Jakob’s Wife

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJ;
Horror;
Box Office $0.03 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, C.M. Punk.

Scream queen Barbara Crampton plays a meek housewife who literally grows some fangs in the bloody Jakob’s Wife.

Crampton plays Anne, wife of local pastor Jakob (Larry Fessenden), who begins to strain against the mundane routines of their marriage. Her passions are rekindled by a visit from former flame Tom (Robert Rusler), particularly when their attempt at a tryst is interrupted by a vampire attack.

The vampire, known as The Master (Bonnie Aarons), brings Anne under her thrall, giving her a newfound sense of confidence and rebellion, worrying Jakob.

Anne also takes on the bloodlust of the vampire, leading to some remarkably gory sequences of bodies spraying blood as major veins and arteries are punctured at feeding time.

There’s also an effective sequence involving a dentist’s UV teeth-whitening device, which causes Anne’s face to catch on fire due to her starting to take on the classic primary vampire weakness of an allergy to sunlight.

Jakob’s Wife should prove a pleasing diversion for horror fans looking for a late-night distraction. It’s hard not to think someone on the creative team wasn’t a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” when piecing this script together, given that Anne was Buffy’s middle name, and the Master was the name of the vampire villain of the show’s first season.

The Blu-ray includes a brief five-minute making-of featurette as well as more than 13 minutes of deleted scenes.

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‘The Water Man’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 17

RLJE Films, a division of AMC Networks, will release The Water Man on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 17.

The film stars Lonnie Chavis as Gunenr, who sets out on a quest to save his ill mother (Rosario Dawson) by searching for a mythic figure who possesses the secret to immortality, the Water Man. After enlisting the help of a mysterious local girl, Jo (Amiah Miller), they journey together into the remote Wild Horse forest — but the deeper they venture, the stranger and more dangerous the forest becomes. Their only hope for rescue is Gunner’s father (David Oyelowo), who will stop at nothing to find them.

The cast also includes Alfred Molina and Maria Bello. 

The film marks the directorial debut of Oyelowo and is based on a script by first-time screenwriter Emma Needell.

Extras include a filmmaker commentary, a making-of featurette, an animation behind-the-scenes featurette, and a Toronto International Film Festival Q&A.

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RLJE Films Sets Aug. 3 DVD, Digital Release Date for Shudder’s ‘Lucky’

RLJE Films, an independent distributor owned by AMC Networks, has announced Aug. 3 home release dates for the horror film Lucky, originally produced for Shudder, AMC’s premium streaming service for horror and thriller films.

Directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl, Shattered) and written by Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift), Lucky will be available through digital retailers and on DVD at $27.97.

Lucky tells the story of May (Grant), a popular self-help book author, who finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night without fail, he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life. The cast also includes Dhruv Uday Singh (Good Trouble), Kausar Mohammed (What Men Want), Hunter C. Smith (Alien Expedition), and Kristina Klebe (Hellboy).

Bonus features on the DVD include a filmmaker commentary and a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

First Season of AMC+ Series ‘Gangs of London’ Heading to Disc July 20

RLJE Films, a division of AMC Networks, will release Gangs of London: Season One on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 20.

The season originally aired on AMC+, a premium streaming bundle.

Gangs of London: Season One is directed by Gareth Evans (The Raid), Corrin Hardy (The Nun), and Xavier Gens (Hitman). The series stars Joe Cole (“Peaky Blinders”), Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù (“Humans”), Colm Meaney (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”), Lucian Msamati (“His Dark Materials”), Michelle Fairley (“Game of Thrones”), Paapa Essiedu and Pippa Bennett. “Gangs of London” was created by Evans and his creative partner Matt Flannery.

For 20 years, Finn Wallace (Meaney) was the most powerful criminal in London. Billions of pounds flowed through his organization each year. But now he’s dead — and nobody knows who ordered the hit. With rivals everywhere, it’s up to the impulsive Sean Wallace (Cole), with the help of the Dumani family headed by Ed Dumani (Msamati), to take his father’s place. If the situation wasn’t already dangerous enough, Sean’s assumption of power causes ripples in the world of international crime. Perhaps the one man who might be able to help him and be his ally is Elliot Finch (Dìrísù), who up until now, has been one of life’s losers, a lowlife chancer with a mysterious interest in the Wallace family.  But as the wind of fate blows, Elliot finds himself transported to the inner workings of the largest criminal organization in London. It doesn’t end with the Wallaces though, there are shadowy higher powers at play.

Bonus Features on the DVD and Blu-ray include the featurettes “An Inside Look at The World, The Families, The Action, The Power, The Soldier” and “Anatomy of an Action Scene: Pub Fight & Elliot vs Len” featuring commentary from Gareth Evans.

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RLJE Releasing Shudder’s  ‘Jakob’s Wife’ on Disc July 20

AMC Networks-owned RLJE Films and horror streaming service Shudder will release Jakob’s Wife on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 20.

The film stars Barbara Crampton as Anne, the wife of a small-town minister (Larry Fessenden). She feels like her life and marriage have been shrinking over the past 30 years, but after a chance encounter with “The Master” (Bonnie Aarons), she discovers a new sense of power and an appetite to live bigger and bolder than before. As Anne is increasingly torn between her enticing new existence and her life before, the body count grows and Jakob realizes he will have to fight for the wife he took for granted.

The cast also includes Nyisha Bell, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler and former WWE wrestler Phil Brooks (aka CM Punk).

Extras include deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.

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Season One of ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff ‘World Beyond’ Arrives on Disc June 15

RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, will release The Walking Dead: World Beyond — Season One on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 15.

The three-disc sets will include all 10 episodes from the first season of “The Walking Dead” spinoff that focuses on a group of teenagers who represent the first generation to grow up in the apocalypse.

A decade into the fall of civilization, sisters Hope (Alexa Mansour) and Iris Bennett (Aliyah Royale) have grown up inside the walls of one of the few remaining first-world communities. When the sisters receive a message that their father might be in a danger at a research facility 1,000 miles away, they defy their community’s rules and enlist their friends Elton (Nicolas Cantu) and Silas (Hal Cumpston)to embark on a cross-country quest to save him. Leaving their sheltered upbringing behind, these teenagers learn how to fight threats both living and dead as they travel through a beautiful but decaying and dangerous world.

The cast also includes Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru and Julia Ormond. The first season originally aired on AMC in 2020.

Extras on the Blu-ray and DVD include the featurettes “A Look at the Series,” “Meet the Characters” and “The Making of Season 1.”

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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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