Scary of Sixty-First (The) (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Fractured Visions
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (1st November 2022).
The Film

Addie and Noelle canít believe their luck when they discover an affordable apartment on Manhattanís famous Upper East Side.

As soon as they move in, Addie starts acting odd, sucking her thumb, and speaking in a childlike fashion. With the help of a mysterious conspiracy theorist, they soon discover the apartment harbours a dark secret: the property was owned by disgraced millionaire Jeffrey Epstein and Addie is possessed by one of the sex offender's victims.

Bold, daring and unlike anything that has come before it, Fractured Visions is proud to present Dasha Nekrasovaís darkly-comic horror, a film that is guaranteed to leave your jaw on the floor.

Video

A very oddball and dare I say it, tasteless premise for a horror film given it's connection to Jeffrey Epstein (1953-2019) and his crimes involving underage sex trafficking with links to Prince Andrew. Described as a horror provocation by some this is supposedly designed to highlight the terrible crimes committed by Epstein. As to whether the film is a satire or exploitation I shall leave up the viewer. I'm reminded in some ways of Ian Merrick's controversial Black Panther (1977) which told in clinical, sometimes exploitative detail, the true crimes of Donald Neilson only a scant few years after the terrible true story unfolded.

According to IMDB this was shot in 16mm and looks very soft overall. Colours are strong and designed to mimic the look of an '80s film which it's fairly successful at doing. It's a warm, naturalistic palette with solid flesh tones, some great primaries and some electric blue moments of lighting. All come over well in the encode.

Black levels are well balanced although there is the odd moment of mild crush, always intended I'm sure as this film seems to be intended to replicate the look of a New York underground film from the '80s. Grain is much finer than it would've been on a real low budget 16mm film from that time (see The Driller Killer, 1979) and it's always well handled by the solid encode with no signs of digital artefacts that .i noticed. Contrast is strong and supportive allowing some fine detail to creep through at times. Overall this is a strong transfer of a less than optimal source (by design) when set against most modern, digitally lensed productions. It looks great and much of the film's value is tied up in it's intended look ('A+').

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.85:1 / 81:40

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English HoH

Both the 5.1 and the 2.0 are very similar in their presence around the sound field. The 2.0 is just basic stereo and only has some modest surround presence when played through ProLogic II (or similar). The 5.1 is obviously the way to go as it has a modest amount of greater range and depth as well as the stereo surround channels which are sparingly, but effectively used. The sparse score is the main beneficiary of the rear channels with good separation but it's intentionally lowkey. Ambiance is modest and mostly in the front channels. It's a modest track that won't blow anyone away and probably benefits from having the volume turned up. Hard of hearing subtitles in English are provided and were comprehensive for the sections of the film I sampled ('B').

Extras

(1.) Audio commentary with co-writer / director Dasha Nekrasova and co-writer / actress Madeline Quinn (2022)
(2.) Audio Commentary with film historians Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson (2022)


The first track is more about the making of the film and covers everything that a fan could want delving into differences from the script, the whys and the wherefores, Nekrosova's and Quinn's influences, the reasoning behind the film and why it was made etcetera. The second one is more concerned with an academic analysis which is no surprise if you've come across either Heller-Nicholas or Nelson's work before. Both tracks are presented in lossy Dolby Digital with track one in 2.0 stereo and track 2 in 1.0 but with optional subtitles (as with the other extras).

"The Scary of Sixty-First: Q&A Beyond Fest 2021" 2021 featurette (31:35)

What it says on the tin, a Q&A from a festival featuring star, co-writer and director Dasha Nekrasova, co-writer and actress (who plays Noelle) Madeline Quinn, actress Betsy Brown (who plays Addie) and moderator Patrick Sandburg. Presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono with optional subtitles in English. This covers all the bases that you'd expect that would be covered at a screen talk designed to promote and accompany a screening of the film. Most interesting that Nekrasova admits that it's an exploitation film virtually up front. She knows her stuff and mentions influences such as Polanski's The Tenant (1976) and giallos. AVC MPEG-4

"Metaphysical Repercussions: A Conversation with Dasha Nekrasova" 2022 interview (11:16)

New York based Nekrasova kicks off this interview by confronting the Epstein connection, her feelings and suspicions around his death and how it impacted her. She also discusses it's connections to Eyes Wide Shut (1999), The Tenant (1976) and Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Easter Eggs in the film. Presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono with optional English subtitles. AVC MPEG-4

"Watching the (Armchair) Detectives: A Conversation with Mark Rapaport" 2022 interview (9:43)
"Doing the Undoable & Saying the Unsayable: A Conversation with Betsy Brown" 2022 interview (9:27)


Two short interviews with Brown discussing how she got involved and how she handled the revealing aspects of her role and being able to perform such things on the set. Rappaport was a producer and played the part of Greg in the film and discusses in reasonable detail how he became involved and his approach to shooting on 16mm and other production aspects. Shooting was in January 2020 and with some pickups during the COVID pandemic. Both Pieces are presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono with optional English subtitles. AVC MPEG-4

Trailer (1:34)

Promo for the film presented in 1080p24 1.85:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and with optional English subtitles.. AVC MPEG-4

A slipcase with new artwork by Chris Crow & Sloth Visuals
A liner notes booklet with new essays by Caitlyn Downs, Zoť Rose Smith and Janine Pipe.
6 Art Cards


None of these have been provided for review.

Packaging

Not provided for review but the image above should answer most questions.

Overall

A deliberately provocative, self-described exploitation horror melodrama shot on 16mm in wintry New York City in January 2020 gets the deluxe treatment on Blu-ray from Fractured Visions in the UK. Whatever one thinks of the film, and it's undeniably transgressive and controversial, the image and sound are strong, certainly faithfully representing Nekrasova's film well. Extras are mostly superior EPK material and festival appearances with two decent commentaries. Non-disc extras were not provided for review but look good. For fans and cinema true seekers, highly recommended ('A-').

The Film: C+ Video: A+ Audio: B Extras: A- Overall: A-

 


Rewind DVDCompare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it and amazon.es . As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.