Jennifer 8 (1992)
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Bruce Robinson|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Budweiser and Coke get obvious plugs|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Released in 1992, Jennifer 8 is another in the line of suspense 'whodunnit' serial killer movies that regularly grace our screens. Directed and written by Bruce Robinson, nominated for an Oscar for his script for The Killing Fields, Jennifer 8 has an intelligently written plot with plenty of clues and red herrings for the avid screen detective. The movie has an impressive range of actors, all of whom deliver credible performances, from the limpid, watery-eyed blind girl Helena played by Uma Thurman to the impassive FBI agent St. Anne, played by John Malkovich, whose screen presence and easy switch from passive policeman to malevolent interrogator marks him in a class of his own in an already strong cast.
The story centres on LA cop and crime scene investigator John Berlin (Andy Garcia), who after a time spent in the Badlands (cop slang for suicidal, chain-smoking, alcoholic oblivion) due to the break up of his marriage, transfers to the sleepy town of Eureka. The fact that it pours down with rain for eight months of the year doesn't disguise his delight in being reunited with his old sergeant Ross (Lance Henriksen) and his gorgeous wife Margie (played by Kathy Baker). Berlin's arrival is marked by the discovery of a vagrant in the local rubbish tip with his throat slashed. Initial theories of the derelict having taken his own life are shaken by the discovery of a severed hand floating in a container of surprisingly edible-looking Chinese takeaway. Berlin's popularity with his colleagues plummets as he starts to put forward the theory that this is the hand of a missing girl from the local blind institute. He manages to link this with a past unsolved murder, coded as Jennifer, and probably represents the eight victim of a serial killer, hence the title of the film - Jennifer 8.
There's lot of the usual cliches in this film; good-cop, bad-cop, cop partners and buddies and the ever-spooky helpless woman in the bathtub, surveyed by the uninvited intruder. However, the plot is fair. A second viewing of the film demonstrates the numerous clues to the final scene where all is revealed in the dramatic finale. The cinematography is fabulous and the atmosphere is masterfully regulated by the director - be warned though, this is a long, slow film and translates poorly to the small screen and TV sound. View it on a large screen with surround sound and you're in for a totally immersive experience.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video transfer is rather soft in focus, which especially in the frequent low-light scenes gives a rather grainy look. There are good levels of shadow detail and minimal low level noise.
The colours were muted but rich, which was appropriate, considering most of the action takes place in low ambient lighting, pouring rain, mist or at night. There was some chroma noise in facial features in the low light scenes.
MPEG artefacts were very infrequent. There was occasional posterization (eg Berlin's nose at 27:02). There was very mild aliasing if you looked for it on the edges of car windscreens (eg 4:02). There was a fine speckle of black film artefacts throughout the feature but these were only conspicuous when highlighted against a white background such as the fog during the opening sequence.
Subtitles were accurate and helpful in understanding some of the dialogue.
The disc is dual layered but I could not locate the transition point, which was probably lost in one of the numerous dark scenes or between scene changes.
There is one English audio track presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The foreign language versions were available in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround.
The dialogue was mostly clear although some of Lance Henriksen's comments and snide remarks weren't meant to be heard by the witness present and couldn't be heard by me either - I think this is more a reflection of the American brogue than a problem with the recording - subtitles helped revealed the sometimes vital clues that would be otherwise be lost in the transatlantic slang.
Audio sync on the English audio track was spot on and not too bad for the dubbed foreign language versions.
The musical score is by Christopher Young and is excellent. Never distracting, beautifully evoking the intended atmosphere, at times delightful, at times dramatic but always totally supportive of the events in the film.
The surrounds were well utilised throughout the film. During the rain scenes you could almost feel the water trickling down your neck as the raindrops pattered down from the rear centre(s) and the moaning winter wind whistling around the deserted buildings was almost enough to make me get up and put a coat on!
The subwoofer was appropriately utilised in the action sequences and added to the ambience of the soundscape.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:
The video quality is good
The audio quality is superb with a good surround mix and excellent supporting score.
There are next to no extras apart from a good trailer.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||ML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.|