Midnight Vendetta (Thy Neighbor's Wife) (2000)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 88:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jay Andrews
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Kari Wuhrer
Jeff Trachta
Barbara Crampton
Michael Cavanaugh
Larry Poindexter
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Chuck Cirino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I guess I should have heeded the warning signs. This film can't seem to make up its mind what its title ought to be: It was released straight to video in the United States initially as Poison, then renamed Thy Neighbour's Wife, and now it is available in Region 4 as a rental-only title called Midnight Vendetta.

    The plot is a cross between The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Poison Ivy, with lots of soft porn scenes thrown in to titillate (pun intended) the audience.

    Basically, Ann (Kari Wuhrer) tries to help her husband land a big contract by sleeping with a prospective client. Well, the client is happy, but her husband Chris (Larry Poindexter) not only misses out on the promotion he has been waiting for but gets retrenched and replaced by a woman - Nicole (Barbara Crampton). Unable to face the shame and disappointment, he drives off one night and commits suicide.

    Ann blames the CEO of the company, Mr. Slider (Jay Richardson), as well as Nicole for the death of her husband, and decides to have her revenge by killing them and their families. The former is easily disposed off - she breaks into their house, turns the gas on, punctures a light bulb, and then waits for a big explosion as someone switches on the light in the kitchen.

    For some reason, she decides on a much more elaborate plan to get rid of Nicole. First, she sneaks in to the house to kill the live-in maid Karina (Peggy Trentini) in a parody of the Psycho shower scene, then offers herself as a replacement. Once she has installed herself into Nicole's household, she works on killing Nicole slowly by diluting her insulin medication, then proceeds to seduce husband Scott (Jeff Trachta) and son David (Seth Adam Jones) whilst making friends with wayward daughter Darla (Melissa Stone).

    The script must have been penned by a male, because the female characters are one dimensional stereotypes: Nicole is a b****, Darla is a bimbo and Ann is the succubus. By contrast, the male roles show more depth - even poor Chris displays a range of emotions and motivations in his brief 5 minute appearance at the beginning of the film. The production quality is pretty mediocre, the plot holes are gigantic, and all-in-all this is a pretty cheap C-grade erotic thriller.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Of course, we all know bad films get good transfers, so chalk this one up as yet another piece of supportive evidence. This is a widescreen 1.78:1 transfer, 16x9 enhanced, which is somewhat surprising given its direct-to-video release.

    Black levels, contrast and colour saturation are pretty close to reference quality. Detail levels are pretty high, particularly in close-ups of faces - I could even distinguish between the natural skin colour and the shade of make-up applied on the actresses, which by the way comes from the Maybelline and Cover Girl school of thickly applied pastel shades.

    The film source is also very clean, apart from occasional instances of fairly severe grain, which I attribute to the low production qualities of this film.

    There is an English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track available. This provides brief descriptions of the background music, and positions the subtitles below the character speaking instead of using dialogue attribution.

    This is a single sided single layered disc.

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

Audio

    We miss out on the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track available on the Region 1 version, and have to settle for an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s) audio track.

    Despite the absence of the "surround encoding" flag, the audio track decodes very well with Dolby Pro Logic II engaged and I can hear numerous instances of Foley effects from rear channels - particularly during the rain and thunderstorm scenes. I can also hear many instances of Foley effects being panned across the front channels.

    This is a fairly loud audio track, with dialogue normalization set to +4dB. The fidelity of the audio track is remarkably good, with dialogue coming through clearly and Foley effects such as explosions and thunderstorms rendered particularly well across the full frequency range.

    There are no audio synchronization issues. I did hear an instance of clipping distortion in the dialogue around 27:13.

    The background music is standard thriller fare, and comes across almost as a parody of the genre, except I think the clichés are meant to be taken seriously.

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

Extras

    As this is a rental only release, extras are very slim.

Menu

    Static but 16x9 enhanced.

Dolby Digital Trailer-City (0:32)

    This is the 16x9 enhanced version of the promo. Extremely loud and annoying.

Theatrical Trailer (1:25)

    This is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc (currently a rental only title) misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    It looks like Region 1 is the clear winner if you happen to like this film.

Summary

    Midnight Vendetta is an erotic thriller that seems to be loosely based on a number of other films. Watch this only if you are desperate and nothing else is available at the local video rental store.

    The video transfer is excellent but the film is rather grainy in places.

    The audio transfer is good but unfortunately we miss out on a 5.1 surround mix.

    The only extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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