Jennifer 8 (1992)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 10-Apr-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 120:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bruce Robinson
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Andy Garcia
Uma Thurman
Lance Henriksen
Kathy Baker
Graham Beckel
Kevin Conway
John Malkovich
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Christopher Young


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Slovenian
French
German
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Finnish
Dutch
Bulgarian
Icelandic
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Arabic
Turkish
Polish
Italian
Spanish
Romanian
Czech
Hungarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Budweiser and Coke get obvious plugs
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall quality of this video transfer is good.

    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.

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

Audio

    This is an excellent audio mix and transfer.

    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.

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

Extras

    The only extra on this DVD is the theatrical trailer.

Menu

    The menu is a 16x9 enhanced, static selection of trailer, audio options and scene selection with a mono sound grab.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is a good quality teaser for the film and is 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio track.

R4 vs R1

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

        The content of the R1 disc appears identical to the R4.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:     Both versions are equally good, and there is no compelling reason to prefer one over the other.

Summary

   This is an excellent movie with a good transfer to DVD. Demanding a high degree of concentration to catch the necessary plot details, it's probably best watched late at night when relaxed after the kids have gone to bed.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-900E, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Michael C

Comments (Add) NONE