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Alone In The Dark Blu-ray Review

“Alone In The Dark” is an underrated 80’s horror film.

With Halloween approaching, Scream Factory is putting out some new horror titles including the collector’s edition of 1982’s “Alone In The Dark.” The story concerns Dr. Dan Potter and his family moving to a town where Potter is set to work as a therapist at the local mental institution. The place is headed by the kooky Doctor Leo Bain who used unconventional methods for his patients (whom he calls voyagers). Upon arrival, Potter is greeted harshly by the unstable patients on the third floor (comprised of former POW Frank, a church pyromaniac named Preacher, a rapist named Ronald, and a strangler known as The Bleeder). Frank believes the former therapist (Harry) was killed by Potter and he thinks Potter wants to kill them next. The third floor patients plot to kill Potter and they get their chance when a blackout occurs which allows them to escape from the facility. Elsewhere in the story is a subplot revolving around Toni who visits Dan and the family. She previously had mental health issues which might be stirring back up after the patients start preying on Dan.

Director/writer Jack Sholder’s “Alone In The Dark” doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Not only is it an unsettling horror film with slasher and home invasion elements that builds intensity, but it’s an intelligent exploration of sanity and human fragility. This is not your standard mindless horror or slasher movie. Now, granted, the movie does succumb to some horror cliches ala a random sex scene, a hockey mask inclusion, and killers hiding bodies and, truth be told, those are the weaker elements. They simply aren’t needed here as the movie chills on its own terms.

What really grabbed me about this movie is the character work. Sholder takes the time to get to know the Potter family. I was particularly drawn to the character of Toni as she was a complex character that represented someone who is both sane and yet suffering from mental health issues. What made her character even more intriguing is that she starts suffering a mental breakdown again during the encounter with the escaped patients and is unable to decipher what is real and what isn’t. That point-of-view really made the movie more terrifying. The movie even shows some humanity to the disturbed character of Frank. I especially loved the provoking ending. Of course, the appeal of the characters is largely due to the all-star cast made up of Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Lin Shaye, Dwight Schultz, Donald Pleasence, Lee Taylor-Allan and Deborah Hedwall. Landau arguably steals the show here as the utterly deranged and freaky Preacher. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? This new 2K scan from the interpositive maintains that 80’s look and feel while providing a visually pleasing new upgrade. Some shots looked quite spectacular (especially the daytime scenes).

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo. How does it sound? Aside from a weird music bit which sounds like it’s switching audio channels, this is a nice clean track.


Extras:
* Theatrical trailer, TV spot, Radio spots and still gallery
* Interview with actress Carol Levy who played Bunky.
* A very candid new 39 minute interview with director and writer Jack Sholder who talks about film, “Alone In The Dark,” production stories, and more.
* “Sites In The Dark- The Locations Of Alone On The Dark”- A look at the shooting locations then and now.
* “Mother Choppers- The Sick F**** Remember Alone In The Dark”- An interview with the band featured in the movie.
* “Still F****** Sick- Catching Up With The Sick F****”- An archival interview with the band.
* 2 commentaries. One by Jack Sholder and the other by film critic Justin Kerswell and film historian Amanda Reyes.

September 28, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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