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directed by Richard Bates Jr.
USA 2012

 

Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord, THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY) isn't your average eighteen-year-old. Sure, she's moody, defiant, and has body-image issues; but she also has delusions of being a surgeon and a socially-detrimental recurring case of Herpes (thanks to her father [Roger Bart, HOSTEL: PART II] performing mouth-to-mouth on her when she almost drowned at the pool). Delusional she may be, but even she is sure she's clinically insane but her domineering mother Phyllis (Traci Lords, NOT OF THIS EARTH) won't "break the bank" to send her to a psychiatrist; instead, she is sent to Father William (John Waters) for free counseling (during which Pauline needles him with blasphemies). Far from being jealous of her younger, prettier, but terminally-ill sister Grace (Ariel Winter, TV's MODERN FAMILY), Pauline is honing her self-taught surgical skills in the event that Grace needs a kidney transplant (which, Pauline has read, is a very risky procedure in hospitals due to a high possibility of contracting infections).

Diehard horror fans will be disappointed by how much the film owes to more to films like AMERICAN BEAUTY and its ilk than an actual disturbing psychological character study or even a gross-out black comedy. Of course John Waters is the priest (Pauline's "religion and science don't mix" line to him will only shock the ultra-conservative fringe who wouldn't watch the film anyway, and only edify the hippest of hipster viewers), and Marlee Matlin shows up specifically to make a deaf joke (Malcolm McDowell as Pauline's math teacher and Ray Wise as the principal are wasted). The only interesting casting touch is Lords, who is as good as the stilted material allows (even though her casting was more likely an ironic reference to her own youthful indiscretions than her more recent status as a cult actress); although McCord's performance is certainly brave, given that she's a regular on a network series (the CW's 90210 rehash), and all-too-willing to explore her range with a character that teeter-totters back and forth between vile and pitiable. Most viewers of the film will already have had the ending spoiled for them by synopses that reference Pauline's final act of madness (although anyone else will have been clued in from the start by the very sight of Grace's treatments); however, that plot point is just dropped in after much meandering around the shaky foundation of Phyllis' house of cards - interspersed with Pauline's nicely-visualized surreal dreams of bare flesh, blood, and viscera - with little forward momentum to Pauline's breakdown (she is already off-the-deep-end before any of her awkward social and sexual relations with school- and churchmates). The final scene, however, is effective and moving in not losing sight of the damage wrought by the two principal characters (upon each other, other people, and themselves) in favor of the scene's Grand Guignol aspect.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 2 November 2012 (UK)

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DVD Review: Monster Pictures/Eureka Video - Region 2,4 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Monster Pictures/Eureka Video

Region 2,4 - NTSC

Runtime 1:20:54
Video

2.41:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.3 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 5.1
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Monster Pictures/Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.41:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Richard Bates Jr. and Actor AnnaLynne McCord
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:16)

DVD Release Date: 12 November 2012
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments

Although other Monster Pictures' discs have been in PAL, they have decided to encode this dual-layer disc (coded for regions 2 and 4) in NTSC like many of parent company Eureka's Masters of Cinema DVD releases, preserving the 24fps running time (even though an HD master was available to create a PAL down-conversion).

Other than the audio commentary, it's a pretty slim package; but specs for the Anchor Bay Region 1 release seem to be identical (although that release does feature optional English HoH and Spanish subtitles). A Blu-ray (HERE) is also available.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Monster Pictures/Eureka Video

Region 2,4 - NTSC

 




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