From a House on Willow Street (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 17-May-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Trailer-x 5 for other Eagle Entertainment releases
Reversible Cover
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 86:19
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alastair Orr
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Sharni Vinson
Carlyn Burchell
Steven John Ward
Gustav Gerdener
Zino Ventura



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Andries Smit


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Hazel (Sharni Vinson), her boyfriend Ade (Steven John Ward) and their associates James (Gustav Gerdener) and Mark (Zino Ventura) plan to abduct Katherine (Carlyn Burchell), the daughter of a wealthy diamond merchant, from her parents’ isolated house on Willow Street and hold her for ransom. They break into the house, and although unsettled by some strange cabalistic signs on the walls they successfully abduct Katherine, take her to a deserted factory complex and send a videotaped ransom message to her parents. But in Katherine the kidnappers have abducted something far more evil than they could ever have imagined. For the house on Willow Street is haunted and Katherine has been possessed by a powerful demon that preys on tormented souls; the demon inside Katherine can read each of the kidnappers’ minds and can shapeshift and model their repressed fears and memories, seeking to harvest their souls. This is clearly not going to end well.

     From a House on Willow Street (called House on Willow Street in the US) is a film by director / co-writer/ editor Alastair Orr who certainly has a thing for horror as his previous films, The Unforgiving (2010), Expiration (2011) and Indigenous (2014), are all in this genre. I have not seen any of these films so cannot comment, but it does seem that in From a House on Willow Street Orr has tossed together every staple of the demonic possession / horror / haunted house genre into one film, paying little attention to plot, character or dialogue. The dialogue is clichéd and inane throughout and the story telling clumsy; to explain the background the group of kidnappers just happen to come into possession of two video recordings which provide all the required exposition. There is also a connection between Hazel and Katherine in the plot which goes nowhere.

     However From a House on Willow Street has a lot to offer. It wastes no time in getting going and quickly provides tension, scares and good special and make-up effects. Orr does include all the usual bits; dark corridors and woods, flickering lights, creepy effects in the surrounds including footsteps, creaks and the rattle of chains plus jump cuts and demonic reveals with sudden, loud sound effects. Indeed, once the shocks get going they are almost unrelenting as the film cuts between one character and another frequently, each character with their own “demons” being exposed by the evil within Katherine. The mostly practical make-up effects are gory, quite bloody and very effective, giving the film its justified MA rating for “strong horror themes and violence”.

     From a House on Willow Street was never going to break any new ground. It feels the need to provide a clumsy exposition, when in reality some things could be left unexplained, and some of the acting and dialogue is quite diabolical (if you pardon the pun), but when the characters stop talking and start venturing down dark corridors, through woods at night or into darkened basements (as they always do in these films) From a House on Willow Street is maddingly slick and entertaining and does deliver the required tension, shocks and gore.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     From a House on Willow Street is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print has been manipulated; some colours, including yellows, are been enhanced and most are glossy which does effect skin tones. Lighting varies; lights flicker and torches are used frequently by the characters however sharpness is very good, as are blacks, and shadow detail is such that we see what the filmmaker intends us to see. Within the film’s requirements, brightness and contrast are consistent.

     I did not notice any obvious noise reduction in the dark scenes, nor any artefacts or marks.

     There are no subtitles provided.

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

Audio

     English DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the only audio choice.

     The sound design is what one should expect from a recent horror film; the surrounds and rears are frequently in use with creaks, chains, footsteps on boards and shutting doors although the film does also use silence to create tension. Shots are sharp, crashing bodies thump nicely. Loud, sudden effects supported jump cut reveals of creatures and the sub-woofer added depth when required. The dialogue is clear.

     The original score by Andries Smit was used sparingly.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

Trailers

     Trailers for Fear Inc. (1:57), 2307 Winter’s Dream (1:58), Tell Me How I Die (2:33), Broken Vows (2:49) and Beta Test (2:14) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Reversible Sleeve

R4 vs R1

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

     There are no other Blu-ray releases of From a House on Willow Street at present; both the US and UK versions are due for release in the next few months. See it first here in Australia!

Summary

     You can smile at the clichéd dialogue and indifferent acting but where it counts From a House on Willow Street delivers. The staples of horror / possession are all there but they are done so enthusiastically that the result is entertaining as the film speeds along from one section of tension, scares and gore to the next with decent special effects. What else does one really need from a horror film?

     The video and audio are good. Trailers for other films are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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