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MGM Studios DVD presents
Christina's House (1999)

"Arggghhhh! Aieeee!!!"
- audience member

Review By: Patrick Mannion   
Published: October 22, 2001

Stars: Brendan Fehr, Brad Rowe, Allison Lange, John Savage
Director: Gavin Wilding

Manufacturer: Laser Pacific Media Corp.
MPAA Rating: R for (violence, language and some sexuality)
Run Time: 1:36.41
Release Date: October 23, 2001
UPC: 027616868510
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
F FA-B+ D+

DVD Review

I suppose it's amazing any movie ever gets made, when you come to think about all that goes into it๓and for every Godfatherthere are hundreds of lesser movies which play at the 'plexes and keep us, at least, entertained. Because of the difficulties faced making an actual feature-length film, I am often charitable and forgiving of the results, knowing that most contain some parts that are worthwhile, stand out, or at least are tolerable; in other words, have a reason to exist.

Christina's House is not one of them. Wrong-headed from the start, but inherently 'ept', it does not even hold a candle to such vanity projects as Christopher Coppola's hilariously awful Deadfall. The plot revolves around Christina (Allison Lange), her brother (Lorne Stewart) and her father (John Savage), who inhabit an old rental house in Avedon, Washington. Christina hears noises in the attic, and so is drawn there to seek out the terror that lays in wait, as every young girl in these movies does. She tells daddy, who tells the handyman (Brad Rowe).

Although Christina is a 17-year-old virgin who won't sleep with her boyfriend (Brendon Fehr), we are treated to glimpses of her bare breasts, twice#8212and I kept thinking all the way through the film that the reason for this is to worship the actress' body, which it does at every turn. I had to think of something because, well, about halfway through, I was praying I was being led into a false sense of security and then the show would take a nasty turn for the better and scare the bejesus out of me. It didn't. All I could think of, aside from the lead actress' body, was my all-time favorite review, found it the Internet Movie Database, written by detruth:
"Modesto, CA
Date: 14 September 1998
Summary: Boring movie, boring people, boring plot"

I received no joy from watching this boring movie about boring people and their boring lives. It was a complete waste of my time and that of everyone involved in the making of it. The only reason that I watched the whole thing was to see if it would get any better: it didn't. It was uniformly bad throughout. I give this movie two thumbs down because I only have two thumbs, but if I could borrow another thumb it would be three thumbs down. If you ever get a chance to see this movie, don't.

Back at the IMDb, here's one of the kinder reviews of Christina's House to be found there:
"Simon Leigh (simonl85@hotmail.com)
London, England
Date: 13 August 2001
Summary: Not even worth renting"

I was only unfortunate enough to see this after my sister refused to take my advice on which horror movie to rent. The experience of watching this film can only be compared to watching the worst horror clichés and "been done before" moments in cinema history. The only time i would ever consider renting this film again would be to burn the tape.

Rating for Style: F
Rating for Substance: F


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: The transfer itself is quite good—there are diffused shots of Ms. Lange throughout, but this looks to be a fine replication of the original elements. The camera is almost always in the wrong place to heighten the tension, but the lighting and exposure are always spot on. Color and contrast are fine. I would have made a comparison between the widescreen and the full frame versions but I am not masochist.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Sound here—the English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix being the only audio option—is fine too, though not spectacular. It seems that every sound that should make you jump doesn't, because the director, who also is credited as the editor, chose to cut to each shock too early, so you are prepared for the music cue or the scream coming.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Mercifully there are no extras on the disc, not even a trailer, just a disc with the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer on one side and a full-frame transfer on the other. I thanked the stars there wasn't a commentary, as I knew my career writing these things would be over in a heartbeat if I had to sit through the picture again. This would be a cool disc to set on the microwave turntable and run it on high for a minute—it will be the best show you'll get from it.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

My significant other, Leslie, says it has a "sphincter factor" (her thriller scale, 1-5) of "zero", and I agree—this is one bad (but, again, not hilariously awful) movie; had someone just gotten a second unit to do some insert shots and recut it, it might have squeaked by; but I figure no one in his or her right mind wanted anything to do with this when it was complete (it took more than a year to be release domestically). MGM has gone crazy—at a $27 retail price, this DVD is the biggest rip-off coming out from a major studio!


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