RLJE Films Sets June 1 Home Release Date for ‘Spare Parts’ Horror Film

RLJE Films has announced a June 1 home release date for Spare Parts, a horror film about an all-girl punk band and their encounter with a super fan who turns them into mutant brawlers. The film will be released on VOD, digital, DVD and Blu-ray Disc, all on the same day. The DVD will be priced at $27.97 and the Blu-ray Disc will be $28.96. 

Directed by Andrew Thomas Hunt (Sweet Karma) and written by David Murdoch (“The KNTV Show”) and Svet Rouskov (“Darken: Before the Dark”), the film stars Julian Richings (Chaos Walking), Michelle Argyris (“General Hospital”), Emily Alatalo (Mother!), Kiriana Stanton (“The Expense”) and Chelsea Muirhead (“Slo Pitch”).  

Spare Parts is set in a godforsaken bar in the middle of nowhere where an all-girl band, Ms. 45, rips the stage apart with their punk spirit. But their performance impresses an enthusiastic fan who lures the girls into a trap, sedates them, and starts “customizing” them. Slowly they begin to gain consciousness and, in total shock, realize their arms have all been replaced with axes and chainsaws to fight gladiator-style in a junkyard arena owned by a sadistic “emperor,” forcing them into the battle of their lives with one prize in mind – their freedom. 

RLJE Films is a business unit of AMC Networks.

Archenemy

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJ;
Thriller;
Box Office $0.12 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Joe Manganiello, Skylan Brooks, Zolee Griggs, Paul Scheer, Amy Seimetz, Glenn Howerton.

The trippy Archenemy tackles the superhero genre with an approach that would definitely not be considered traditional.

Joe Manganiello plays Max Fist, a homeless drunk who trades fantastical stories of his heroic adventures for booze. Max claims to be an enforcer from a city called Chromium that exists in a parallel dimension where he had superpowers. During battle with his arch-nemesis, he used his powers to punch a hole through space-time that took him to Earth, where his powers don’t work. Now he spends most of his time drinking and punching walls hoping to go home.

He is discovered by Hamster (Skylan Brooks), a wannabe social media influencer who starts posting videos of Max hoping to get more hits.

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Flashbacks to Max’s adventures are presented through brightly colored animated segments, which don’t confirm to the audience whether what he’s saying is supposed to be true or not, but they certainly inform on his state of mind.

Hamster’s sister, Indigo (Zolee Griggs) works as a gopher for a local drug kingpin, and finds herself in his crosshairs when a job to collect money from a junkie goes wrong. When she and Hamster are threatened by the drug lord’s goons, Max leaps back into action. However, this attracts the attention of his archenemy, who also is trapped on Earth, but believes the two of them coming together may be the key to unlocking their powers.

The film plays a bit like a low-budget version of Hancock, and works mostly due to Manganiello’s energetic performance. The opening credits offer a definite 1980s vibe with their colorful yet low-key visual effects.

The Blu-ray includes pretty standard a seven-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews from the filmmakers.

The Cleansing Hour

DVD REVIEW:

RLJ/Shudder;
Horror;
$27.97 DVD;
Not rated.
Stars Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis, Chris Lew Kum Hoi, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Emma Holzer, Joanna David.

Old-school horror gets a social media update in director Damien LeVeck’s The Cleansing Hour, an effectively disturbing film about exorcisms in the age of the Internet.

The story centers on a pair of friends named Max (Ryan Guzman) and Drew (Kyle Gallner) who live-stream a series in which actual exorcisms are supposedly performed. Max serves in the role as the priest and basks in the fame of it (even touting his personal Twitter handle on air instead of the show’s), while Drew handles the behind-the-scenes duties and logistical tasks such as sending out cheap merchandise to the show’s unsuspecting fans.

The show is actually a hoax using actors and special effects, but it still has managed to attract a small audience of loyal followers.

However, Max and Drew’s plans go awry when actual supernatural forces intervene. Drew’s girlfriend Lane (Alix Angelis) is forced to step in at the last minute to play the possessed victim when the intended performer doesn’t show up. Then an actual demon possesses her and turns the show into a personal hell for Max and Drew, forcing long-buried secrets to emerge while the morbidly fascinated online audience continues to grow.

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The film uses a mix of mostly practical effects and a bit of CGI to craft some truly creepy scares and chilling death scenes, particularly when the demon immolates one of the crew members by turning his flame tattoos into actual fire.

While the film bears the look and feel of a typical exorcism movie, it offers enough interesting character work and some nice plot twists to keep it from seeming too derivative.

The film is a longer version of a story LeVeck first explored in a 2016 short film of the same name, which runs 18 minutes and is included on the DVD.

Also included is a two-and-a-half minute “On the Set” montage of footage of scenes behind filmed with no context or narration.

The film also comes with a commentary track from LeVeck and his wife Natalie, who is also one of the film’s producers, as they discuss his love of the genre and other tidbits about making the film on an indie budget. Interestingly, at one point they tease an extra of time-lapse footage of Angelis being put into demon makeup, but such a video doesn’t appear to have made its way to the DVD.

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The Opening Act

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 12/15/20;
RLJE Films;
Comedy;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Jimmy O. Yang, Alex Moffat, Cedric the Entertainment, Neal Brennan, Debby Ryan, Ken Jeong, Bill Burr, Jermaine Fowler, Russell Peters, Whitney Cummings, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger.

Fans of stand-up comedy should get a kick out of The Opening Act, the story of a young man at the crossroads of whether or not his life’s ambition is worth the pursuit. The cast of The Opening Act features a who’s who of the stand-up world, and only a few are actually playing the comedians.

Written and directed by stand-up comedian Steve Byrne (“Sullivan & Son”), and based in part on his own experiences starting out in stand-up, The Opening Act stars Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”) as Will Chu, a claims adjuster who aspires to be a comic because growing up he bonded with his late father watching stand-up comedy together.

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Struggling just to get enough stage time with local open mic nights, Will gets the opportunity of a lifetime when a friend recommends him for a weekend MC gig for the Pittsburgh Improv. The headliner is Billy G (Cedric the Entertainer), who Will idolized growing up.

However, one awkward encounter after another leaves Will questioning if he has what it takes to make it in comedy. The feature comedian, Chris (Alex Moffat of “Saturday Night Live”) constantly wants Will to party, throwing off his concentration. A disastrous promotional appearance on a local radio show puts him on the radar for hecklers, throwing off his game as he tries out new material that just doesn’t land.

He seems more like he’s trying to go through the motions of what he thinks a stand-up comedian should do, without understanding what it takes to connect with the audience, until Billy G takes some pity on him, reminds him that every comedian has to learn to bomb hard, and gives him some advice that might help him turn things around.

All in all, the message of perseverance should resonate with all viewers.

The Blu-ray includes a six-minute making-of featurette, a three-minute featurette in which the cast members discuss the difficulties of getting started in comedy, and 11 minutes of footage of extended stand-up performances from the likes of Yang, Cedric, Whitney Cummings, Ken Jeong and more.

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Shudder’s ‘The Cleansing Hour’ Due on DVD and Digital Jan. 19

RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, has picked up select rights to the movie The Cleansing Hour from Shudder, AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror content. It will be released Jan. 19, 2021, on DVD, VOD and for digital sellthrough.

The film stars Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner and Alix Angelis in the story of a popular webcast that streams live exorcisms watched by millions across the globe. In reality, the exorcisms are just elaborately staged hoaxes performed by paid actors. But the podcasters’ fortunes take a turn when one of the actors becomes possessed by an actual demon and takes the crew hostage. In front of a rapidly growing audience, the demon subjects the crew to a series of violent challenges, threatening to expose the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other unless they come clean and reveal they’re impostors before the show is over.

DVD extras include a commentary with director Damien LeVeck, the featurette “On the Set of The Cleansing Hour,” and The Cleansing Hour short film.

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Horror Title ‘The Beach House’ Bows on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 15

The horror film The Beach House will come out on VOD, digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 15 from AMC’s RLJE Films and Shudder.

The directorial feature debut of Jeffrey A. Brown, who also wrote the screenplay, the film stars Liana Liberato (“Light as a Feather”), Noah Le Gros (A Score to Settle), Maryann Nagel and Jake Weber (Dawn of the Dead, “13 Reasons Why”).

In the film, hoping to reignite their relationship, college students Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Le Gros) arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home but, after an indulgent night of partying, they’re awoken to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. A mysterious airborne microbe has infected the water and it’s making its way to the house.

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RLJE Releasing ‘The Opening Act’ on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 15

RLJE Films, a division of AMC Networks, will release the comedy The Opening Act on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Dec. 15.

Written and directed by stand-up comedian Steve Byrne, and produced by Vince and Peter Billingsley, The Opening Act stars Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”) as Will Chu, who is stuck in a thankless job while trying to pursue his true passion in life, becoming a stand-up comedian. When he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the emcee slot on the road opening for his hero Billy G. (Cedric the Entertainer), the realities of life on the stage come crashing in, from hecklers to drunk groupies to hard-to-impress morning radio DJs.

The cast also includes Alex Moffat (“Saturday Night Live”), Neal Brennan (Get Him to the Greek), Debby Ryan (“Insatiable”), Ken Jeong (The Hangover), Bill Burr (The King of Staten Island), Jermaine Fowler (“Superior Donuts”), Russell Peters (Supercon), Whitney Cummings (“Whitney”), Tom Segura (Instant Family), and Iliza Shlesinger (Spenser Confidential).

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Blu-ray and DVD extras include a making-of featurette; a “Getting Started in Comedy” featurette; and extended stand-up scenes with Yang, Cedric and Cummings.

The film is available now through VOD and digital sellthrough.

The Tax Collector

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

RLJ;
Action;
Box Office $0.94 million;
$29.96 DVD, $29.97 Blu-ray, $19.99 UHD BD Steelbook (Best Buy exclusive until Dec. 15);
Not rated.
Stars Bobby Soto, Shia LaBeouf, Cinthya Carmona, Jose Martin, Chelsea Rendon, Cheyenne Hernandez, Cle Sloan, George Lopez, Lana Parrilla.

Writer-director David Ayer’s The Tax Collector is a bloody sojourn into the power dynamics of the gangs of Los Angeles.

For Ayer, the film represents a return of sorts to the type of gritty street-level crime drama that established his career, following slight detours into the realms of war drama (Fury), comic book action (Suicide Squad) and fantasy (Bright).

Bobby Soto stars as David, who serves as a “Tax Collector” for the city’s top crime lord, Wizard. He and his partner, Creeper (Shia LaBeouf, burying himself in another intense role), collect protection money from local criminal enterprises running drugs and prostitution.

Their operation hits a snag when a new crime boss named Conejo (Jose Martin) comes to town and stakes a claim to Wizard’s territories. Conejo turns out to be an old rival of David’s uncle (George Lopez), but wants David to switch sides to work for him. If David refuses, the lives of his entire family could be in danger.

The story is a straightforward one involving tough-talking street thugs and wannabe kingpins, but may have limited appeal beyond hardcore action fans.

The film arrives in a rather sparse Blu-ray edition, with the only extra consisting of 12 minutes of inconsequential deleted scenes.

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Sci-fi Thriller ‘2067’ Coming to Disc Nov. 17 From RLJE Films

The sci-fi thriller 2067 will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 17 from RLJE Films.

The film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse, Let Me In) and Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood,” “Sacred Lies”).

In the film, by the year 2067 Earth has been ravaged by climate change and humanity is forced to live on artificial oxygen. An illness caused by the synthetic O2 is killing the worlds’ population and the only hope for a cure comes in the form of a message from the future: “Send Ethan Whyte.” Ethan, an underground tunnel worker, is suddenly thrust into a terrifying new world full of unknown danger as he must fight to save the human race.

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Bonus features includes director commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette, including an in-depth look at the story, cast, director, the look of the film, costumes and makeup, the time machine, editing and VFX, and music.

Thriller ‘Spree’ Due on Disc Oct. 20

The thriller Spree will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Oct. 20 from AMC Networks’ RLJE Films.

Spree is directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko (Wobble Place, 0s & 1s) from a script co-written by Kotlyarenko and Gene McHugh.  The film stars Joe Keery (“Stranger Things”), Sasheer Zamata (“Saturday Night Live”), David Arquette (Scream franchise), Kyle Mooney (Brigsby Bear, “Saturday Night Live”), Mischa Barton (“The O.C.”), Frankie Grande (“Style Code Live”) and John DeLuca (Teen Beach Movie franchise).

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In Spree, Kurt (Keery) is a 23-year-old rideshare driver for Spree, who is so desperate for social media attention that he’ll stop at nothing to go viral. He comes up with a plan to livestream a rampage as a shortcut to infamy. Coining his evil scheme “#thelesson,” he installs a set of cameras in his car and begins streaming his rides. Wildly miscalculating the popularity that would come from his lethal scheme, Kurt’s desperation grows as he tries to find a way to overcome the plan’s flaws. In the middle of all this madness, a stand-up comedian (Zamata) with her own viral agenda crosses Kurt’s path and becomes the only hope to put a stop to his misguided carnage.