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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Elisabeth Harnois, Shawn Ashmore, Hilarie Burton and Amanda Seyfried
Icon Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
ICON 10156
Certificate: 15
Available 20 October 2008

Summer is usually the time for kicking back and having fun with friends, but for Megan, her sister’s recent inexplicable suicide casts a shadow. In an effort to move forward with her life she agrees to accompany her friends to a weekend at an old lake house, but as soon as they arrive strange events occur which leads her to believe that her sister is trying to communicate from her grave. As the tension rises, a horrible secret is revealed…

Solstice (2008, 1 hr, 27 min, 1 sec) was co-written and directed by Daniet Myrick, which the jacket reminds us was the director of The Blair Witch Project. Thankfully, this film does not consist of snotty nosed kids, running aimlessly round a forest whilst I check my watch to see how much longer the hell could go on for. Boy, was that a dull film.

Elisabeth Harnois (Point Pleasant) plays our heroine and in truth does it well as she leads the audience down the chosen path by their noses. From this you can deduce that the film is much akin to a  M. Night  Shyamalan movie, somewhere between his classics and the bunch of old pooh that he seems to be making today. Don’t believe everything you see in the movie, as the last fifteen minutes will prove you horribly wrong.

It’s not just the twist in the tale which makes this a slight cut above the average, though were not talking classic here. The cast, though not quite ‘A’ listers are recognisable from some of their previous work. Amanda Seyfriend (Mamma Mia) plays Megans Zoe, Christian (Shaw Ashmore) appeared in the X-Men trilogy and Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill) plays Alicia. For a young cast they do well in fleshing out their characters, even though most of them are there as a supporting cast for the central figure of Megan.

There is much to commend the film including its atmospheric tone and visual style. That said, it takes just about forever to really get going, roughly about two thirds of the film, leaving only the remaining third to rescue the film - which it nearly does. The problem is that even at the close you're thinking: “Not bad, but I’ve seen it done better”.

The film is presented in 16:9 aspect ratio and has audio options for Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 Surround, with optional subtitles. The only extra on the disc is a full length commentary with co-writer and director Daniet Myrick, which over sells the film a little - though I do agree that this is a cut above your average teen horror film.

In the end it’s not going to scare the pants off you, but viewed as something to watch with friends over a bucket of popcorn, there are worse ways of spending an evening.


Charles Packer

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