Hypnotic (Doctor Sleep/Close Your Eyes) (2002)

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Released 9-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Trailer-Slash, Sol Goode
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer-2
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 98:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nick Willing
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Goran Visnjic
Paddy Considine
Shirley Henderson
Miranda Otto
Corin Redgrave
Claire Rushbrook
Fiona Shaw
Josh Richards
Sarah Woodward
Andrew Woodall
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Simon Boswell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

"The Deeper the Sleep,
The Darker the Fear."

"You Won't Snap Out Of It."
   
Dr. Michael Strother (Goran Visnjic) is about to learn the important lesson that you can always run, but you can never hide. He has set up a quickie cash-only one man stop smoking hypnotism clinic in the suburbs of London. In the hopes of starting a new life for himself and his heavily pregnant American wife and young daughter, Michael works for cash treating people through hypnosis in an effort to end their addiction to cigarettes. For the most part he's successful, but it's when he receives a visit from a young woman, Janet Losey (Shirley Henderson), that things begin to unravel.

    Whilst seemingly successful in curing Janet from her addiction to cigarettes, it's a passing comment about what Janet has seen during her time under hypnosis by Dr. Strother that dramatically impacts on the young woman. At once understanding that Dr. Strother can perhaps see more that what meets the eye, Janet reveals her full identity, a police inspector. Janet has been working on a case involving several murders, collectively known as the 'Tattoo Murders'. Several young children have been found in the London area dead, all with the same cause of death: foreign blood injected in their veins and strange tattoos on their bodies. Janet Losey has been working on the case, and when Michael Strother is able to describe the only survivor of the Tattoo Murders from a vision in her own head under hypnosis, Janet knows that she might have a lead on the case. The only problem is that Dr. Strother isn't all that interested in helping Janet on the case. When she points out that he works for cash and that the tax department might be somewhat interested in his business, he quickly becomes compliant, although reluctantly so.

    The only survivor of the Tattoo Murders is a young girl held in protective custody by the police, and ever since her traumatic experience she has been unable to speak a word. Under hypnosis by Dr. Strother, the young victim is able to mutter a few incoherent phrases while the doctor strangely is visited by the images of an older man while his subject is under hypnosis. Although he wishes that he could ignore these images, he knows that they are linked to the case and the perpetrator of the crime. Meanwhile, the doctor's wife Clara (Miranda Otto), is becoming suspicious of the relationship between her husband and the police detective.

    As the pair delve deeper into the strange abduction of the young girl, they come to the knowledge of a strange man, Francis Paladine, that believed that he could keep his consciousness alive forever. As the two come closer to the truth, they find that he just may have been right, despite having been dead for 500 years!

    This is one of those strange cases when we in Region 4 get the film before its theatrical release in Region 1. When you find that this is an English thriller with a largely foreign cast, it begins to be a bit understandable as to why. While Goran Visnjic is known to many for his portrayal of Dr. Luka Kovac in the popular U.S. programme E.R., this young Croatian actor is probably otherwise largely unknown. As I've not seen many episodes of E.R., I wasn't aware of his identity. That said, Goran, along with the rest of the cast from this production do a reasonably good job here.

    Filmed in 2002 with a modest budget, Director Nick Willing has done a good job here in making something that is fairly engaging and entertaining. While not in the same league as thrillers like Se7en and The Sixth Sense (predictable as it was), this is still far better than its straight to video release here (although it did receive a limited theatrical release here in Region 4 in November, 2003) might indicate. The performances are quite good with Visnjic and Henderson doing a great job with the balance of fear and attraction in their character's relationships. Miranda Otto is good, although she seems wasted here as the character she plays is easily within her grasp as an actor and not as challenging as you might hope. She does a good job, but she really doesn't have to try here and the role of a transposed American housewife could have easily been played by an American actor. Perhaps she needed the practice, but it isn't even a stretch. The direction of Nick Willing is good and provides all the required (and expected) scares and frights that we always want to see in these films. They might be quite formulaic and by the book, but they work a treat and if you aren't too careful, you'll find yourself jumping out of your skin from time to time.

    If you are after a bit of a fun thriller and a fright on a cold and dark winter's night, then this might fit the bill. Don't demand too much from it and it'll do the job. A bit of simple fun, and not for the squeamish, either.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    We get a reasonable transfer here, which is amongst the first DVD releases of this title worldwide (Region 2 had it first).

    This feature is presented in the quite wide aspect ratio of 2.40:1 with the appropriate 16x9 enhancement. In watching some of the trailers available, I get the impression that this film was filmed in a full frame format of some sort, either Super 35 mm or the Spherical 35 mm format, although I'd doubt it would be the latter as this is frequently used on films intended for the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. While watching it on a 76 cm widescreen television, I really didn't notice the narrowness of the image, but after watching it again on a 68 cm 4x3 television, it's truly dramatic as to how much a 2.40:1 presentation is a small strip in the middle of a sea of black. If you hate 'Those annoying black bars' on your television, and you have a 4x3 television, then you'll really hate this.

    The image here for the most part is quite clear and I had no real issues with overall clarity. There is a real presence of grain here, but not to an extent that it hampers clarity and it isn't a huge problem. There are quite a few darker scenes in this film and a decent level of shadow detail wouldn't go astray. Thankfully, we get a competent level of shadow detail here and we see what we are meant to see during the presentation. I had no problems with low level noise.

    Colour's use during this film is quite natural, although it is a bit cold and harsh in palette (which might accurately depict the London cityscape). Colour's transfer to DVD here seems quite good and accurate in terms of what the filmmakers intended.

    This film is transferred at an average bitrate of 5.72 Mb/s, which is reasonable enough to provide a clear image largely free of MPEG nasties. The print used for this transfer is quite clean and only the occasional nick and fleck is evident. Apart from the noticeable grain (slight), there is little to fault this transfer. Edge enhancement didn't seem to be a problem and aliasing seemed to be kept at bay for the most part.

    This disc features no subtitles of any sort.

    This disc is formatted RSDL with the layer change located at 98:58 between Chapters 12 and 13. It is an appropriate place for the change and not disruptive at all.

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

Audio

    We get a reasonable audio transfer here.

    There are 2 audio options with this programme, both in English. We have the choice of either Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kb/s or 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. I listened to the 5.1 mix.

    I found the dialogue quality to be fairly good, but because of the sometimes heavy accents heard during the programme, I at times wished to go to the subtitle stream to see exactly what was said. Since there is no subtitle stream with this title, I had to forget this and just attempt to listen harder. That said, I had no real problems with dialogue clarity and for the most part the spoken word is understandable. I also found audio sync to be quite good.

    Music for this feature come from U.K. film composer Simon Boswell. Simon would be known for his scores of films such as the cult classic Hardware, Young Soul Rebels, Shallow Grave and Perdita Durango. The music here completely suits the material and is mysterious and creepy when required.

    Although presented with a 5.1 soundtrack, the rear effects here for the most part are of an atmospheric style and not gimmicky.

    There is some level of LFE here, noticeable at 26:24 with the train. Otherwise the subwoofer dutifully backs up the front main channels.

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

Extras

    We get a couple of extras here, but not a whole lot.

Menu

    After the normal copyright warnings, we are taken to an anti pirate trailer that is intended for Region 2 U.K. as well as Region 4 Australia / New Zealand audiences. This is presented by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). After this promo, we are taken to 2 theatrical trailers for the films Slash and Sol Goode.

Theatrical Trailer - Slash   -   2:34

    Trailer for the 2002 horror / slasher film directed by Neal Sundstrom. Presented full frame with audio in English Dolby Digital 2.0.

Theatrical Trailer - Sol Goode  -   2:23

    Trailer for the 2001 sex comedy staring Balthazar Getty, Tori Spelling, Robert Wagner and Carmen Electra. Presented full frame with audio in English Dolby Digital 2.0.

    After these distractions, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced while the Main Menu features audio from the film's soundtrack. After selecting the Special Features icon, you are offered the following: Extended Theatrical Trailer   -   4:17

    This is an overkill of a trailer that goes on and on and gives away way too much of the story. I get the impression that this trailer was created to show people in the entertainment review industry so they could talk about the film without having to watch the thing. This, along with the interviews, seem to have been made for media promotion and not necessarily for extras on a DVD. I'd steer clear of this until you've seen the film. Presented in 2.35:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0

Theatrical Trailer   -   2:03

    This is your normal trailer and one that has featured on the internet fairly prominently over the last few months due to its impending U.S. theatrical release (April, 2004). It sets up the film well without giving away too much. Presented in 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Interviews   -   Total Running Time - 21:07

    These are a series of interview snippets, and seem more suited for short grabs or soundbites (they are titled as such on this disc) to be used on an entertainment show such as Entertainment Tonight. We don't get the full interviews here and the majority of these run less than one minute. They provide a limited insight into the production of the film and seem to be more for the promotion of the movie than anything else. Still, we have some input from the major players in the film, both in front as well as behind the camera. These are presented full frame with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Goran Visnjic: as Michael Strother   -   2:43

Shirley Henderson: as D.I. Losey   -   3:32 Miranda Otto: as Clara Strother   -   2:55 Paddy Considine: as Elliot   -   2:54 Nick Willing: Writer / Director   -   5:12 Michele Camarda: Producer   -   3:51

R4 vs R1

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

     This film has only just been released in Region 1 theatrically (as of April 23, 2004), so we won't see a DVD from that region for at least several months. At this time, the only other release has been in Region 2 with a version made available in the Netherlands.

     In comparison to the Dutch disc, the Region 4 version misses out on:

     The Region 2 version misses out on:

     If you are a major fan of this film, then it looks like the Region 2 disc is the one with the best options, both in terms of sound options as well as extras. Still, it isn't an overwhelming win and the Region 4 disc still represents decent value.

Summary

     Whist not the most original thing that I've ever seen, this is still an interesting thriller with a few frights thrown in for the bargain. We've seen this type of film from the U.S. a million times, but it's always interesting to see this type of thing done by the British, who seem to take things from a slightly different angle. If a fun fright on a cold winter's night is your desire, then this'll be right up your alley.

     The video is quite good.

     The audio is good.

     There are a couple of simple extras that seem intended for broadcast rather than as extras on a DVD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Monday, May 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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