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HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

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THE GARDEN
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Don Michael Paul

Starring:
Lance Henriksen
Brian Wimmer
Adam Taylor Gordon

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Sam is an innocent young boy who may be the only thing to save the world from Armageddon. Or he’s just a loon who has strange visions and likes to cut himself.
Is it good movie?
The Garden is the story of a young boy named Sam, played by Adam Taylor Gordon who seems to be having visions of Armageddon. If you like films that preach to you about how sinners and Satan are bad but you should pray for the sinners, you may dig this flick. I found the screenplay by director Don Michael Paul and co-writer Samuel Bozzo to be not only preachy but a bit patronizing. You see everyone who believes in God; good, but everyman who is an atheist, or non-believer; bad. Add to that some very unbelievable moments including one boy who throws our hero into the trunk of an abandoned car and terrorizes him. While the next day, Sam invites this same boy over to play after school and of course he is up for it. What the f*ck? When the hell (pardon the pun) would that ever happen? Seriously… and there were other moments that just felt a little too PAX. The religious overtones felt much too obvious, subtlety is not a part of this film.

Aside from the script, this is not a bad movie. Lance Henriksen is a fantastic actor and he gives a very interesting performance of the dude who may be the devil. He is always fun to watch. I enjoyed much of his relationship with Sam who also gives a nice performance. If they hadn’t hammered in the battle of good and evil I think I might have been able to enjoy this flick a little more. Aside from Lance and Sam, there were also some very nice performances from Claudia Christian, Brian Wimmer and Sean Young; and yes, I did say Sean Young. She plays a schoolteacher who is all about teaching the bible to her class. I also appreciated the way this thing was shot, Don Michael Paul and his DP, Thomas L. Calloway create a very beautifully shot film (aside from a few lousy effects). This looks much better than most films of this ilk. And they attempted to use sound to heighten the “terror” happening. Sometimes it worked and other times, it felt just as forced as the script. But for all the good intentions, I could not find much love for this film. But I do give them props for making more bloody than you would expect. And I take a few of those props away for turning out an overly convenient ending.
Video / Audio
Video: this Widescreen 1.77:1 enhanced picture for 16x9 was not the greatest transfer. Not bad, but not great.

Audio: Dolby Surround 2.0 is very clear and keeps the horses of the apocalypse sounding clear.
The Extras
The extras are not bad. But it’s Anchor Bay and they usually show the love, so here we go.

The first extra is Audio Commentary with Director Don Michael Paul who comes across as a pretty cool guy. He is positive when speaking of his actors and had a whole lotta love about this flick. It would have been nice to maybe bring in a couple of the actors or possibly his co-writer or DP. It would have made for a more interesting listen. But I did want to give my good word for the guy… he mentions that the night before recording this commentary his wife had twins… Congratulations buddy!

Next is a The Garden: Behind-The-Scenes (5:52) which is a series of behind the scenes footage with part of the music score. Not terrible interesting, although the score is very nice.

Of course we get the Trailer (1:39) which gives too much of the movie away and makes it look very cheap. Not the best choice of footage here.

Then comes the remote control lovers features including, Still Gallery and a Lance Henriksen Bio. Mr. Henriksen’s bio is an interesting read. But I’m not a big fan of this kind of feature.

Finally, we have a few Also On DVD which includes trailers for Masters of Horror, Left in Darkness, The Tooth Fairy, It Waits and Room 6.
Last Call
This is a well directed and well acted hour and a half of how you should read the bible because if you don’t, you’re a damn sinner. Or maybe that’s just me. There were elements here that could have made a pretty good religious horror film but its lack of subtlety, the often times bad special effects and the over the top sound design just annoyed me. This was another well-intentioned horror production from Producer Stephen J. Cannell that looked good but suffered from a lousy script. But the fine performances and strong direction kept if from being a total waste.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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