Horror fans have been following Amusement’s tumultuous release for years now. With three supposedly planned theatrical releases (and even an eventual release over in Thailand), Amusement was eventually scrapped for theaters and instead refocused as a home video release. While that doesn’t necessarily bode well for fans of the film, the buzz around the film has ranged from absolutely horrendous to adequate and with the film finally seeing release this month, it seems possible fans of the film will finally get the answer they’ve been waiting for. Is Amusement really…well…for their amusement?
Tabitha. Shelby. Lisa. They’re longtime friends on separate life paths. But they share a horrific destination when a seemingly innocent incident from their school days comes back to terrify them. Something – someone – wants payback: warped vengeance… mind-games vengeance…taunting, shredding, slashing vengeance. Inside a stone-walled chamber of prison cells and mechanisms of doom, the three women and other victims face a fierce fight to survive. Who lives? Who dies? It’s all for someone’s Amusement. From screenwriter Jake Wade Wall (The Hitcher) and director John Simpson (Freeze Frame) comes a new film foray into horror. Turn down the lights. Turn up the fear.
I’m sure you’ve all read my reviews here where I complain about not liking horror films and this film is a key example why. It’s not that I don’t mind a good scare, but so often the films are just such huge piles of crap that I feel like I’ve wasted my time on films that should never have been made. Those who wanted Amusement to be everything they wanted from a scary clown horror film will be deeply disappointed…as this film is short, shallow and very, very stupid.
The film revolves around three girls with a past that all links back to someone in their past that wants revenge. Not only is this scenario entirely played out, but the killer of the film isn’t even all that scary. The clown’s appearance in the film is oh-so-brief and quite honestly it’s the only enjoyable part of the film. The rest of it’s just talking, running and the occasional blood spatter. As far as horror films go, this is about the tamest and lamest R rated gore film I’ve ever seen; very little gore and only the very occasionally “jump” moment that end up being so predictable you anticipate the jump before it happens.
It’s a shame that his film is such a weakly assembled piece, as the cast is relatively interesting (and what’s with the Scarlett Johannsen look-a-like?). Sure there’s the cheese that comes with horror films, but they’re at least competent enough that I didn’t switch the film off due to bad acting. Still, the rest of the film is just a total wash; the secret killer is boring, the incredibly short and disappointing appearance of the killer clown (I am scared to death of clowns, mind you. I don’t really mind the carnival ones, but when they’re made to be killers like in this film…I tend to get a bit freaked. But honestly Supernatural did a better killer clown story than this film) is even more disheartening and…well, the film is just disappointing from beginning to end.
Those who hoped for something better should just move along past this one. Warner seems to harvest quite the number of unreleased horror films (where the hell is Trick ‘R Treat? That was trailered on 300 and I genuinely want to see that film) and this is another victim of bad writing and poor directing. Skip It.
Surprise, surprise! This film actually received a Blu-ray release, for some unknown reason. The set itself arrives in a standard single disc Elite Blu-ray case with a cardboard slipcover that mimics the art underneath, while the only insert inside is one for Blu-ray player firmware upgrade notices. Extras? There are none. Absolutely zero. Which is really kind of nice, because I didn’t want to watch any more of this film.
The VC-1 encoded 1080p 2.4:1 transfer for the film is decent; decent black levels and some nice gritty sequences made for a visual treat, but for the most part the transfer is as predictable as the film itself. You expect it to look good for a modern production and it does, but it never shows off any great cinematography or unique lighting. A by-the-books production and a by-the-books transfer to back it up; as I said, there’s nothing wrong with the transfer, aside from the fact it brings us the film. Also included is a TrueHD 5.1 track that does toss some screams and spooky sounds in the surrounds, but there is a lot of dialogue in this film and as such the front channels are what get used most. Also included is a DD 5.1 English track, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
And…that’s it. If you haven’t guessed by now, you can Skip this one too.
Amusement arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on January 20th.