Plot: What’s it about?
The past can often return to either haunt us or bring us good fortune, depending on our own course of action. Shelby (Laura Breckinridge), Tabitha (Katheryn Winnick), and Lisa (Jessica Lucas) are about to have their pasts come back and for these three friends, the visit won’t be a polite one. Now they’re adults living their own lives on separate paths, but in their school days, the three were the best of friends. The separate paths soon converge once again, leading the three women to a strange mansion, where some unexpected events will soon transpire. Once inside the house, the women must endure twisted mind games and vicious attacks, all from an unknown assailant. But who is this person who called them to this house of horrors, why is such venom directed to them, and will they survive to find out the truth?
Amusement was supposed to have a theatrical run, but after four separate delays, it was put on the direct to video track. That kind of information can be worrisome, given the kind of uninspired cinema that often makes it into theaters. Even so, as a dedicated horror movie fan, I sat down to give Amusement a fair trial. Now that I have seen the film for myself, I think it was a mistake to release this direct to video, as it shouldn’t have been released at all. Amusement is a train wreck, but sadly, it doesn’t even offer morbid fun of being so bad, you laugh. No, Amusement is bad in the bad ways, just a poorly written, poorly executed production. A few cheap scares are all the film has to offer and even then, they’re lame duck thrills. The writing is insipid, the performances are wooden, this is a claptrap of a motion picture. I know horror fans have a higher tolerance for bad cinema than most genre followers, but even diehard horror buffs should leave Amusement alone.
Video: How does it look?
Amusement is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. This movie is bathed in dark visuals, but this transfer is able to deliver a top notch presentation. Even in the darkest scenes, pertinent detail is still visible and depth is impressive, when the design allows. As dark as this is, the contrast had to be almost perfect and it is, so black levels are dead on. No issues with colors either, when they’re around, they look terrific. Not quite an elite level transfer, but a damn good one.
Audio: How does it sound?
An effective soundtrack can add a lot to a horror movie, which this Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option is able to do. The mood is given a nice boost thanks to eerie surround presence, not to mention enhanced cheap scares. A cheap scare is a cheap scare of course, but at least the sound design helps ensure these provide a nice jolt. The music benefits as well, so the tunes make good use of the rear channels. No dialogue problems to report, all the vocals seem clear and audible. This release also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The lone supplement is a second disc that contains a digital copy of the film, for use on portable devices.