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The Long Night (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Ian Jane

  • The Long Night (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: April 5th, 2022.
    Director: Rich Ragsdale
    Cast: Scout Taylor-Compton, Nolan Gerard Funk, Jeff Fahey, Kevin Ragsdale, Deborah Kara Unger
    Year: 2022
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Long Night – Movie Review:

    The Long Night, which debuted on Shudder last year, starts in New York City where we meet a young woman named Grace (Scout Taylor-Compton) who grew up without ever knowing her parents. She and her beau, Jack (Nolan Gerard Funk) seem to have a pretty decent life together, but it’s understandably that Grace wants to know more about the people who brought her into this world. When she word from a man named Frank (King Orba) who has been investigating who her parents really were that he’s got a lead, she’s excited to accept his invitation to head south with Jack in tow to stay at his place, conveniently located in the middle of nowhere, and hopefully put an end to this mystery.

    They arrive as planned, but Frank is nowhere to be seen but they decide to make themselves comfortable in the massive plantation style home. It isn’t long before strange things start happening – Grace is attached by a venomous snake in the kitchen and strange, arcane objects are soon discovered about the property. Soon their phones start acting funny and their car isn’t working right. With no way to get back to civilization or anyway to call for help, Grace and Jack quickly find themselves surrounded by cloaked, mask-wearing cultists who seem to want something from Grace…

    You can figure out where this one is going pretty quickly well before The Long Night hits its half way mark, and it’s a shame that there wasn’t more of an effort to infuse the storyline with some more originality than we get. Rife with one cliché after the next, those who have seen more than a few genre films aren’t going to find many surprises here, it all feels very much ‘by the numbers’ and that’s a shame, because there are definitely aspects of this that director Rich Ragsdale and company get right. The visuals are very strong, from the start in the bustling Manhattan neighborhood where Grace and Jack live to the quaint country home they wind up in to the dark woods lit only by moonlight where their travels take them. The cinematography is very strong here and while a lot of the movie takes place in the dark, the movie’s visuals still manage to provide some nice use of color to compliment and sometimes contrast with the more frequent shadowy atmosphere that the filmmakers were obviously going for.

    Performances are decent enough, but the actors’ work is hampered by some crummy characterizations. Grace is likeable, she seems like a sweet woman and Taylor-Compton does a nice job of embodying that, but it sort of stops there, because there isn’t much to the character. Jack, on the other hand, is a dislikeable, pompous jerk and it’s hard to feel much of anything positive towards him, even when he’s inevitably put through the ringer as the cultists encroach on him and Grace. Orba is decent enough in his supporting role and it’s fun to see Jeff Fahey and Deborah Kara Unger both pop up in smaller parts in the film.

    To his credit, Ragsdale, in addition to getting the visuals right, paces the film nicely. It doesn’t waste the audiences time and gets into the cult angle pretty quickly. While, sadly, this would seem to have come at the expense of actual character development, at least it keeps things moving towards a very predictable but nicely executed finale.

    The Long Night – Blu-ray Review:

    The Long Night arrives on Blu-ray from Well Go USA on a 25GB region free disc with the feature taking up 17.5GBs of space on the disc and framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. As this was shot in high definition on digital camera, the AVC encoded 1080p high definition picture doesn’t show any dirt, damage or grain. Colors are reproduced nicely and accurately and we get good black levels. Detail is generally strong here, though some scenes with fog look softer, obviously. Some mild compression artifacts can be spotted here and there but there aren’t any serious issues in that regard and all in all, this looks quite good.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 16-bit DTS-HD 5.1 track, with optional subtitles offered in English only. Audio quality is strong, with solid bass response and good directional activity noticeable throughout the film. The rear channels are used nicely to build some appreciable atmosphere, while the score sounds really good. No problems with any hiss or distortion to note and the levels remain properly balanced throughout the film.

    Director Rich Ragsdale provides a commentary track that proves to be worth listening to. Joined by writer Robert Sheppe and editor Jay Gartland, they three go over pretty much all the basics of the making of the film, discussing how Ragsdale came to direct the film after the first two directors bailed, his thoughts on the script, filming on location in South Carolina, the importance of getting the right amount of back story for the main characters, how it took almost two years to get the movie made, what scenes were trimmed down in post, how they got around working on a lower budget by getting creative with some of the camerawork, the film's score, working with the different cast and crew members, changes that were made from the first draft of the script and loads more.

    A short film called The Loop, also directed by Ragsdale, runs for eight minutes and is set in the eighties where a kid named Mikey, his older brother Tommy and the older brother's girlfriend watch a horror movie called The Loop. As they do, the older kids make out while the younger boy gets drawn into the film where a Freddy Kruger-esque killer with a burned face and an infinity symbol branded on his head kills a lovely blonde. When the kid reacts, he's zapped into the film by the killer and chased through the house, looking for a way to escape back into the 'real world.' It's a fun short, well-made and pretty entertaining.

    The disc also includes a three-part behind the scenes featurette that runs a nineteen minutes and shows some interesting footage shot on set showing the effects team doing their thing, performers getting made up and into character and Ragsdale directing his cast and crew. It also covers the look of the film, composing the score.

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Well Go USA properties (Unwelcome, 6:45 and Row 19), menus and chapter selection options.

    The Long Night – The Final Word:

    The Long Night has some great visuals on display and decent enough acting from its principal cast members, but the story is rife with clichés and that, unfortunately, hurts things. The film isn’t a waste by any stretch, but it does struggle to tell a story we haven’t heard before. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray release does look and sound quite good and the extra features included on the disc are solid.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized The Long Night Blu-ray screen caps!

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