Okay folks; let’s start up that broken record again. I never heard of Prison before, yet here I own the awesome Blu-ray from Scream Factory and here I am thinking damn, this movie was a lot of fun. It’s got a pissed off ghost, a prison setting, a young Viggo Mortensen and some crazy kills. What’s not to love?

Release: Mar 4th, 1988 
Rating: R   
Run time: 102 mins  
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Lane Smith       
Director: Renny Harlin  

Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: The spirit of a long-dead prisoner returns for revenge, haunting the prison’s new governor.

Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Review: Prison is one movie that takes its time, but thankfully, the cast is well rounded and full of great acting. It’s rare when a movie can make you like a bunch of hardnosed prisoners, but gosh darn it, Prison did it. I ended up liking pretty much all of them and I was really sad to see them dispatched in gory fashion, but also happy cause the kills are gnarly. One in particular, screamed Hellraiser to me.

If you’re going in expecting a movie that has a ghost that’s going to be popping up left and right, you’re going to be greatly disappointed. The ghost in this movie really doesn’t show up until the very end and it’s only for a few seconds. The rest of the film just sees things moving by themselves, or beams of white light that represent its presence. It didn’t bother me that much, although I would’ve enjoyed seeing the ghost a little more, as the effects on him looked pretty neat.

Hellraiser all the way!

Everyone in the movie does a stand-up job, with Viggo Mortensen having front credit, but honestly, he isn’t in the movie front and center all the time. Instead, we get to focus on all sorts of prisoners and staff, such as Lane Smith as the grizzled warden, who looks like he’s seen it all and has a whole lot of buried secrets that aren’t staying buried. One role that seemed a little wasted was Chelsea Field as Katherine. It seems like she was only in the movie to fill the female quota, as she doesn’t really do much. Plus, she falls in love with certain prisoners way too easily me thinks.

Blu-ray Features:

– Audio Commentary with Director Renny Harlin

– Hard Time: The Making of “Prison” – An all-new retrospective with Director Renny Harlin, Producer Irwin Yablans, Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner, Actor Tom Everett, Stunt Coordinator Kane Hodder, Special Makeup Effects Creator John Carl Buechler, and more

– U.S. Theatrical Trailer

– Poster & Still Gallery

– Original First-Draft Screenplay (PDF format)

Verdict: Prison is a great ghost tale, full of murder, mayhem and a cast that’s both likable and talented. The ghost of the tale might only really show up near the end, but his presence is felt throughout, especially when the gory bits start flying. Highly recommended!


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