Dual

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJE Films;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Box Office $0.19 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for violent content, some sexual content, language and graphic nudity.
Stars Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Theo James, Beulah Koale, Maija Paunio, Sanna-June Hyde.

Writer-director Riley Stearns’ Dual presents an offbeat satire about the nature of identity.

The film is set in a near-future world where nearly everyone speaks with the same kind of droll precision as the characters from American Psycho. Scientific advancements have led to a rapid form of cloning, giving rise to a new industry that allows terminally ill people to duplicate themselves before they die, allowing their clones to live out their lives and minimizing the distress on their loved ones.

The catch is that if the dying person doesn’t die, the clone will either be destroyed or, if it has lived long enough, it can request a form of asylum that calls for the person to duel the clone to the death, with the survivor earning the rights to the disputed persona.

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Karen Gillan plays Sarah, who is told she has an incurable disease with a 98% chance of dying. Sarah decides to play the clone card to ease the pain of her potential death on her boyfriend and mother. Sarah and her double seem to get along fine at first, but then 10 months pass, and Sarah remains alive. In the interim, subtle personality differences in Sarah’s Double have led Sarah’s boyfriend to leave her for the double. Sarah turns out to be one of the 2% the disease doesn’t kill, but when she vows to have her clone eliminated out of jealousy, Sarah’s Double files for the right to live, setting up a fight to the death in a year.

Stunned by these developments, Sarah prepares for the dual by hiring a trainer (Aaron Paul) who specializes in clone combat rituals. Their workouts evoke the spirit of a low-rent Hunger Games.

Gillan gives a fantastically understated performance as both world-weary Sarah and the eager to take over double. Paul is equally fun to watch as the bargain-basement trainer, mostly because he’s the primary source of exposition to see the inventive paths Stearns has taken in developing the film’s premise.

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Stearns’ matter-of-fact approach to the material can seem off-putting at times, but the film clearly derives much of its humor from the casual apathy of this society toward the premise and everything embodied by it. One of its darker ideas involves people getting clones because they’re ultra-depressed and intend to kill themselves so the clone can take over their lives.

The Blu-ray includes a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and an insightful commentary from Stearns in which he mostly sings the praises of his cast and about the benefits of filming in Finland.

Witch Tale ‘Hellbender’ Unleashed on DVD and Digital July 26

RLJE Films will release Shudder’s Hellbender on DVD, VOD and for digital sellthrough July 26.

The film stars Zelda Adams as Izzy, who leads an isolated life, locked away from the world by her protective mother who has convinced her she has a “chronic illness.” After sneaking into town, Izzy plays a cruel drinking game with a new friend that unleashes a deep-rooted taste for blood. Confused and scared, Izzy questions her mom, whose secrets are as old and dark as their family bloodline’s ties to witchcraft. But Izzy’s true nature can only sleep for so long.

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DVD extras include DVD Bonus Features Include:

  • “The Visual FX of Hellbender by Black Magic Tricks”;
  • Hellbender music videos;
  • bloopers;
  • “Zelda’s Alter Ego: Eville Adams”;
  • behind-the-scenes footage;
  • “Travelling With Wonder Wheel.”

Season 1 of Western Series ‘That Dirty Black Bag’ Due on Disc July 26

RLJE Films will release the Western series That Dirty Black Bag: Season 1 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 26.

The modern take on spaghetti Westerns stars Dominic Cooper as Arthur McCoy, an incorruptible sheriff who’s trying to overcome his troubled past to bring law and order to a town full of bounty hunters, bandits and bloody vendettas. His main nemesis is Red Bill (Douglas Booth), an infamous solitary bounty hunter known for decapitating his victims and stuffing their heads into a dirty black bag. When the paths of these two men collide, they both learn that in the Wild West, there are no heroes, nobody is invincible, and the predators may become the prey.

The cast also includes Niv Sultan, Aidan Gillen and Travis Fimmel.

The series premiered on AMC+ March 10.

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Season Two of ‘The Walking Dead: World Beyond’ Heading to Blu-ray and DVD March 8

RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, will release The Walking Dead: World Beyond — Final Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 8. The second and final season of the horror series aired on AMC Networks in October 2021.

Set in the same universe as “The Walking Dead,” the second season of “World Beyond” concludes the story of Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu) and Silas (Hal Cumpston) — four friends who journeyed across the country on a mission that transformed everything they knew about themselves and the world. As they face off against the mysterious Civic Republic Military and fight for control of their own destiny, goals will shift, bonds will form and crumble, and innocence will be both lost and found.

The cast also includes Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru and Julia Ormond.

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Animated Horror Film ‘The Spine of Night’ Gets Feb. 1 Disc, Digital Release

RLJE Films and Shudder on Feb. 1 will release the animated horror film The Spine of Night on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook that includes a DVD and standard Blu-ray.

The film premiered in theaters, on demand and through digital retailers in October. Both RLJE Films and Shudder are owned by AMC Networks.

The Spine of Night stars Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Betty Gabriel (Get Out) and Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”).

The film was co-written and co-directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King.

The DVD will be available at a suggested retail price (SRP) of $27.97, the Blu-ray at $28.96, and the 4K UHD/Blu-ray/DVD Steelbook at $35.97. 

The film is an epic fantasy about the history of a land that never was. It begins when an ambitious young man steals forbidden knowledge from a sacred plant. He falls to its darker temptations and, in so doing, unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. As his power grows over the years, it falls to people of different ilk and culture to attempt to stop him. Among those who stand against him are a daring tomb-robber, star-crossed lovers, a maniacal necromancer, winged assassins, and an undying guardian.

RLJE Sets Feb. 1 DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Release Date for Shudder Original ‘Superhost’

RLJE Films on Feb. 1 will release the horror film Superhost on VOD, digital, DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Home distribution rights were acquired from Shudder, the streaming service owned by AMC Networks, which also owns RLJE.

Directed and written by Brandon Christensen, Superhost stars Sara Canning (“9-1-1”, “Nancy Drew”), Osric Chau (“The Flash”, “Nancy Drew”), Gracie Gillam (“Z Nation,” “Scream Queens”) and Barbara Crampton (Jakob’s Wife). The DVD will be available at a suggested retail price of $27.97 and the Blu-ray Disc at $28.96.

In the film, Teddy and Claire are travel vloggers who run a channel called “SUPERHOST,” where they travel and share their experiences in and around vacation homes. Their initial success, however, has begun to ebb, and with a dwindling subscriber count they decide to create viral content around a fascinating woman named Rebecca, their most recent host. Bad choice.

Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc include a director commentary, behind-the-scenes footage and photos, and a mini-documentary on shooting a film during a pandemic.

Werewolves Within

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJ;
Horror-Comedy;
Box Office $0.58 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for some bloody violence, sexual references and language throughout
Stars Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillen, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler.

A likable cast and its genre-mashup of a premise make Werewolves Within an entertaining addition to lycanthropic movie lore.

Like the video game on which it is based, Werewolves Within makes a whodunit out of the typical werewolf tropes, with the beast tormenting an eclectic group who must figure out who among them is the attacker.

The film also deftly blends comedy into the mix without detracting from the suspense.

Sam Richardson stars as the new wildlife ranger in a small, snowy northern town that seems to be at the center of a tug-of-war between an oil company executive who wants to buy the land to build a pipeline, and an environmental activist who wants to stop it.

Soon after he arrives and gets the lay of the land from the local postal carrier (Milana Vayntrub, best known as Lily from the AT&T phone commercials), the town loses power. The generators have been carved up, a local dog has been eaten, and the body of the local innkeeper’s husband is discovered. The townspeople lock themselves in the inn for protection, which proves short-lived as the attacks continue. The environmentalist determines it could be a werewolf, which only causes more panic.

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Most of the proceedings are shrouded in speculation and hyperbole, though, as the movie entices audiences with several clever misdirects that cast doubt on every character and throws shade on the film’s very premise. No one actually sees a werewolf, and for all we know it could just be a run-of-the-mill serial killer pretending to be a werewolf to foster dissent among the potential victims.

In the tradition of Cabin in the Woods, Werewolves Within manages to find a nice balance between its comedic and horror sensibilities in a way that should appeal to fans of either genre.

AMC’s RLJE Films Unit Sets Dec. 14 DVD, Blu-ray Disc Dates for ‘South of Heaven’

RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, will release South of Heaven on Dec. 14 on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Directed by Aharon Keshales, the film centers around convicted felon Jimmy (Jason Sudeikis), who gets early parole after serving 12 years in prison for armed robbery. Upon his release he vows to give his girlfriend Annie (Evangeline Lilly), who is dying of cancer, the best last year of her life. But things are never that simple, and when he is given a “side job” from his parole officer (Shea Whigham), it sets off a series of events that leaves Jimmy in the crosshairs of a local crime boss (Mike Colter). 

Keshales co-wrote the film with Kai Mark and Navot Papushado (Gunpowder Milkshake).  

The DVD carries a suggested retail price (SRP) of $29.26 and the Blu-ray Disc, $29.97.

Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc include a “meet the cast” featurette and a mini-documentary on the making of the film.

RLJE Sets DVD, Blu-ray Disc Release Dates for IFC Films’ ‘Werewolves Within’

RLJE Films has set a Dec. 7 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for the critically acclaimed horror-comedy whodunit Werewolves Within.

The film was released theatrically by IFC Films in June 2021 and became available through digital retailers and on VOD in July.

Directed by Josh Ruben from a script by Mishna Wolff, the films stars Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns and Michael Chernus, among others.

The DVD will carry a suggested retail price of $27.97, with the Blu-ray Disc retailing for $28.96.

The film is about a mysterious creature terrorizing the small town of Beaverton, where a proposed pipeline has created divisions among the townsfolk. When a  snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind the strange creature.

RLJE Films Sets Dec. 7 DVD, Blu-ray Release Dates for Shudder’s ‘Creepshow’ Season 2

RLJE Films has set a Dec. 7 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for season two of “Creepshow,” the horror anthology series from Shudder that is based on the 1982 film of the same name.

Shudder is AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural. “Creepshow” was launched in 2019, with the second season debuting in April 2021 and season three last September.

The five-episode season and bonus episodes “A Creepshow Animated Special” and “A Creepshow Holiday Special” from showrunner Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead”) stars Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”), Ted Raimi (“Buddy Thunderstruck”) and Ali Larter (House On Haunted Hill).

In season two, a comic book once gain comes to life in nine chilling tales told across five episodes.

Special features on the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release include:

    • WonderCon@Home 2021 interview with Greg Nicotero
    • Photo galleries
    • Comic art booklet
    • Behind-the-scenes featurettes
    • Behind-the-scenes raw footage