DVD Round Up: 07/09/12
We take a look at some of this week's home releases
The Lost Coast Tapes opens with a glaring grammatical error, in one of those typical found-footage disclaimers, explaining the nature of the film we are about to see. This sets the tone for what follows, as a TV crew head into the woods in an attempt to out a Bigfoot sighting as a hoax.
You know the film is on shaky logical ground when the first scene features a character spending literally his life savings in an attempt to prove that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. It’s a real shame that the film descends into shaky-cam, screamy nonsense, as there is the germ of an idea here that could work. Having the majority of the film confined to a log cabin gives a decent sense of claustrophobia, and there are one or two jumpy moments that hit the spot. The film does attempt a neat bait-and-switch, but this comes far too late, and is just too silly to be effective. To make a found-footage film set in the woods is a mistake, and this is certainly no Blair Witch Project. (Sam Faulkner)
A young couple in love move into a large new house, but what lurks in the walls may be their undoing. Stash House sees Dolph Lundgren towering over everyone else as the main bad guy trying to get to the young couple, who have holed up in the panic room part of their house, watching Dolph and his bad guy buddy through 360, motion sensitive cameras, to which a majority of the second act is seen through. It's Paranormal Activity meets Panic Room.
A few signposted twists and an underwhelming ending don't do much to derail a film which starts off with what sounds like an intern's most nasally impression of a news reader. Acting isn't really the film's forte, but the style and action don't do much to involve the audience. Passable for straight to DVD fare, but little value beyond that, with the exception of seeing Dolph in a pair of glasses. That's why you sit through to the end of the film, and he wears them well. (Andrew Jones)
The Aggression Scale is a suburban thriller from up and coming genre director Steven C. Miller, taking cues from Home Alone and First Blood to come up with a tight and exciting ride that hits some decent notes. The story concerns Owen, a young boy recently discharged from a mental health facility in order to move back in with his family. When dangerous hitmen invade their home in search of missing drug money, Owen reacts the only way he knows how- violently.
It is a neat little story to be sure, with some kinetic direction from Miller. Owen is a strange lead who doesn’t say a word through the entire running time, never quite becoming sympathetic but raising a couple of great payoff moments. There is some decent gruey violence in here, and a tight enough story to keep the attention. The tension does suffer at times due to the slightly clichéd characters feeling like borderline cyphers, but The Aggression Scale nails the idea of home invasion well enough to cement Miller’s reputation as one to watch. (Sam Faulkner)
DVD of the week: The Aggression Scale