of Alcatraz" DVD
Join us for a bit of
film history this week, as "Curse of Alcatraz", the
last film ever to be shot on Alcatraz Island, slides into our
DVD players. The question as always, of course, is do we want
it there in the first place, or is our last chance at film from
The Rock going to be a bust?
And incarcerated in
the last Alcatraz film ever is a surprisingly interesting concept.
Basically, a group of grad student archaeologists went to Alcatraz
Island to investigate a collection of unsolved murders, when they
fall victim to a curse on the island that arose from the torture
and isolation that took place there. Basically, if you've ever
seen an episode of "Ghost Hunters" on the Sci-Fi Channel,
you know what's going on here, except the hyperbole level's been
ramped up like a million percent for the sake of a movie.
Needless to say, there'll
be plenty of comely young co-eds getting attacked and lots of
other folks getting chopped to bits. Which is nothing you haven't
already seen dozens of times before, but "Curse of Alcatraz"
does manage to put its warmed-over plotline out with a half-decent
execution and a little bit of style all its own. Which is saying
something, frankly--it at least manages not to look like it's
been done half to death and that's a step up from the common herd.
Perhaps even more interesting
is how "Curse of Alcatraz" manages to take the single
oldest horror movie device--the "ancient Indian burial ground"--and
give it something of a new life by staging it on, of all places,
The down side to "Curse
of Alcatraz" is that it's surprisingly slow of pace. Nearly
half the movie goes by before there's anything resembling an attack
in the modern era, and frankly, in a horror movie that's dependent
on its plotline for entertainment and keeping things moving rather
than special effects or surprise events, that's downright unforgivable.
Though I will admit
that they do manage to get some more action into the last half
hour, it's still not quite enough to salvage the boring opening.
Which leads me to the
ending. The rest of the movie has been building up to this--and
frankly, it's been spending most of its time building up--so you'd
expect a pretty decent payoff, right? Even though most of the
destruction comes in the last twenty minutes or so, it's still
not all that exciting. Even the marginal twist ending isn't what
you'd call all that exciting either.
The special features
include audio options, a commentary track, English and Spanish
subtitles, a making-of featurette, cast and crew interviews, and
trailers for "Curse of Alcatraz", "Drunken Monkey",
"Dead Clowns", and "Open Water 2: Adrift".
All in all, "Curse
of Alcatraz" had a great idea, but couldn't manage to do
very much with it that was any kind of interesting. Suffering
from a blindingly slow plot and almost no effects to make things
interesting, "Curse of Alcatraz" is a pretty sorry way
to end an era.
DVDDirected by Daniel Zirilli
Written by Glase Lomond
Starring Alex Quinn, Jessie Camacho, Joe Jones, Candise Lakota
Produced by Daniel Zirilli
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