Although I can’t remember a Chiller movie I couldn’t stand, their entertainment value and production qualities do vary. I always try to go into a film without any sort of pre-conceived notions, but let’s be honest. That’s nearly impossible to do once you’ve read any type of publicity material on a movie. I was carefully optimistic as I placed the Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of “The Monkey’s Paw” in my player and sat down to review it.
As many of you may know, “The Monkey’s Paw” is an updated version of W.W. Jacobs’ supernatural short story from 1902. Three wishes are granted to the owner of the title object. Unfortunately, the wishes come with a terrible price.
Director Brett Simmons and Writer Macon Blair did a great job of establishing a group of engaging personalities through quick character development. It's a simple and entertaining tale that keeps your attention as it plays out. The solid camerawork for this independent genre piece also came as a surprise.
“The Monkey’s Paw” boasts an ensemble cast of stars to help draw in their individual fans. Some of them fully committed to the movie, while others appear to have been paid as much as the budget would allow to get them for a day’s work for name recognition. Charles S. Dutton plays a detective who pops up a few times before making his dramatic exit. He might be in the movie for a sum total of ten minutes at the most.
Corbin Bleu continues to shake his Disney stigma by taking on a more mature role for “The Monkey’s Paw.” He plays a blue-collar factory worker named Catfish. It’s much different than his roles in “High School Musical” and “Free Style.” He also looks like he’s bulked up a bit over the years. This isn’t Bleu’s first genre film, as he was also in “Nurse 3D” and “Scary or Die.”
“The Monkey’s Paw” was given a 1080p high-definition transfer and is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The video quality is clear, clean, and easy on the eyes. 5.1 surround sound puts the viewer right in the thick of the action. There are no recognizable issues with either the video or audio transfer of the movie.
Scream Factory included a minimum amount of bonus material for “The Monkey’s Paw.” Audio commentary is provided by Director Brett Simmons, Cinematographer Scott Winig, and Actor C.J. Thomason. The featurette “Making ‘The Monkey’s Paw’” includes interviews with the cast and filmmakers. A trailer for the movie is found as well.
“The Monkey’s Paw” is unrated, although I would consider it PG-13. You won’t find anything out of the ordinary for supernatural horror films. There’s some violence, gore, adult situations, and language. The one thing we don’t get surprisingly is any nudity.
If you like supernatural thrillers, “The Monkey’s Paw” will provide some entertainment for horror hounds looking for an old-fashioned tale in a new package. Some might find vague comparisons to “Pet Semetary” are in order. I found it to be satisfying and was pleased by its overall quality and level of suspense.
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