Thora Birch (remember when she was the lead and Scarlett Johansson was her support?) Is a young woman with a loving husband. She is struggling to deal with anxiety as she undergoes fertility treatments, and is having vivid nightmares in which she is living in a run-down apartment, working in a grotesque mortuary, is beset by strange visions, and is being stalked by a murderer. Or is it the other way around, as this young woman keeps dreaming she is the young married. And that murderer stalks both worlds. What’s going…on?
Writer/director Ray Gower cites David Lynch among his film’s major influences, but he leaves out the most painfully obvious one: Jacob’s Ladder, which this film mimics both in narrative structure (jumping back and forth between possible realities) and in groaner ending that makes a hash out of what has come before. Sorry, but that kind of third-hand Twilight Zone gambit simply doesn’t cut it. Along the way, there are some effectively gruesome sequences, nicely spooky imagery, and though the performances are uneven (a television newscaster is painfully amateurish, but Birch acquits herself well), the story is still interesting enough that the viewer will stick with the film long enough to be miffed by the conclusion.
The case indicates only a 5.1 soundtrack, but there’s a 2.0 one here too. That omission is the first, and least serious, of a few errors. The sound is properly enveloping, but is most noticeably so in the 2.0 version, which, curiously, is the default option. The surround is nicely spooky, and the environmental effects are very good. A bit with a fly shows off some strong placement. The dialogue, especially at the beginning, does suffer from some distortion, however.
The aspect ratio is 1.78:1, but is not, despite what the case says, anamorphic. The colours are good, and the interesting changes in palette as we move from reality to reality are handled very well by the transfer. There is some grain, but the image is quite sharp. The picture suffers in being blown up on 16×9 screens, but is still more acceptable.
Again, there’s an error on the case. It promises a commentary from Gower and Birch, but there is none to be found. A fairly standard making-of featurette and a few trailers are all there is.
I’ll give props to the film for the effort. It is well put together, and is by no means a lazy production. But its setup is too familiar, its payoff even more so, and very unsatisfying.
Special Features List
- Making-of Featurette