John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned (Blu-ray / Movie Review)
I’m sure a majority of us can all agree that John Carpenter’s work started to degrade as the mid ’90s rolled around, with his last really good movie probably being In the Mouth of Madness, released in 1994. In 1995, JC decided it would be neat to remake the classic Village of the Damned for some odd reason and we got an okay effort, nothing spectacular, but not awful either. It’s a movie that most certainly is not needed, but it isn’t the awful travesty that many make it out to be. Fabulous Films sees that, so they decided to release the movie on Blu-ray in Region 2 areas and overall the effort is not bad. It lacks special features and the video quality is nothing to write home about, but it’s certainly better than having no Blu-ray release, as is the case in North America.
DISCS: 1 RUN-TIME: 94 min ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1 RESOLUTION: 1080p AUDIO: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 LANGUAGE: English SUBTITLES: No REGION: B RATING: 15 PRODUCTION DATE: 1995
From the master of suspense, John Carpenter, comes a chilling new version of the sci-fi classic. Something is terribly wrong in the tiny village of Midwich. After an unseen force invades a quiet coastal town, ten woman find themselves pregnant.
Local physician Dr. Alan Chaffee (Christopher Reeve-Superman) and government scientist Dr. Susan Verner (Kirstie Ally) join forces when the woman simultaneously give birth…and the reign of terror begins. The people of Midwich must try to find a way to stop the children in the Village of the Damned. Also starring, Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Why? That’s the biggest question about this movie. Why was it needed? It offered nothing new, save for some colour, more kills and a change of scenery. It’s a completely unnecessary remake and the only reason it probably made any sort of money was due to Carpenter’s name being attached. Now, with all that said, I don’t hate the movie. There isn’t anything overly wrong that stands out and makes it a terrible film. The acting is not bad, all the way from our lead actor Christopher Reeve, to the strangely always sweaty priest played by Mark Hamill. Everyone does what they are paid to do and that’s fine. Heck, even the children aren’t bad, with a very young Thomas Dekker stealing the show as the blond alien-child with a heart of gold. The story has no big issues, seeing how it’s pretty much the same as the B&W original. Although, I do have to say, I did have a problem with the pacing in this movie. We speed through the years at the beginning, yet the movie makes it seem like it was only a couple days. Now, if it was only a few days, that would’ve been damn creepy to see these children grow that fast, but alas, it is years as mentioned by one character, but the movie just fails to convey that properly.
Fabulous Films has released this on a standard Blu-ray package. Nothing special has gone into releasing this movie, as the video is looking fine, but not spectacular. Oddly enough, the beginning few minutes of the movie has black bars on the sides, which disappear for the rest of the runtime. It’s a little distracting at first, but I’ll admit, I didn’t even notice that they disappeared. As for any DNR? I didn’t notice any excessive waxy look, but there is a slight amount of DNR involved. Audio is limited to the default of 5.1 and it’s fine. Like I said, it’s a standard release and even the special features show that, with one trailer for the movie and that’s it.
I think my go to response for Village of the Damned when someone asks me how it is would be “It’s alright.” I just don’t see the reason for the movie to exist, except to pay the bills. However, this is all just my opinion and if you happen to like it and want to own it on Blu-ray, than the Fabulous Films release is the way to go. Not much more can be said for this remake of a classic and if you haven’t already checked it out, maybe give it a shot, but honestly, you’re better off sticking with the original.