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(aka "Dorm" )

 

directed by Ryan Gielen
USA 2012

 

DRINKING GAMES isn't the thriller the press release suggests (in fact, the "drinking games" aspect can only be taken figuratively). Despite being adapted from a stage play "Dorm" by star/screenwriter Merriman - who had previously appeared with several of his castmates here in director Ryan Gielen's THE GRADUATES (2008) - it doesn't feel fully developed; nevertheless, its inability or unwillingness to shoehorn itself into a specific genre and its conventions keeps the viewer intrigued. It's the eve of winter break and much of the student body has already left for the holidays. Those remaining in the dorm are having the "Snowmageddon" party (not as exciting as it sounds) inflicted upon them by officious resident assistant Tom (Joshua Sterling Bragg, OUT OF FOCUS). Richard (Blake Merriman) plans to stay in his room and ostensibly finish up a paper; however, his roommate Shawn (Nick Vergara) wants to use the room for a rager of a party hosted by date-rapey (seriously, he carries "the devil's tic-tacs" on him at all times) fratboy Noopie (Rob Bradford). Noopie brings to the party his fun self, an eager-to-please pledge (Mike Pennacchio), and a stolen bag of cocaine while Shawn is to "supply" the girls, including his girlfriend Erin (Katy Wright-Mead) and her seemingly more worldly roommate Kennedy (Adriana DeGirolami, THE FOUR-FACED LIAR). Richard is forcefully overruled thanks to the skilled manipulation of Shawn by Noopie, who throughout the evening skillfully twists the coke-, rohypnol-, and alcohol-fueled paranoia and sense of experimentation towards his own amusement - including drugging Richard's vulnerable love interest (Riccarda Albrecht) - until even he starts to lose control of the game.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 24 February 2012 (USA)

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DVD Review: Believe Limited - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Believe Limited

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:24:54
Video

2.00:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.27 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: Believe Limited

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.00:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Ryan Gielen, writer/actor/executive producer Blake Merriman, and actors Rob Bradford, Adriana DeGirolami, Joshua Sterling Bragg, Nick Vergara, and Katy Wright-Mead
• Drunk Sports (webisodes):
• - 'Drunk Twister' (16:9; 0:55)
• - 'Window Frisbee' (16:9; 1:06)
• - 'The Extinguisher' (16:9; 0:38)
• Interviews:
• - The Assistant Directors (16:9; 1:48)
• - The Production Assistants (16:9; 2:55)
• - The Producers (16:9; 1:41)
• - The Director (16:9; 3:51)
• Music Video 'Cocaine Saved My Life' (16:9; 3:55)
• Photo Gallery

DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Believe Limited's progressive, anamorphic single-layer disc is a manufactured-on-demand DVD-R. The anamorphic 2.00:1 progressive transfer is softish and darkish, but it seems in keeping with the overhead low-light look of the dorm setting (at least the one's I've seen) and a certain haziness presumably associated with the characters' consumption of cocaine, booze, and rohypnol. One dream sequence is more narrowly framed at around 2.35:1 with burnt-in subtitles for German dialogue. The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack is well-suited to the intimate nature of the film.

The feature is accompanied by a chatty, sometimes rowdy commentary featuring the director, the writer/star, and most of the main cast (most of whom fortunately come across as the opposites of their characters). You'll find more information here than in any of the other extras about the development of the film from the play, the rehearsals, the dorm they were allowed to use (and stay in) for the duration of the shoot, and the writer's and the actors' interpretations of their own roles (and the motives of other characters).

The other extras are less interesting, and typified by the director's interview in which he states that the extras are being prepared (all on the same day) to promote the film in case they don't find a distributor (rather than to provide some real context for the film). The interviews with the various crew are all more jokey than informative. It's hard to tell if the three "Drunk Sports" webisodes are meant to be comic or if they are indeed real games for hungover college students (I never got anywhere near wasted enough in college for any of these to seem fun or funny). The three short videos are mismatched with their menu options, but to little determent. The music video is more entertaining.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Believe Limited

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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