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New on DVD: Cloverfield, The Orphanage, One Missed Call

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Critics had a ball sniping at Cloverfield, complaining that its jarring thrills were empty calories without context — but in the DVD release, the filmmakers finally get their rebuttal. This secret government “document” still leaves much to the imagination when it comes to the film’s human components, but it reasserts its bid for supremacy by revealing the mind-boggling detail that was put into every single shot. Deleted scenes, alternate endings and several making-of featurettes all make a case for Cloverfield because of — not despite — its preference for gasket-blowing special effects over petty human concerns. In January I emerged from the theater feeling bumped and bruised. Getting to share in the filmmakers’ enthusiasm on DVD, however, is a ride I don’t mind going on again.

The Orphanage rubbed critics the wrong way — if the
characters’ agonizing search for their son didn’t seize you, then technically, this was just another missing child/ghost
story. Early comparisons to Pan’s Labyrinth didn’t help either, since what could ever live up to that? On DVD, however, The Orphanage
is burnished to a warm glow by featurettes that expose the nuts and
bolts of hair-raising makeup and scenic effects that director Juan
Antonio Bayona brings to a boil. And frankly, images of the little
boy’s ghostly playmates never fail to put me back in the mood to see
this movie. “Anyone with children is advised to think twice before
buying a ticket,” said the AV Club
when the film debuted. Enough hemming and hawing, already! Put the kids
to bed early, pop in the DVD, and just be grateful you’re spared the
immersive big-screen experience.

One thing that everyone seemed to agree on was that if you were going to watch One Missed Call, you might as well watch the Japanese version, Chakushin Ari, instead. I know it’s repetitive to complain about these Asian horror remakes (you know a fad is seriously
dead when even complaints about it are cliche), but seriously, who is
going to rent this movie? Kids who don’t know any better, and will
settle for whatever PG-13 claptrap they can go to with their friends,
that’s who. Parents and friends of teenagers, you owe it to tomorrow’s
generation to sit them down with a snack and a copy of an reliably
terrifying movie. 

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