Three neat new DVDs have come across our desk and minds . . . and so we share.
Two brothers calmly record their gruesome crimes in the buzzed-about horror document Infliction, which takes the found-footage genre to the next unbearable level. The deeply unsettling shocker will have home viewers double-locking their doors when it arrives on DVD and VOD from Virgil Films.
Writer-director Jack Thomas Smith put himself on the horror movie map in 2006 with the cult psychological thriller Disorder. Now, with Infliction, he upends conventions and expectations to deliver a stunning and utterly surprising thriller that has already developed strong word-of-mouth based on its select theatrical screenings, including at New York City's venerable Anthology Film Archives.
With Infliction, Smith assembled footage taken from the cameras used by two psychotic brothers, who documented a murder spree in North Carolina in 2011. Unlike its predecessors The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, which relied on sparse visual evidence of supernatural activity, the film reveals in shiver-inducing detail the brothers' hideous actions and what led them to commit their crimes. It shows the effects of people's actions (or inactions) and their effect on others' lives, presenting in cold reality a hard look at the blurred line between society's criminals and its victims.
The film screened at the 2013 Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, where Smith won the award for Best Story in a Feature.
"Working on Infliction left me troubled and haunted," the filmmaker said. "It left me thinking about people's actions or lack thereof and the inevitable domino effect. We all walk our own path in life, which shapes and defines us. What happens to us today, good or bad, will affect generations to come."
You're on your own.
Is there a greater film noir masterpiece than Detour? The flick has been digitally restored and available on DVD from Film Chest Media Group.
A down-on-his-luck nightclub pianist, Al Roberts (Tom Neal), leaves New York to join his girlfriend in Hollywood. With little money to his name, he hitches a ride with a shady bookie, Charles Haskell, Jr. (Edmund MacDonald). But when the driver mysteriously dies, Al–fearful he will be accused of murder–takes the man’s cash, clothes, car and identification.
Continuing on his journey under his new guise, Al picks up the beautiful Vera (Ann Savage), who coincidentally has been given a ride by Haskell earlier. When he identifies himself as the dead man, the femme fatale catches on and immediately turns to blackmail.
When Vera learns Haskell’s wealthy father has fallen ill, she forces Al to continue his ruse to collect an inheritance from the millionaire who hadn’t seen his son in years. But every move Al makes plunges him deeper into trouble ... and one wrong turn may prove fatal.
Film Chest Media Group is also releasing At War With the Army. In typical Martin and Lewis style, Martin plays the ladies’ man with a crooner’s voice while Lewis brings on the laughter in the duo’s first starring roles on the silver screen in the classic, song and gag-filled comedy, digitally restored in HD for the first time.
When former best friends and songwriting partners Vic Puccinelli (Dean Martin) and Alvin Korwin (Jerry Lewis) enlist in the U.S. Army, First Sergeant Puccinelli excels through training camp while low-ranking Private First Class Korwin is put on K.P. duty due to his bumbling incompetence.
When the ragtag group of recruits, including a pregnant post exchange worker, a company commander who gets all his information from his wife, a scheming supply sergeant … and a defective Coca Cola machine, goes from one mishap to another, they realize the Army isn’t everything they hoped it would be.