Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear Blu-ray Review
Written and directed by:
Nick Everhart, Miko Hughes, Emily Hagins, Eric England, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton
2013, Region A, 87 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on October 22nd, 2013
Corey Scott Rutledge as Seth Kyle
Ted Yudain as Dr. Tom
Caleb Barwick as Henry
Symba Smith as Lacey Sharp
Doug Roland as Aaron Whitworth
Lance Kramer as Andy
Joe Varca as Jesse
The horror anthology has always held a special place in the hearts of genre hounds. Contemporary efforts frequently turn to Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone or classic E.C. Horror comics like Tales from the Crypt for inspiration. Some are awesome like Creepshow, while others are god-awful misfires like Creepshow III. The format usually follows a collection of short stories that would ordinarily collapse under their own weight if stretched to feature-length running times. When done well, these tales can be enjoyable treats, but there is a balancing act that frequently results in disappointment with too many big ideas crammed into a small outlet. The program Alfred Hitchcock Presents nailed the template with the willingness to pair a twenty-minute piece with a shorter ten-minute selection to fill a half hour of television rather than pad the material. The anthology comes into favor every few years and has recently populated shelves with titles like The A,B,Cs of Death, V/H/S, Chillerama and The Theatre Bizarre to modest success.
Chiller Television Network has created its own entry into the subgenre with Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear and is releasing it on home video just in time for Halloween. The same blueprint applies, but the hook is not only that each segment involves one of the body's five senses, but also that five promising new directors are at the helm. The tales are self-titled and include a few nice overlapping elements that loosely connect them together, but the real selling point here is the talent behind the camera. The directors involved include Emily Hagins (Pathogen), Eric England (Madison County), Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton (Yellow Brick Road), Asylum Studios vet Nick Everhart (666: The Beast) and former child star Miko Hughes (Pet Sematary). It is interesting to see how each approaches the subject matter and the end results are more successful than not.
First up is Smell (Everhart), about a man who stinks of failure and is given the opportunity to turn things around with a mysterious new cologne. While his prayers are initially answered in a most favorable manner, this story wouldn't be included here if circumstances didn't take a dark and nasty spin.
See (Hughes) introduces an optometrist capable of pilfering his patients' memories through ocular extraction. When the good doctor starts delivering private justice, things take a deadly yet predictable turn.
The episode that suffers most from the abbreviated running time is Emily Hagin's Touch. She clearly knows how to tell a story, but the one she has chosen has a lot going on and incorporates elements from multiple senses that suggest a longer film in the future. Touch features the interesting premise of a blind child forced to outwit a killer in the woods, but the plot is a bit rushed and sloppy despite some fine elements. However, this is not the worst in the collection, as that honor lands on Miko Hughes' See and the less said about that the better.
Eric England's Taste is just bloody enough to edge it out over the more predictable Smell as the most fun installment. Taste is perhaps the most fun episode and is deliberately mysterious in nature. It is safe to say that a man is brought in for a job interview and it would be in his best interest to accept.
Listen appears as a “found footage” chronicle involving the urban legend of a piece of music that when played can kill anyone listening. While I am not a huge proponent of the “found footage” cycle that is overstaying its welcome in low-budget cinema, directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton use the gimmick to great effect here.
Terror comes in all shapes and sizes and what appears warm and friendly to some sparks nightmares in others. Clowns, dogs, insects and other phobias have been the basis for countless horror films over the years and Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear offers a collection of short stories that present each of the five senses in a horrifying light. It entertains just as it was intended and while it is unlikely to leave a lasting impression on audiences, this is a nice addition to the world of short-story cinema. Chiller Television has made a strong debut with this style of original programming and it is easy to anticipate another installment this time next year. I encourage the network to stick with the idea of giving new filmmakers a chance to make an impression on viewers and I look forward to what comes next.
Video and Audio:
Scream Factory pleases once again with a solid transfer, as would be expected of a product this recent. The films are presented in their original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and are quite satisfying. Any jarring quality or image softness tends to be deliberate by the filmmakers, especially in the case of Listen. Colors are generally strong and black levels solid.
The default DTS-HD MA 5.1 track offers occasional directional sound effects and nice use of the music cues. Dialogue remains clear and free of distortion. Also included is a stereo mix in DTS-HD MA 2.0 that is also satisfying. English subtitles are provided.
The main supplement here is a collection of promotional trailers that offer glimpses at the films and the filmmakers. There are multiple variations, but they are generally under a minute in length and are over before they start.
The only other bonus is a deleted scene from the short film Smell that adds nothing to the story and will not be missed. It is odd that nothing is included from the other entries in this anthology.
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