Silence of the Lambs, The (Blu-ray) - Dread Central
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Silence of the Lambs, The (Blu-ray)




The Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Distributed by MGM and Fox Home Entertainment

“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you … all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars … while you could only dream of getting out … getting anywhere … getting all the way to the FBI.” — Hannibal Lecter to Clarice Starling

Chilling. That’s the only way to describe the eerie restraint shown by Anthony Hopkins’ performance of the evil and hungry Dr. Hannibal Lecter. One second the character can be dissecting your personality, and the next he could be dissecting your person. Though his role is relatively small there’s no mistaking that the weight of The Silence of the Lambs falls squarely upon his sturdy shoulders.

The Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray (click for larger image)I could sit here and explain to you why this movie is a modern classic, but what’s the point? I’m guessing that by now you’ve surely seen this epic flick, and know it very well. If not, click the bottom link to pre-order, head to the store to buy, borrow from a friend, do whatever you have to do it get your hands on it like yesterday. You won’t be disappointed.

The subject of the day is this new Blu-ray release so let’s dig right into the 1080p goodness, shall we?

I’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs several times. Probably as many as ten to fifteen. I can honestly say this is (as I’m sure you expected) the best looking version of the film I’ve ever watched, though it’s still far from perfect. The main differences come in the form of depth, a slight upgrade in sharpness, and a wonderfully warm color palette. Previously released editions, Criterion and otherwise, had a weird kind of greenish tint to them. This problem has been completely fixed with this release and while there is still the occasional pop or scratch in the print every so often, everything still looks damned fine.

The audio however is just passable. Yes, this is the first time MGM has ever given the movie a hi-def audio mix, but it still kind of misses the mark. There are moments when the 5.1 track soars and swells but they are unfortunately bookended with plenty of flat moments. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s really not much of an improvement.

The Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray (click for larger image)Then there are the supplemental materials. While quite good, we’ve seen the majority of them all before. There’s nearly two-hours worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a thirty second phone message from Hopkins as Lecter, and twenty-three minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes. All pre-existing, and of various sound and picture quality. One feature that’s been missing since the Laser Disc release is the awesome commentary track with Jonathan Demme, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Really, guys? We couldn’t dig this one up for the Blu-ray release?

So, I know what you’re wondering — is there anything new? Yes! One thing — the Breaking the Silence Blu-ray exclusive trivia track which sports itself new interviews with Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Anthony Heald, Scott Glenn, and screenwriter Ted Tally. Throughout the film, via picture-in-picture pop-up, you’ll get an occasional nugget of info from one of the aforementioned subjects. It’s nice to see and hear something new, but there’s just one nagging problem — these pop-up instances were a little too sporadic for my liking. There were long stretches of time when we’d get nothing but the movie. Since so much of this Blu-ray consists of repackaged material couldn’t the slow parts have been filled with some pre-existing behind-the-scenes footage? I know. I know. I’m never happy.

If you’ve never owned The Silence of the Lambs on home video (and given the flick’s popularity and multiple releases that’s kind of a tall order), then this is without question the version of the film for you. If you’ve still got the Criterion DVD or — dare I say it — the Laser Disc … honestly? You’re still sitting kind of pretty.

Special Features

  • Breaking the Silence Blu-ray exclusive trivia track
  • Understanding the Madness featurette
  • Inside the Labyrinth featurette
  • The Silence of the Lambs: From Page to Screen featurette
  • Scoring the Silence featurette
  • Original 1991 Making-of featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Anthony Hopkins phone message
  • Outtakes reel
  • TV spots
  • Teaser trailer
  • Original theatrical trailer


    5 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

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    SXSW 2018: Wildling Review – A Fresh and Mature Take on Werewolves



    Starring Bel Powley, Liv Tyler, Brad Dourif, Collin Kelly-Sordelet

    Written by Fritz Böhm and Florian Eder

    Directed by Fritz Böhm

    Wildling follows Anna (Powley) who was raised in captivity by her “daddy” (Dourif), only to be thrust into the real world as a young woman with no concept or preparation for anything she sees or experiences, both in her surroundings and within her own body. Staying with Sheriff Ellen Cooper (Tyler) and her younger brother Ray (Kelly-Sordelet), Anna must acclimate in short time to the expectations of those around her, making this coming-of-age tale difficult because she is at such a disadvantage. However, we quickly learn that Anna is no ordinary person in that she is not a person at all: she is a Wildling, a werewolf-like creature whose transformation was being held back by Dourif’s injections.

    What makes Wildling so interesting is how the transformation of Powley into the titular character twists the traditional werewolf mechanism into a metaphor for Anna’s own metamorphosis from a young girl into a formidable and entirely capable, albeit not human, woman. That the men of the small town that this film takes place in see this as a threat is not a subtlety that is meant to be passed over. Even in her innocence, Anna does not succumb to the demands and pressures of those around her, fending off a near rape by a local high school boy and standing up to her “daddy” as she realizes her own self worth.

    Powley plays her role with charming confused innocence while Tyler plays the mother to Dourif’s “daddy”. She takes on the role of helping teach Anna what being a young woman is all about, from buying her tampons to giving her advice on what kinds of boys to avoid. Dourif, while always darkly charismatic and captivating, pulls deep into his acting chops for this role, bringing a nuanced representation of patriarchal control coupled with an inability to understand his “daughter” and her needs.

    Beautifully filmed by Toby Oliver (Get Out, Insidious: The Last Key), Wildling immerses viewers in an almost fairy tale-like world. The town feels like a secluded berg while the surrounding forest teems with life and a magical air hovers in its branches. That being said, the film sometimes gets a bit too dark to see properly and the music is largely forgettable. Still, those minor complaints aside, Wildling is a wonderfully fresh take on what the werewolf subgenre has to offer.

    • Wildling


    Wildling takes traditional the werewolf transformation mechanism and uses it as the foundation for a more immediate and relatable story, one that will especially resonate with female audiences.

    User Rating 0 (0 votes)


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    Prodigy Review – This Kid Is Killer



    Starring Richard Neil, Savannah Liles

    Written and directed by Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal

    From the minds of Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal, Prodigy could have easily debuted as a stage play instead of an intimate sci-fi horror film delivered straight to your television. Told with a confident grasp, the story unfolds in only one location with two characters responsible for carrying the entire narrative. Good performances, sure-handed directing, and a solid script highlighting tense moments make the claustrophobic setting seem much bigger in scope. A little telekinesis thrown in to good effect and a creepy killer kid don’t hurt the momentum either.

    Under constant surveillance at a remote black site, an aging psychologist named Fonda (Neil) is tasked with assessing a dangerous young girl called Ellie (Liles), who is highly intelligent and possesses supernatural powers. Fonda attempts to inject some humanity into Ellie, but she is cold and calculating and seems to be toying with him at times and the onlookers watching from behind the glass. The back-and-forth between both characters is competitive and often riveting, with Ellie slowly revealing her abilities to her wide-eyed new audience. Wrapped up in a familiar setup, the decision to study or dissect this meta kid is the central question of Prodigy; but the execution of a simple premise is what keeps the story afloat.

    On a very small scale, Haughey and Vidal make the setting feel cinematic with crisp images and smart shot selections that help maintain the tension. There’s a strong backbone in place that allows both actors to bounce off of each other in a well-choreographed mental dance as the dangerous game they’re playing begins to unravel.

    Several scenes where Elle demonstrates her powers are the standouts in Prodigy with chairs and tables flying and glass breaking to great effect. These sequences diffuse some of the tension for a moment, only to fully explode late in the film when Elle’s emotions unleash. It’s only then that there has been any kind of breakthrough that could possibly help to save her life.

    That gets to the heart of the real question posed in Prodigy: Is an extraordinary life still worth saving if it threatens ordinary lives in the process? Also, does the fact that this potential weapon is housed inside the body and mind of a young, lonely girl make a difference to whether it should survive? These questions and how they’re answered make Prodigy a micro-budget standout in the indie horror genre well worth taking the time to rent this weekend if you’re not planning on attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade somewhere.

    Prodigy is now available to on iTunes, Amazon, and other On Demand platforms.

    • Prodigy


    The questions raised and how they’re answered make Prodigy a micro-budget standout in the indie horror genre well worth taking the time to rent this weekend if you’re not planning on attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade somewhere. 

    User Rating 0 (0 votes)


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    Cold Hell (Die Hölle) Review – Giallo Terror Invades Vienna



    Starring Violetta Schurawlow, Tobias Moretti, Sammy Sheik

    Written by Martin Ambrosch

    Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky

    I have a serious soft spot in my horror-loving heart for serial killer films. Movies like Seven, The Silence of the Lambs, The Crimson Rivers, and the like draw me in with their cat-and-mouse mentality. Couple those kinds of movies with non-US settings and I’m 100% hooked. So when I was introduced to Die Hölle (aka Cold Hell), which just started streaming on Shudder, I didn’t hesitate to enter this giallo-inspired thriller.

    Cold Hell follows Özge Dugruol (Schurawlow), a Turkish taxi driver in Vienna who clearly lives a strained, almost broken life. The fares she picks up verbally abuse her, the Thai boxing gym where she lets go of her anger has banned her after a violent sparring incident, and her family has its own fair share of problems, including infidelity, lack of responsibility, and painful memories of early years.

    One night, after coming home from a long shift, Özge opens the window in her bathroom only to see across the way into the home of another woman who is lying on the ground, flayed and burnt, her dead eyes staring at Özge. Stunned into shock, she can only look on before realizing that the man responsible for this woman’s death is standing in the shadows, looking at her. So begins Özge’s journey of terror as this killer makes it his mission to find and end her life.

    Cold Hell has an interesting juxtaposition running throughout the film where cinematographer Benedict Neuenfels’ gorgeous visuals are used to highlight the near-squalor and seedy underbelly of Viennese life that Özge lives in. Each scene is bathed in vibrant colors, streetlight reds and neon greens painting the frames. Marius Ruhland, who composed Ruzowitzky’s Academy Award-winning film The Counterfeiters, lends beautiful and thrilling music that knows when to coil up and provide tension before exploding to mirror the chaotic frenzy of the on-screen events.

    A direct commentary on religion’s antiquated view of the place and purpose of women, Cold Hell doesn’t shy away from making nearly everyone in this movie a flawed character. People who were unlikable become understandable once the breadth of their circumstances becomes more clear, as is the case with detective Christian Steiner (Moretti), who originally treats Özge with an almost xenophobic attitude only for us to later see that he cares for his dementia-ridden father. While not excusing his previous behaviors, such a revelation gives his irritation and frustration a more justifiable foundation.

    When the action strikes, we are treated to breathtaking car chases, blood splashing across the screen, and believable reactions. The characters in this film get hurt and they show it, limping painfully with their cuts and bruises open for the world to see.

    The film is certainly not flawless. Some characters feel shoe-horned in and there are rather lengthly segments where the film comes to a crawl. However, the engaging and nuanced performance from Schurawlow easily kept me glued to the screen.

    • Cold Hell


    With beautiful music and gorgeous visuals, Cold Hell is an engaging, albeit slow burn, serial killer thriller. This is one film that should not be missed.

    User Rating 5 (1 vote)


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