'Horror 4 in 1 Collection'
(DVD / NR, PG-13 & R / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Want to Risk watching Four Tales of Terror!?! Then check out this 4 in 1 DVD: Hostel, Hollow Man, I Know What You Did Last Summer and When A Stranger Calls.
DVD Verdict: 'Hostel (Unrated Director's Cut)' (Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Barbara Nedeljakova), is a story presented by Quentin Tarantino ('Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2') and directed by Eli Roth ('Cabin Fever'), and is one shocking and relentless film in the tradition of 'Saw.' It brings us the story of two American backpackers (Jay Hernandez, 'Friday Night Lights' and Derek Richardson, 'Dumb and Dumberer') in Europe who find themselves lured in as victims of a murder-for-profit business. 'Hostel' has potential, I'm not going to take that away from it. The thought that a place exists where rich people pay money to torture and kill other people is interesting. And a story about a kidnapped person who finds himself locked in that very place, waiting for his assassin, should make for a great film! The film is wonderfully lit, specifically in the torture chamber-scenes. And the set-dressing in those scenes are marvelous. It really feels like Roth found these places - and just shot them as the were!
'Hollow Man (Director's Cut)' (Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Joey Slotnick, William Devane) asks the question, What would you do if you were invisible? How far would you go? After years of experimentation, Dr. Sebastian Caine, a brilliant but arrogant and egotistical scientist working for the Defense Department, has successfully transformed mammals to an invisible state and brought them back to their original physical form. Determined to achieve the ultimate breakthrough, Caine instructs his team to move on to Phase III: human experimentation. Using himself as the first subject, the invisible Caine finds himself free to do the unthinkable. The first half-hour of 'Hollow Man' is the best, when we're introduced to these wow-inducing, eye-popping visual effects. This is also the point where the story holds the most potential, before devolving into B-grade land. Now, most people seem to agree that the film would have worked a lot better if it had focused on Bacon brandishing his invisibility on the outside world, and there is a ten-minute segment where he does do this, but it's also arguably the film's worst part. I won't go into it, but it sadly involves rape.
'I Know What You Did Last Summer' (Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Geller, Ryan Phillippe) relates to us that after an accident on a winding road, four teens make the fatal mistake of dumping their victim's body into the sea. Exactly one year later, the dead man returns from his watery grave and he wants more than an apology. I first saw "I Know What You Did Last Summer" in the theater in 1997 and remember what an entertaining thrill ride it was. Everyone was amped up for teen slasher flicks at the time after the re-invention of the genre by Wes Craven's "Scream." Writer Kevin Williamson penned the script and gave the film the same exciting twists and turns that made it a rousing success. It's actually rated R for strong horror violence and language. It's rather tame by today's standards as the violence hearkens back to early 'Friday the 13th' and 'Halloween' movies!
'When A Stranger Calls' (Starring: Camilla Belle, Brian Geraghty, Katie Cassidy) comes complete with the fun tag line: Have you checked the children? To Jill Johnson, it was the perfect babysitting job. The parents were away. The fridge was stocked. The children were tucked into bed. But then the phone rings and an ominous voice asks, Have you checked the children? Locked in with the lights out and the curtains drawn, a panicky Jill phones the police, who trace the calls - only to inform her they're coming from inside the house. Camilla Bell did a great job as Jill Johnson. And the fact that a teen horror flick could be made in the year 2006 without tremendous vulgarity and gore, made it even that much stronger of a film. I had a great time trying not to chew my fingernails off! This film won't win anyone an Oscar, but it is entertaining and worth the price of this 4-1 DVD. I think girls around the world should watch the original AND the remake and then determine to never babysit again! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.