Review: 'Bloody Mary' lacks guts

Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 at 2:47 PM Central

by John Couture

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary is the latest installment of the box office respectable Urban Legend franchise. However, this chapter is presented direct-to-video which is an almost sure indicator that the quality of the movies is starting to slip.

I wish I could say that Bloody Mary is an exception to the rule given that I have always been a big fan of the Urban Legend series, but alas, it suffers from a huge identity crisis. There are two types of successful horror movies, the big budget ala Scream and the no budget ala The Blair Witch Project. While the former can really on cool special effects and a big name cast, the latter is forced to rely on their ingenuity, which is, more often than not, scarier than the most expensive decapitation or scream.

Bloody Mary is stuck in the middle. By all accounts, the script was written with theatrical distribution in mind and somewhere along the road the producers took a detour in the direct-to-video abyss. The result is a sum of sub-par special effects and quick cuts to ghostly figures that desperately tries to be the next Ring but ends up more along the lines of Candyman: Day Of The Dead.

VIDEO The widescreen presentation and the quality of the print are decent. The film is given the big screen treatment, even though its debut was on DVD.

The only flaws in the transfer were deliberate to showcase the eerie mood of the scene.

AUDIO The standard 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is included. The score is quite impressive when compared to other direct-to-video offerings in this genre.

The mood of the movie is set by the superior audio. SPECIAL FEATURES Now this is a philosophical discussion that I have from time to time: do movies sell special features or do special features sell movies? Some would argue that the inclusion of added material or a theatrical redemption certificate would do wonders for moving a particular hard-sell DVD. On the other hand, some purists claim that the additional features do nothing more than detract from the quality of the digital product.

Whatever side of the fence that you find yourself on, there is little argument that some special features from the series would go along way in making this disc more interesting.

As it stands, the only special feature that it is included on the disc is a "Making of" featurette. Overall, the special is pretty rudimentary and does nothing to increase the enjoyment of the movie. Without any large names in the cast, there is no real draw to a behind-the-scenes look.

RECOMMENDATION Recommendation: Skip

If you need closure on the series, or you happen to be a die-hard horror fan then certainly pick it up for rent on VHS or DVD. In sum, the DVD doesn't add anything over the VHS that you would miss.

Otherwise, if you skip this title altogether, you won't kick yourself later on.