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    Creepers
    /MRA . R4 . COLOR . 73 mins . R . PAL

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    Dario Argento films are an acquired taste; most of his films can be appreciated after repeated viewings. Creepers or Phenomena, as it is better know, is an excellent little horror film that successfully blends blood and gore with some genuinely scary moments

    Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly) has just enrolled at a prestigious all girls boarding school in Switzerland at the request of her famous actor father. She is a little different and immediately becomes an outcast at the school. Not only does Jennifer tend to sleepwalk in the middle of night, she can telepathically talk to insects.

    Jennifer’s situation is not helped by the presence of a serial killer in the area, whose main interest is decapitating young schoolgirls. During one of her nightly sleepwalks, Jennifer runs into a chimpanzee who takes her hand and leads her to the home of the wheelchair bound, Dr John McGregor (Donald Pleasance). Dr McGregor is a scientist who specialises in insect activity on corpses and is helping the police investigate the serial killer. The doctor quickly recognises Jennifer's special abilities and asks her to help him discover the identity of the serial killer.

    Creepers manages to be genuinely frightening and squeamishly gory, particularly in the final scenes. While Argento films usually feature some pretty woeful acting, Creepers is an exception. Both Jennifer Connelly and Donald Pleasance are engaging in their performances and make an interesting detective team.

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    This version of the film seems to have been heavily censored and the shoddy editing is extremely obvious. Even if you hadn’t seen the uncut version you could easily pinpoint where the hacking had taken place.

    Creepers is presented in 1.33:1 Fullscreen and it’s a disappointing transfer. Sharpness and detail are terrible and the overall look of the film appears brightened and washed out. Skin tones are pale, blacks and shadow detail are non-existent and colors are awful. Film artefacts, particularly dirt and scratches, are painfully distinct and frequent.

    The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and it's also disappointing. Dubbing is a major feature in any Argento production and almost all of the dialogue for this film has been recorded in post production. Although the sync occasionally falters, the dialogue is predominately clear and audible.

    There are moments of distortion, one or two obvious moments of crackling in the audio track and occasional drop offs in volume. The haunting Claudio Simonetti score and the pulsating heavy metal musical overtures by Iron Maiden and Motorhead come through quite well, but are ultimately not served well by this patchy audio transfer.

    This release (unlike the previous release) doesn't contain any extras. The static menu is one of the most inelaborate I have ever seen, with only Play Movie and Scene Index options and the DVD cover art serving as the only visual.

    Unfortunately, this DVD release does not offer the best version of the film. It is quite perplexing why this DVD is being released at all! A far superior release of the film under its more well know title Phenomena, came out around this time last year and included a multitude of extras, including a director’s commentary, the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 widescreen and 28 minutes of extra footage. With this new release we have a much shorter version of the film with its original U.S. release title, Creepers. This version is heavily censored and the previously released version eclipses it in every respect. I advise you to avoid this release and instead purchase either the Region 4 2004 release or better still, the Region 1 release.


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  •   And I quote...
    "An excellent horror film that is being released for the second time on Region 4 DVD. Why? No idea, as the 2004 release contains extras and far superior video and audio transfers."
    - Rebecca Taylor
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