Image Entertainment presents
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (2006)
"Sometimes, you gotta break the rules ..."- Dr. Jekyll (Tony Todd)
Stars: Tony Todd, Tracy Scoggins, Deborah Shelton
Other Stars: Tim Thomerson, Peter Jason
Director: John Carl Buechler
MPAA Rating: R for Horror Violence/Gore and Language
Run Time: 01h:29m:49s
Release Date: 2008-05-20
DVD ReviewI approached The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was like it was a film made by old friends. The director, John Carl Buechler, is responsible for one of the most popular films in the Friday the 13th canon, The New Blood (the one with the psychic girl, for those who donít know), and has done some other enjoyable genre work as well (even if I am the only one who likes both Troll and Ghoulies III). I wasnít looking to Buechler to reinvent the genre, but I had hoped for the same level of fun abundant in his previous efforts. Sadly, there isnít much fun to be had here and while this is a watchable little horror film, there isnít much reason to recommend it.
Tony Toddís Dr. Jekyll is a scientist who discovers a cure for heart disease. Out of desperation, Jekyll tests the ďcureĒ on himself only to suffer the drastic side effect of transforming into the beastly Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde instantly takes to the nearby college campus where he feasts on an endless bevy of coed flesh while arousing the suspicions of a local detective (Tracy Scoggins).
Thereís a sense of fun in the stalk and slash scenes, even if the murder set pieces help illustrate the painful limitations of the production budget. Toddís Mr. Hyde canít resist throwing out a steady course of lame one-liners just before he kills and I donít recall there being an amusing one in the bunch. The film doesnít exactly generate much in the way of tension of suspense, either, but Buechler keeps everything moving at a decent clip. By the time this thing zips along to its ridiculous climax (complete with embarrassing CGI), one hardly has time to take in the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
For all its warts (and there are a few), itís hard to completely slam the film. It doesnít leave much of a lasting impression, doesnít scare or really even entertain. Iíd go so far as to say it works in spite of itself. The casting is good (full of genre veterans). Todd makes for a sympathetic hero and an annoying villain while Scoggins does what she can with the one-dimension cop role. Tim Thomerson shows up all too briefly as does Peter Jason. If anything the film makes you realize how many terrific actors there are out there whoíve never fully had their due.
If this review feels like a bit of an unfocused mess, then good. My thoughts are very much the same. Thereís a part of me that appreciated Buechlerís obvious respect for the genre and for the source novel. This isnít one of those cheap cash-ins (well, yes it is, but thatís beside the point) that steals the title only. Itís got some moments that lovingly homage Stevensonís book and proves that this was a good-faith effort on the part of its cast and crew. That said itís also hokey and ineffective, so while the performances are enthusiastic and the script tries real hard, the limitations of the production canít be ignored. This isnít a film Iíd recommend to anyone but the most die hard genre fan out there, and even then itís a proceed at your own risk type of situation.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.78:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: For a low budget cheapie, Image's transfer of this film is fairly crisp and enjoyable. Colors pop and the blacks are strong and solid. Sure, there's a little bit of edge enhancement to be found, but it's nothing that detracts from the viewing experience. If you've got to see this film, Image's presentation is good stuff.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Surround track is solid, if not as encompassing as it could've been. Andy Garfield's effective, classy music score is given dynamic distinction, with audio stings and gunfire littering the rest of the rear channels. There's nothing outstanding about this track, but it does help to illustrate good sound-design, and the aforementioned musical score.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: While light on extras, the making of documentary (17:00) is worth a look for any fan of the film. It's a lively little production packed with some fun behind-the-scenes material and interviews with the cast and crew, including Tracy Scoggins, John Carl Buechler, Vernon Wells, etc. Regardless of the finished product it's clear that these folks were having a lot of fun here and some of that does show through in the actual film.
A trailer and three TV spots round out this collection of extras.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsWhile itís not exactly the source material, I was reminded of a far superior take on the same subject matter while watching this film: 1989ís vicious little horror film, Edge of Sanity, starring the late, great Anthony Perkins. Itís an all around better film that offers everything you can get here and more. See it and leave this Strange Case to only the most curious among you.
Matt Serafini 2008-07-25