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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Dinner Party


Starring: Lara Cox and Ben Setan
Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 12 July 2010

Angela is a highly unstable borderline psychotic. Her boyfriend has been attempting to find a way to sever their relationship with the minimal fuss, realising how she can react to certain situations. Meanwhile, Angela has arranged a dinner party, but most of the guests are friends or associates of her boyfriend. Angela's one true friend is told beforehand that the couple intend to go through with a suicide pact at the end of the evening, overdosing on heroin purchased from a local drug dealer. Word spreads of the pact, and it materialises that the boyfriend knows nothing about the arrangement. In fact, he inadvertently makes matters worse by inviting an old girlfriend with whom he has formed a new attachment. All is set up for a tense encounter...

I must admit that I expected this low budget Australian flick to be a torture porn/cannibal film, caught somewhere between Hostel and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - a not unreasonable assumption considering I'm what you might call this site's official horror correspondent (!) Instead, The Dinner Party fits into the category of suspense thriller or, more succinctly, a psychological drama.

Lara Cox plays Angela with suitably impressive aplomb; you can believe she is seriously unbalanced (every bloke's nightmare partner). However, the remainder of the cast sit around, expressions blank and impassive, as if waiting for the director to wave a pay cheque at them to inspire motivation. The film takes a curious and inexplicable stance by showing its hand right from the very beginning. Its first scenes show individual guests being interviewed at a police station. As the only person missing is Angela's boyfriend, it rather needlessly gives the ending away. The only thing left ambiguous until close to the conclusion is whether or not any of the guests listened to the alarm bells of their conscience and informed the authorities about what was likely to happen.

The Dinner Party does what it says on the tin, but contains no surprises and little of any interest. The disc comes with a Director and Producer audio commentary.


Ty Power

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