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Curfew (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Curfew (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: February 22nd, 2022.
    Director: Gary Winick
    Cast: Kyle Richards, Wendell Wellman, John Putch, Frank Miller, Jean Brooks
    Year: 1989
    Purchase From Amazon

    Curfew – Movie Review:

    Directed by Gary Winick, his feature film debut, and written by Kevin Kennedy and primarily made by a crew right out of film school, 1989's Curfew tells the story of Ray (Wendell Wellman) and Bob Perkins (John Putch), two brothers who, when the film begins, are doing time on death row after being convicted of mass murder. Soon after, however, this terrible twosome manage to break free from their cell and, free men once again, they decide to visit the witnesses, the judge and the District Attorney – Walter Davenport (Frank Miller) - that put them in the slammer in the first place.

    After killing off a few of the witnesses, the Perkins Brothers find their way to the District Attorney’s house and make their way in to wreak havoc with Walter and his poor wife Megan (Jean Brooks). Things are going fine for the Perkins’ and their plan, until Stephanie (Kyle Richards who played Lindsay in Halloween more than a decade earlier!), Walter’s teenaged daughter, arrives home from a late night out.

    Curfew isn’t going to win any awards for originality, we’ve seen movies where escaped criminal go out for revenge more than a few times before, but it does add a few decent twists to its otherwise somewhat pedestrian storyline in its second half that keep us engaged. Winick, who passed away in 2011 at the all too young age of forty-nine, does a solid job with the directing, showing a knack for genre material that would stand in stark contrast with his softer, more mainstream work like Charlotte’s Web and 13 Going On 30. If it won’t necessarily keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, it does a decent enough job of establishing characters, good guys and bad guys, to ensure that we want to know how all of this is going to play out.

    The productions are a bit uneven here. Richards is alright as the female lead, but never amazing. She looks good and handles herself well in the scenes where she’s required to look frightened, however, so she works. Millerand Brooks as her parents aren’t really all that memorable but neither are they particularly bad, just sort of generic. The bad guys steal the show, however, with John Putch and especially Wendell Wellman doing a great job of playing things just close enough to over the top to create some memorably menacing villains.

    Production values aren’t half bad at all. The score from Cengiz Yaltkaya won’t floor you but it’s decent enough and the cinematography from Makoto Watanabe, who went back to his native Japan after this film was made to go on to have a pretty solid career, is definitely good if a few steps short of great. As this was made on a modest budget it shouldn’t be too surprising to note that it isn’t a particularly effects heavy more. That means minimal gore in the kill scenes, some of which take place off screen. But Winick and company get more right than wrong, and for an independently produced feature debut, Curfew is pretty good stuff.

    Curfew – Blu-ray Review:

    Curfew arrives on Region Free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 25.3GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Taken from a new 2k restoration from a 35mm interpositive, the transfer is solid. It’s definitely on the grainy side but never distractingly so, it just looks like film. Detail is quite strong, even in the many darker, interior scenes. Colors look good, they’re reproduced naturally without ever looking boosted, and black levels are fine. The image is free of any noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement issues and you’ll be hard pressed to find any compression artifacts here.

    An English language audio option is provided in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo with optional subtitles provided in English only. No problems to note here, the track is clean and properly balanced. The dialogue is easy to understand and follow and the score has some pretty good depth to it.

    The first of two featurettes on the disc is Mind Games, an interview with actor Wendell Wellman that runs for eighteen minutes. He talks about playing Ray Perkins in the film, how he got into both acting and writing, how acting is his passion, his training at UCLA, some of the connections he made in his younger days, getting the role in Curfew, what Gary Winick was like to work with, getting along with the other cast members on the shoot, what it was like on the set, how his work on Curfew landed him some other parts and how he feels about the film over all.

    Up next is Still Scary, an interview with Editor Carole Kravetz Aykanian which clocks in at fourteen minutes. She talks about how most of the crew on Curfew were all familiar with each other from film school, how she hadn't worked much as an editor before working on this picture, her thoughts on the script, how she feels lucky to have gotten into editing at this point in time, how the experience working on Curfew led to her working on bigger projects, how much fun she had working on the project and how she prefers to look back on the making of the movie as an experience she shared with her film school group.

    The film’s original trailer, menus and chapter selection finish up the extras on the disc.

    Also check out the nice reversible cover sleeve that has been provided here. Those who dig slipcovers can get a very nice one featuring some embossed artwork by Haunt Love that is limited to 5000 pieces by purchasing this disc straight from the Vinegar Syndrome website.

    Curfew - The Final Word:

    Curfew isn’t going to change your life but it’s a decent lower budgeted film that, despite some flaws, succeeds in building tension in its later half. Those looking for a gore fest won’t get much out of this but there are some nice twists here and this turns out to be a pretty solid thriller. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray looks and sounds quite nice and the two interviews do a nice job of filling in the blanks on this underseen film’s backstory.



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