The Hamiltons (2006)

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Released 20-Jun-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Trailer-Start-up trailers (9:11)
Audio Commentary-with directors Mitchell Altieri & Phil Flores and Cory Knauf
Deleted Scenes-Four deleted scenes (7:35)
Trailer-Trailers for Horror-themed Accent films (151:39)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 83:09 (Case: 86)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (83:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mitchell Altieri
Phil Flores
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Cory Knauf
Samuel Child
Joseph McKelheer
Mackenzie Firgens
Rebekah Hoyle
Brittany Daniel
Al Liner
Jena Hunt
Tara Glass
Larry Laverty
Joe Egender
Nicholas Fanella
Jackie Honea
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $14.95 Music Nathan Montiel
Joshua Myers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The Hamiltons is an independent 2006 horror film directed by Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, also known as the Butcher Brothers. This low-budget film won top prize at the 2007 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Malibu International Film Festival. It was also selected as one of the films deemed too graphic for the general mainstream viewing audience at the 8 Films To Die For Film Festival.

     The Hamiltons are a family of orphaned siblings trying to present themselves as a normal family after their parents are killed in a tragic accident. Unlike the 1990s television show, Party of Five, the Hamiltons are far from normal. The eldest, David (Samuel Child), is over-friendly to neighbours and social workers who periodically check-in on the family. Twins Wendell (Joseph McKelheer) and Darlene (Mackenzie Firgens) are mean, constantly arguing and picking on their older and younger siblings. They also seem to be in an incestuous relationship. The younger brother Francis (Cory Knauf), the protagonist of the film, is finding it the hardest to cope with the loss of his parents and struggles to fit into his family.

     Francis acquires a video camera and begins to prepare a school project about his family. The Hamiltons might initially seem like a family drama, until we meet the two women chained up in the basement and the mysterious Lenny locked away in a crawlspace. At this point in the film the theme of dysfunction is replaced by mystery and horror.

     David works at a slaughterhouse nearby, his skills come in handy it seems for dealing with the two girls in the basement, although it takes a while until we realise exactly how. David and Wendell lure victims to their house, and they come across as experienced at it too. When Darlene brings home her classmate, Kitty (Jena Hunt), and she falls victim to the twins, only then does it become apparent what type of family the Hamiltons are. Francis' coping mechanism with what type of people his family are is soon threatened by his attraction to one of the girls in the basement. How Francis copes with his feelings for the girls, in conflict with his feelings for his family, will determine the fate of the family overall.

     The Hamiltons attempts to be different by showing how a dysfunctional family attempts to be 'normal', thereby reversing the traditional roles of horror-film heroes and villains. It does this primarily thorough Francis and his camera. Perhaps, the film suggests, monsters have families, struggles and needs too.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Hamiltons was shot on a shoestring budget, the grainy video transfer and single set attests to this fact.

     The Hamiltons is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:78:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions. The theatrical aspect ratio was 1:85:1.

     The average bitrate is 5.93 m/b per sec. This won't offset how soft the image is though.

     Colours are saturated, to match a home video look as the action is presented through Francis' camera.

     Due to low level lighting, there is low-level noise and the image is quite grainy at times.

     Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available.

     The RSDL change on the DVD disc occurs between the main feature and the trailers for other horror-themed Accent films, so it is not noticeable at all.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The main soundtrack is similarly as constrained as the visual transfer, in line with the low-budget of the film.

     The main audio soundtrack is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps. The audio commentary is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 256 kbps.

     Dialogue is clear and synchronised.

     The musical aspect of the soundtrack features compositions by Nathan Montiel, Pete Johnson, Sol Snyder and William Storkson. These pieces can be best described as 'indie-alternative'.

     The surround mix mainly supports ambient effects, but is mainly limited to the front channels.

     The subwoofer is similarly limited as the main soundtrack, supporting ambient effects in the background and the musical soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up trailers (9:11)

     Start-up trailers for Resolution (2:05), In Their Skin (1:58), The Thompsons (2:00), Noobz (1:30) and The Holding (1:47) play sequentially. They cannot be avoided by selecting the DVD menu from the remote, but must be skipped.

Audio Commentary with directors Mitchell Altieri & Phil Flores and actor Cory Knauf

     This full-length audio commentary from the Butcher Brothers ( i.e. directors Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores) and actor Cory Knauf (who played Francis) goes into further detail about the production, the cast and other mysterious elements related to the plot of the film. Overall, I found it more engaging then the film!

Deleted Scenes (7:35)

     These four scenes were deleted to prevent the twist of the film from being revealed earlier than what it is in the main feature.

Trailers for other horror-themed Accent films (151:39)

     The second layer of this 6.52 gb DVD is taken up with two-and-a-half hours of trailers for other horror-themed Accent films. These include:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 United States DVD, Region 2 United Kingdom DVD and Region 4 Australian DVD are identical in technical specifications and extras. The only difference from the Region 4 Australian release is that the Region 1 US release includes English and Spanish subtitles, whereas the Region 2 UK release includes English subtitles only. Trailers vary also across Regions, otherwise these releases are essentially identical.

Summary

     The Hamiltons is an intriguing tale of family loyalty and depravity. Its sequel, The Thompsons, co-written by Altieri and Knauf, was released in 2012. This is another independent, low-budget horror film that fans of the genre wouldn't mind checking out.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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