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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
The Spring (1999)

"Say, how come there are no dates on any of the headstones?"
- Dennis Conway (Kyle MacLachlan)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: September 10, 2003

Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Alison Eastwood, Joseph Cross
Other Stars: George Eads, Aaron Pearl, Zachary Ansley
Director: David S. Jackson

Manufacturer: Directorsite DVD
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Some Violence and Sensuality
Run Time: 01h:28m:56s
Release Date: August 19, 2003
UPC: 012236143215
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- CC+B- D-

DVD Review

There's nothing like an outsider come to a small town to engender a sense of paranoia: the town wonders why the stranger has come, and the stranger wonders what the town is up to and why they're looking at him so funny.... This notion is given a slightly offbeat twist in this made-for-television movie.

Widower Dennis Conway (Kyle MacLachlan) and son Nick (Joseph Cross) are on vacation when they come across a young couple with a stuck 1961 Impala. When the couple acts weird and leaves, the Conways find a duffel bag they left behind. Aiming to be helpful, they go to the couple's home in Springville to deliver the bag, only to find that the townspeople act exceedingly strange. But Nick breaks his leg badly, meaning they need to stay in the town for a while. Dennis starts to fall in love with the local doctor, Sophie Weston (Alison Eastwood), but local sheriff Josh Gamble (Aaron Pearl) makes it clear that the Conways had best not stick around. As the Conways uncover the sinister secret of Springville, they are faced with the prospect that they now may never be allowed to leave.

David Lynch regular MacLachlan does an acceptable job as the affable Dennis, though the script rather forces his relationship with Eastwood in an unnatural manner. There's little to motivate their romance, especially once we discover exactly what's behind the town's hostility. More notable is George Eads (Nick from CSI) as the local gas station operator who is also having difficulty coming to terms with the town's secrets. He presents a good mixture of rebellion and resignation regarding his fate. Aaron Pearl is suitably creepy as the villainous constabulary, with a misshapen head that reminds one of some kind of atavistic threat.

Notwithstanding the improbable romance, the story does manage to go into a few unpredictable places, which I won't spoil here, and thus manages to be a couple notches above the usual TV movie. The script is adapted from the novel of the same name by Clifford Irving, best known for his hoax autobiography of Howard Hughes. While not terribly suspenseful, it does keep the viewer guessing.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Since this was made for television, the 1.33:1 ratio is correct, despite the usual Artisan cryptic doubletalk on the case about "Formatted from its original version to fit your screen" and "presented in the original 1.33:1 format." Someone at Artisan needs to figure out that these are not consistent statements. While color and detail are certainly acceptable, there is significant aliasing and video artifacting throughout the film. Black levels are generally quite good, and textures are decent. The commercial fadeouts are abbreviated so that scenes tend to shift in a herky-jerky manner that's frequently annoying.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround audio is generally center-oriented, although there are some segments with surround presence, such as in a birthday party sequence. The music is often quite inappropriate and seems to have been selected at random from library scores. It has a mildly compressed and distorted sound, but hiss and noise are fairly limited, as befits a recent film.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Except for English subtitles and modest chaptering, there's nothing at all here.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A passable little TV thriller, given a mediocre transfer and zero extras. Worth a rental if you're a MacLachlan fan.


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