The time is the summer of 1985, and Richard Ramirez, who became known as theNightstalker, is roaming the streets, randomly entering homes and slaughtering the peopletherein. Rookie cop Roselyn Sanchez becomes involved in the search to find the killer, andstruggles both with inexperience and hostility from her male colleagues. That’s about all thereit to the plot, which is simplified almost to the point of short-hand, and in place of more elaboratedevelopment we get extended…Requiem for a Dream-style flashy editing. Though initiallyspectacular, all this technique gets a little repetitious after a while, making the film seem longerthan its 97 minutes. However, even if the attempt is not altogether successful, the film is tryingfor something a bit different.
Coming in both 5.1 and 2.0 mixes, the sound is, for a low-budget film, quite impressive.Now, the dialogue is rather prone to distortion, and the rock tracks on the score aren’t alwaysas powerful as they should be. But the sound design, on which a lot of care has been lavished,is spectacular, with all kinds of random bits of industrial noise bursting in from unexpectedcorners of the room. The environmental effects aren’t half bad either, with solid left-rightseparation, but it is that sound design that will most strike the viewer.
The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is a bit variable, largely due, I feel, to the film’s low-budgetorigins. Thus, the night scenes vary from sharply contrasted to almost indecipherably murky. Thegrain level goes up and down too. The blacks are very deep, however, and there isn’t any edgeenhancement to deal with. Generally speaking, and all proportions maintained, this is a fairlysharp movie to look at.
The commentary is provided by writer/director Chris Fisher, DP Eliot Rockett, and editorDaniel R. Padgett. Though there is a bit too much of describing the obvious going on, thereare also many interesting behind-the-scenes tales, particularly of the squalor of the location shoot.There are also two deleted scenes, and trailers for Nightstalker, Identity andDouble Vision and Spider. The menu’s main page, intro and transitions areatmospherically animated and scored.
Too much style and not enough substance, but the style is still pretty cool.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes