The Acid House (1998)

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Released 8-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 106:34 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Paul McGuaigan

Shock Entertainment
Starring Stephen McCole
Ewen Bremmer
Kevin McKidd
Maurice Poeves
Martin Clunes
Jemma Redgrave
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.49:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    From the writer of Trainspotting (Irvine Welsh) and directed by Paul McGuaigan comes this film featuring not one but three different stories told sequentially. Set in an industrial, working class city in Scotland, this is gritty realism at, well, its most real I suppose.

    The first story is called The Granton Star Cause and tells the story of a generally worthless young bloke by the name of Boab or Bob (Stephen McCole). His life has just dropped into the gutter after his girl dumps him, his parents boot him out of home and he loses his job. Then he bumps into God, in the form of a slovenly middle-aged bloke, at his local watering hole. God is a man who likes to swear a great deal (in fact every character going uses the F and C words to near exhaustion). God doesn't think much of Bob and decides to make his day even better and so turns him into a fly (yes a fly). I'm not going to spoil the rest of this twisted tale as the story is almost indescribable past this point as it takes a real right turn out of reality, but it does involve some revenge (from the fly).

    The second story is called The Soft Touch and is about Johnny (Kevin McKidd), a fella who is, well, a bit of a soft touch. He gets married to some local tart with extremely loose morals and gets her pregnant (at least he thinks it is his). Once the baby arrives he finds that he is the one left at home while she goes out at night and has a good time getting sloshed and playing up. When a new tenant moves in to the flat above in the form of a local thug named Alec (Tam Dean Burn) his life takes another turn when Alec starts drinking his beer, stealing his power, eating his food, and also helping himself to his wife.

    The third story shares the title of the film (The Acid House) and revolves around Coco Bryce (Ewen Bremmer). Coco takes a trip and manages to somehow switch places with a newborn baby (a very bad rubber one - it's not real). The baby belongs to Rory (Martin Clunes from Men Behaving Badly). All manner of strange scenes ensue with the baby thinking like Coco and Coco basically vegies out in hospital as a baby. Strange.

    I can't say that I appreciated any of this. If there was some artistic metaphor being communicated then I missed it amongst the vulgarity, profanity, and just plain silly, sick, humour. Not really to my taste and not a film I will be returning to often (probably not at all).

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Transfer Quality


    Not a real flash video transfer, featuring lots of noise and plenty of artefacts. I guess this adds to the gritty realism that is a trademark of the film.

    Despite an original theatrical aspect of 1.85:1, we get an almost full screen pan & scan effort, in an unusual aspect of 1.49:1. The transfer is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer exhibits only average sharpness throughout with a generally hard edge to the video. It is a very grainy picture all round here, especially in the exterior scenes (try the scenes around the 26:00 minute mark for some horrendous grain). There is also quite a smattering of low level noise throughout.

    Colours are reasonably well rendered, though I think portraying a vibrant palette in a working class industrial city would not have been what the director would have intended to achieve. Colours display no evidence of bleeding or oversaturation.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts and film-to-video artefacts were kept to a minimum. There was some minor shimmer on the odd surface here and there, nothing to get too worried about. Film artefacts were a different matter. There's quite a large one at 13:01 at the extreme right of the picture which is very noticeable and a reel change marking at 16:11. The former is pretty much the norm throughout the film, in addition to the usual white marks and scratches. The latter occurs a couple more times throughout.

    Not much of a choice with the subtitles I'm afraid. They're burnt into the picture and cannot be turned off. It's quite strange watching a film that you know is recorded in English, but still having subtitles all the way through. The Scottish brogue is very very strong and the subtitles do help in the understanding immensely.

    This is a single sided, single layer disc only.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio track for selection, this being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort.

    Dialogue is very difficult to understand, being spoken with a thick Scottish accent. The subtitles help, thankfully, as much of the dialogue is delivered so fast and so mumbled that you would barely recognize it as English. There are no apparent audio sync issues.

    The music is provided as a series of songs from the likes of The Chemical Brothers, The Verve, Oasis, and even Nick Cave. Probably about the only highlight of the whole viewing experience.

    There was no surround use and the sub only popped up to fill in the bottom end occasionally.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer

    Running for 1:54 minutes, this trailer is presented in a non 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Gives some idea as to the very strange events to follow.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is coded for all regions and from the information that I can gather the Region 1 offering is the same as ours. The Region 2 disc is substantially different and features a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track and more importantly a 1.85:1 aspect ratio complete with 16x9 enhancement. It does apparently lack the subtitles though which could make the dialogue a tad confusing.

    If you really need to purchase this disc then the Region 2 offering is certainly the one to go for.


    The Acid House features extreme profanity and is a vulgar and just plain sick film.

    The video transfer is disappointing given the treatment that the Region 2 disc received. It is grainy and presented full screen.

    The audio is unremarkable but does the job. Thank goodness for the subtitles or I wouldn't have been able to work out what the heck was going on.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, December 29, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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