The Victim - Blu-ray and DVD

Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:12 Written by 

The Victim - on Blu-ray and DVDMichael Biehn of “The Terminator” and “Aliens” fame takes over the directorial reins in this edgy thriller about murder, corrupt cops and a mysterious loner living deep in the woods of California. A distraught woman (Jennifer Blanc – “The Divide”, Dark Angel) flees from a couple of sheriff’s deputies after a romantic picnic turns into a nightmare. She stumbles on a cabin and is reluctantly taken in by Kyle (Biehn) until the immediate danger has passed.

Annie (Blanc) fears the cops mean to kill her but before he commits, Kyle wants proof that her story of murder is true. When the body of her friend Mary (Danielle Harris – “The Last Boy Scout”, 2007’s “Halloween” remake) fails to materialise, Kyle’s disinclination to remain involved increases until the law officers come knocking, and events rapidly spiral out of control with deadly consequences.

For a first film, “The Victim” is a solid if unremarkable effort. The plot keeps the viewer guessing, but it unravels a little too slowly and with too few intense moments for the genre. The acting is pretty good on the whole, but the dialogue delivery is reminiscent of an old video game where pauses were enforced to wait for the next clip to load. As the making-of clarifies, Biehn wanted it shot this way, but it ends up feeling slightly unnatural as a result.

The strongest elements are the characters of Kyle and Annie. As the movie plays out, you cannot help but question whether they are being honest with one-another, and have laid all their cards out on the table. Kyle admits that he wants to live the life of a loner, as far away from civilisation as possible, so you have to question why.

For her part, Annie relays her story, but at the same time we are treated to numerous flashbacks featuring her and Mary, with the suggestion that there might also be more to their roles in this than we have been led to believe.

The two cops – Harrison (Ryan Honey – “Men of Honour”) and Cooger (Denny Kirkwood – “Never Been Kissed”) - are a little less convincing but they do at least manage to tread the line between all-out baddies and men desperately reacting to an apparent accident.

For a small, independent film, the visuals looks good. The lighting is always clear and the direction is smooth and efficient. There is a cracking fight scene towards the end of the movie that looks like professionals were involved, but the team could not afford stuntmen so the actors had to do it themselves! The small quantity of gore on display is also done with verve and looks realistic.

The Blu-ray version reviewed features sharp picture quality and good sound balance. The spindly foliage of the main forest location is brought out in fine detail.

The tagline ‘A rampage of lust, terror and revenge!’ is over-egging it somewhat, but on balance “The Victim” is probably worth a rental.

The bonus features include a commentary track featuring Biehn and Blanc, and a behind-the-scenes featurette that is a lot of fun despite the dodgy sound quality. As with many low-budget movies, the crew evidently had a ball despite the pressure and tough conditions. Key anecdotes include the revelation that Biehn genuinely blacked out during a fight scene when he tapped-out a little late, and that editing the final segment was partly dictated by the video files they managed to recover after corruption trashed the rest of the day’s shooting!

“The Victim” (2011) is out now on Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of Anchor Bay. The main feature has a running time of 79 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £12.99 on DVD and £15.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:19

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