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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Shut-In" )

 

directed by Pablo Proenza
USA 2007

 

When photographer Deoborah (Lisa Vidal, THE BLUE DINER), her computer programmer husband Jim (David Chisum, FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), and their son Ian (Joshua Pelegrin) move into an old house in the Los Angeles subburbs, Deborah is unnerved by glimpses of a hooded figure watching their house, prying and exhibitionist neighbors, and strange things seen through the house's mirrors and window glass (including doorways that shouldn't be there). Her mother Grace (Lupe Ontiveros, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES) notices that window glass is arranged by the principles of Feng Shui in order to protect the house from evil spirits by attracting and trapping them in the glass. Deborah starts to believe that evil spirits may indeed be lurking in the home after she takes a photograph of herself in the mirror and people who she subsequently photographs with the same camera start disappearing. Looking into the house's history, she learns that it was previously owned by a struggling painter whose work suddenly became very successful after moving into the house (that is, before he and lover mysteriously vanished). Deborah's obsession alienates her son and husband, but more people are vanishing around her, and she must act quickly when she discovers photographs of her family that she does not recall taking on the camera.

Although made on a low budget, DARK MIRROR is slickly produced and strikingly mainstream (in fact, one could imagine this one garnering a theatrical release had it been cast with higher-profile actors). While the film is certainly more interesting than Alexandre Aja's similarly-themed but awful MIRRORS (itself an extremely loose adaptation of the Korean film INTO THE MIRROR), it is not without flaws. The producer mentions wanting to use horror to explore feminist concerns about the challenges of professional women with families, but Deborah going stir crazy at home while unable to find creative work has a SHINING-esque feel familiar to films with frustrated creative male protagonists developing obsessions with the seeming supernatural. Because the digitally-created supernatural sights, jump scares, scoring, and editing rhythms are so familiar from many a mainstream horror effort of late, the first half of the film drags rather than draws us in. Once it gets to the point where Deborah starts making discoveries (through supernatural direction - in a bit that was seemingly aped in MIRRORS 2, the plot of which was closer to that of the Korean original) rather than plot revelations in the narrative), things start getting interesting; although even then everything feels so familiar (and there's an over-reliance on telling rather than depicting plot revelations). Vidal and Chisum are engaging leads with good chemistry, and one wishes that the writers had spent more time exploring the fragility of their relationship beneath the surface. Daeg Faerch - young Michael Meyers in Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake - has a small part as a neighborhood kid.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 27 July 2007

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DVD Comparison:

IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

IFC/MPI Media Group

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Films
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:26:06 1:22:21 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.52 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.7 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

 

IFC/MPI Media Group

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Films

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: IFC/MPI Media Group

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Pablo Proenza, producer Erin Ploss-Campoamor, and actress Lisa Vidal
• Behind the Scenes (16:9; 8:43)
• Deleted Scene (16:9; 1:18)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:24)
• Start-up trailers for FIGHTER, PONTYPOOL, DEAD SNOW, and THE SKEPTIC

DVD Release Date: 3 November 2009
Amaray

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Pablo Proenza, producer Erin Ploss-Campoamor, and actress Lisa
• Behind the Scenes (16:9; 8:39)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:17)
• Start-up trailer for THE SHRINE

 

DVD Release Date: September 3rd, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Likely sourced from the same HD master, image and audio quality on the IFC and Arrow releases is virtually the same (perhaps because this is a DVD-only release, Arrow has included the 5.1 track whereas 2.0 stereo has only been included on some Arrow Films DVDs when a Blu-ray is also available). The IFC disc does include English SDH subtitles while the Arrow includes an optional 2.0 stereo mix.

The commentary track with the writer/director, producer, and lead actress is breezy and jokey but also informative. Topics covered include the eighteen-day shooting schedule (ambitious for a film with plenty of digital visual effects), the use of the husband/wife director and producer's own unique home for the film's central location, and the lead actress' challenge of acting the suspense scenes against greenscreens and interacting with apparitions that would not be added until post-production. The behind the scenes segment is a bit listless, but it gives the producer the opportunity to discuss some of the film's themes (and also ends on a humorous note). The deleted scene is an extension of the film's opening sequence, so it's no great loss for the Arrow Films edition.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(IFC/MPI Media Group - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Arrow Films - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Draw
Menu: Draw

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

IFC/MPI Media Group

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow Films
Region 2 - PAL

 

 




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