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Paramount Studios presents
Stephen King's Graveyard Shift (1990)

"Because of the heat, we only run that sucker at night. 11-7. The graveyard shift."
- Warwick (Stephen Macht)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 27, 2002

Stars: Brad Dourif, David Andrews, Stephen Macht
Other Stars: Andrew Divoff, Vic Polizos, Jimmy Woodard
Director: Ralph S. Singleton

MPAA Rating: R for (horror violence)
Run Time: 01h:26m:12s
Release Date: May 28, 2002
UPC: 097363251248
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ DB+B+ D-

DVD Review

I love horror movies, I really do, but this one just didn't work for me. Plain and simple, I did not like it at all. It had a few nice moody visuals, but too much of it was blatantly reminiscent of a sub-par Alien ripoff, only here set in a decrepit and rat-infested Maine textile mill. Based on a Stephen King story, Graveyard Shift is an immensely dull affair that has as its only saving grace a comically cartoon-ish performance by Brad Dourif as a slightly psychotic rat exterminator.

The premise of Graveyard Shift—and assuming that there is a premise is giving the script far too much credit—is that this grubby textile mill, overrun by rats, is also the home of some flesh-hungry beastie that lurks deep down in the sub-basement. The mill is run by the tyrannical and lecherous Warwick (Stephen Macht), who has one of the most laughably inconsistent accents I've ever heard. At first I thought he was supposed to be Irish, then it sounded like a New England accent, then it drifted into something resembling German, then back again.

Warwick hires a creepy exterminator (Dourif), who hams it up as the Vietnam-vet-turned-rat-killer. Dourif's scenes, and he is vastly underused here, are the only bright spots in an otherwise confusing and pointless story. The climax of the film is set in some bizarrely labyrinthine corridors beneath the mill, and by the time the story gets there I didn't care one iota about any of the characters, and I was secretly hoping they would all get munched on as quickly as possible.

Graveyard Shift runs 88 minutes, and I looked at my watch a lot during that time. Character logic is non-existent here, and they all seem to exist simply as food for the underground monster, which is apparently some kind of giant rat (I think).

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Another respectable transfer, this time for a forgettable film, from Paramount. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, this film looks decent enough for a low-budget horror film from 1990. There is surprisingly vivid color depth and solid black levels, though a few of the foggier sequences reveal a grain issue. Minimal blemishes are primarily evident during the first few minutes of the film.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This disc sports a rather bland 5.1 track, one that varies little from the other option, a 2.0 English surround mix. Dialogue is relegated firmly to the center, with a smattering of rear channel cues, but those are few and far between. Serviceable, but uneventful.

A French stereo track is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Subtitles (English and French) and 11 chapters are all there is. If ever a film didn't require extras, which would only prolong the viewing experience, then this would be it.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Here's another example to reinforce the notion that Stephen King stories rarely get made into good films. Bad accents, one-dimensional characters and absolutely no suspense whatsoever. Mercifully short, but not short enough.

Bad stuff, people.

 


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