GATW Staff

by: GATW Staff
February 1st, 2011

As some of us GATWers come tumbling into the real world after a week and a half of Sundance, we get a whole bunch of brilliant films to watch on Blu-ray.  This week has some excellent releases, including Matt Reeves' brilliant LET ME IN, Gareth Edwards' MONSTERS, and Mark Romanek's NEVER LET ME GO.  

Check out our Blu-ray reviews of LET ME IN and Adam Green's HATCHET II after the break!

Written by Rusty Gordon

It's hard to come up with a horror remake in the last 10 years better then LET ME IN; it's actually hard to come up remake in the last 20 years superior to LET ME IN. There very well may be a film I'm overlooking or haven't seen whose name you're shouting at the computer monitor right now, but I believe that LET ME IN can confidently stand up to whatever omission I may have made. And I feel a little bit of that thing called hope every time that thought comes to mind, and from what I remember from the time before hollow Hollywood remakes became quite the trend in Hollywood, hope is a good thing.

LET ME IN could appear as remake of the 2008 Norweigan film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN by Tomas Alfredson. And I don't think it's wrong to for one to view it that way. That's what it was originally set up as when director Matt Reeves heard about the project. Yet, it's clear from the abundant extra features on the film's Blu-ray that the original source, the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, was the biggest influence on Reeves. An idea that might be hard to accept given how both the two films reflect each other as they quietly weep in a somber tone for the two central characters in the film. Also, the films visually also come off similar with their style flowing naturally with the material's haunting nature. However, as touched upon briefly before, the similarities in tone and style really seem more an indication that both films capture and present the original story well, and not one filmmaker merely following another. In fact, LET ME IN is billed as being "based on the screenplay and novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist" (yeah, the author also wrote the screenplay for the original film). But if you want to call it a remake that's cool with me, Reeves is clearly a fan of the film and I think was at least somewhat inspired by it, just not to the extent of the novel. I know, not a surprising sentiment given my open rant (it's that cake and eat it too, thing).

The love and care that was clearly behind the birth of LET ME IN does stop with the actual film, with this great film receiving a strong Blu-ray release. The LET ME IN Blu-ray has a making of, an examination of The Art of Special Effects, as well as deleted scenes that are worth a look be seen including a sweet moment between the young bullied protagonist and a thoughtful gym teacher sincerely trying to help him. Of course, given how I previously mentioned the Blu-ray, that's not all. One of the film's most striking scenes, a long shot of a car crash, is broken down with the help of Matt Reeves. The very cool and unique feature of a prequel comic book also comes with the Blu-ray. Much behind the scenes information about the film can be learned in Dissecting LET ME IN, where the movies plays and various people involved in the project, including Reeves popping up throughout on the screen to discuss specific aspects of LET ME IN.

One of the clearest messages you receive from the special features (and the film itself) is that the project meant an immense amount to writer/director, Matt Reeves. So naturally you would expect a commentary from the man, right? Well, sometimes thing work out just as they should, as there is a commentary track by Reeves accompanying the release, and the track itself turns out just like one would assume, worth-while information bristling with affection for the film's source.

Alright, I just spent over 500 words trying to tell you why LET ME IN is worthy, so please go do the right thing and buy the Blu-ray.

Written by J.C. De Leon

The little seen, highly controversial sequel to 2006's HATCHET comes to DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday from Dark Sky Films in its original, unrated, and uncut version. The set comes with two commentaries, a feature on the FX team and a behind the scenes look at the movie. HATCHET II has the honor of being the first unrated independent horror movie exhibited by a major theater chain in more than 25 years. Almost immediately, it was pulled from theaters, robbing fans of the first film the opportunity to watch the sequel in theaters. Starring horror icons Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, and Kane Hodder, this sequel raises the bar that the first film set with more kills, more gore, and much more over the top violence than Adam Green has ever delivered before.

HATCHET II opens literally on the second that HATCHET ends with the escape of Marybeth Dunstan (replaced in the sequel by horror movie veteran Danielle Harris). She learns that local tour guide Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) may be able to help, they gather a group of hunters to search for other survivors of the previous days tour and perhaps also to destroy the infamous swamp legend/ghost Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). Always meant to be a franchise, HATCHET II is a more complete story than the first movie and benefited from the years in between films for some effects technologies to catch up to remain true to director Adam Green's philosophy of not using CGI in his movies. The sequel also delves more into Victor Crowley’s origins and is a much tightly written film. All in all, 90 minutes of fun are what’s to be expected out of this movie. Fans will also get a huge kick out of all of the cameos from some of the most iconic horror film directors.

The disk is pretty well packed with two commentaries, one focusing on production with cinematographer Will Barratt and make-up effects supervisor Robert Pendergraft. The other commentary features Adam Green with Tony Todd and Kane Hodder and is equally informative. The Blu-ray features two exclusive features, Meet the FX Team and First Look: Hatchet II. The coolest feature on this set is the Behind the Screams featurette. That one focuses on all of the kills in this movie, and how they were meticulously done. It may not seem packed full of features, but there’s great stuff on this disc besides the ultra fun HATCHET II film that you more than likely were robbed of seeing in theaters. Seek out the Blu-ray, especially if you have the original.

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