A group of former college friends (now apparently weathered by life, though they look as if they are CURRENT college friends) gather at beach cottage for a reunion. Stresses and resentments within the various marriages and couplings quickly put a damper on the weekend, and a desultory evening’s conversation leads to a few members of the group playing the party game that consists in reciting “Dead Mary” in front of a mirror. Inevitably, the evil spirit is summoned, and people start being killed off. Victims have the unfortunate habit of reanimating, however, which leads to mounting paranoia, as no one knows who can be trusted to still be human.
So the rather odd cross-fertilization that we have here is Friday the 13th with John Carpenter’s version of The Thing. Miraculously, an abrupt ending with several loose ends aside, the mix works, thanks in no small part to a strong cast and sharp dialogue that make our group far more believable (and thus sympathetic) than one has come to expect in films of this kind. It ain’t perfect, but it sure ain’t bad, either.
The audio track begins, as it means to go on, with the complete environmental experience. Whether one is hearing insect calls, thunder and rain, lapping waves or whatever, the sense of being in the middle of the action is well nigh perfect, with excellent placement of the sound effects. Dialogue is free of distortion. A very nice track.
There is some aliasing visible, particularly in very bright areas of the frame. But this is really the only noticeable flaw with the transfer. The contrasts are superb, as are the flesh tones and blacks. The colours are strong, and the image is sharp. Dark as much of the film is, it is not murky. This is a picture that, like the film, is much better than the cheap-sounding title and cheesy cover would lead one to expect.
The making-of featurette, at almost half-an-hour in length, is more detailed and interesting than many of its kind, though its promotional function is still evident. Also here is a music video and trailers for the film and three other releases.
A pleasant surprise. It isn’t rewriting any rule books, but it’s nice to see this sort of story done well.