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directed by Steven C. Miller
USA 2012

On trial for murder and certain to be convicted, Bellavance (Ray Wise, TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME) is out on bail for forty-eight hours and needs to pack up his kid and escape to some country where he can't be extradited. When he discovers that $50,000 of his ill-gotten cash has disappeared, he puts Lloyd (Dana Ashbrook, WAXWORK) in charge of finding and killing anyone who might have taken the money (and he wants it "loud and messy" as a message to anyone who thinks they can mess with him. With the assistance of Chissolm (Derek Mears, Jason Vorhees in the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake), Freddie (Jacob Reynolds, GUMMO), and Wydofski (Joseph McKelheer, APRIL FOOL'S DAY), they shoot their way down the list towards Bill Rutledge (Boyd Kestner, CLEOPATRA'S SECOND HUSBAND) who has just moved out to the country with his new wife Maggie (Lisa Rotondi, THE MATING HABITS OF THE EARTHBOUND HUMAN), her moody daughter Lauren (Fabianne Therese, JOHN DIES AT THE END), and his seemingly autistic son Owen (Ryan Hartwig). While they would seem to be the easiest set of victims, the hitmen do not realize that Bill's son Owen has scored a 99.5 on The Aggression Scale - a psychological measurement for the potential of an individual's aggressive behavior to physically or psychologically injure others - and that he's incredibly adept at MacGuyver-ing household objects for deadly means (and he's got a special dislike of bullies of any kind).

Billed as "HOME ALONE meets FIRST BLOOD", THE AGGRESSION SCALE is very thin on plot and the performances are wildly uneven, but it moves at a fast clip and holds viewer attention even if things are rather predictable (even the sudden deaths of major characters that are supposed to surprise us). The villains are suitably repugnant enough for us to root for the two teenage characters and relish their gory comeuppances (although only one of them gets the full HOME ALONE mantrap treatment). There are some amusing action film homages (like one of the heroes having to painfully extract a bullet and cauterize a wound ala RAMBO complete and another character's self-treatment of their wounds lets out a scream that echoes throughout the forest) and parodies (like the released break on the moving truck that sends it not-exactly-careening down an incline while two characters struggle over a gun inside it), but they do not clash with the otherwise sober - if not exactly serious - tone of the rest of the film. Despite what we know of Owen's past as a victim of bullying, and his extreme reactions to it (including blinding one schoolmate and crippling another), don't go looking for any sort of message here. Director Steven Miller third film is a more polished and mainstream than his previous films, the zombie fest AUTOMATON TRANSFUSION and the SyFy Channel movie SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE, and it will be interesting to see if his recently released "suburban nightmare" UNDER THE BED and the recently completed "killer Santa" flick SILENT NIGHT are of a similar improved quality.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 29 May 2012 (USA)

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DVD Review: Anchor Bay UK - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Anchor Bay UK

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:21:42 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.80:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.48 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

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay UK

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: 3 September 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Anchor Bay's single-layer, anamorphic DVD probably looks as good as the Red One-photographed 2K-mastered video can look in SD. It is, however, cropped from the original 2.41:1 ratio rather than opened up 1.80:1 (not 1.78:1 since there is still a sliver of matting on the top and bottom). Presumably the Blu-ray edition (HERE) is the same. This is all the more bewildering since Anchor Bay's US DVD and Blu-Ray are in the correct aspect ratio. Audio is offered up in loud Dolby Digital 5.1 (the 2.0 stereo mix is serviceable but the voices stand out more from the loud music on the 5.1 track). There are absolutely no extras but the correct aspect ratio Anchor Bay US DVD and Blu editions offer only a 15 minute making-of featurette and some trailers.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Anchor Bay UK

Region 2 - PAL

 




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