explain away some large lapses in logic.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 28 March 2008

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DVD Review: MTI Home Video (screener) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

MTI Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:32:48
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MTI Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:54)

DVD Release Date: December 28th, 2010
none

Chapters 11

 

Comments

This is a screener disc. It is anamorphic widescreen, but interlaced, with English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound (specs say the retail version will have 5.1 audio and Spanish subtitles). The theatrical trailer is also included. NOTE: A faulty first screener disc was 4:3 and featured the original title on the feature and trailer, but this revised screener features the replacement title on both.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

MTI Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 



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