Plot: What’s it about?
Whitley Strieber (Christopher Walken) has some special plans coming up, as he has invited some friends and family members to his holiday home in the woods, to have fun and visit. Seems like a simple enough gathering, and he doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary to occur in the time surrounding this event. When Whitley and some others notice some unusual activity in the woods, they chalk it up to unknown phenomena, but Whitley suspects something much different. After some time passes, Whitley finds himself in a strange situation, he has been abducted by aliens, and has no idea what to do or think. After his return, Whitley searches himself inside and out, trying to discover the truth about what happened to him. He thinks he was abducted by aliens, but he thinks his mind might have made the entire situation up. In an effort to finally discern the truth, Whitley enlists the help of a psychiatrist, who plans to use hypnotic regression to find out for sure. Has Whitley been taken by these aliens, or have all these strange events been figments of his imagination?
Ah yes, Communion, one of the most unusual and coolest alien movies you’ll find. I was looking forward to seeing this film on our beloved format, but didn’t know what to expect in terms of bonus features or transfer quality. Once Elite had released the specification on this release though, I knew I was in for a real treat. This is without a doubt Elite’s finest release to date, and I look forward to seeing them bring even more releases of this nature to the public. I’ve now taken the time to watch this version of the film and explore the supplements, but I’ll cover the technical side of things a little later on. As far as the movie itself goes, I’ve always liked this movie so of course I was thrilled to view it in glorious anamorphic widescreen. This is a rather unusual movie, as it seems to leave many issues in the film open, for us the viewers to decide in our heads. It also does what few alien movies manage to do, make you think about the existence of aliens. This isn’t just a special effects thrills ride like most alien movies, this is a well written, well executed movie that focuses on the possible existence of aliens. If you’re a science fiction or alien nut, then this is a no brainer, you need to watch this movie. Fans of the film will want to purchase this release as soon as possible, due to the excellent treatment Elite has given this title.
This film was directed Phillipe Mora, who has a rather eclectic resume, filled with all types of movies. I think this Mora’s finest film in terms of impact and entertainment, though he does have a couple other close runner ups. Mora’s approach to this movie seems perfect, you can tell he has strong feelings about the existence of aliens and also had faith in the source material he was using. The movie is based on the screenplay by Whitley Strieber, who also the book he based that screenplay on, so the material is in good hands and is translated well into cinema. It’s obvious Mora had a lot of faith in the writing, since the movie follows it closely and keeps the same tone. Some of Mora’s other films include Art Deco Detective, The Beast Within, Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills, and Snide and Prejudice. The lead role in this film is played by Christopher Walken, who of course turns in a terrific and powerful performance. Walken (The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction) gives his usual solid turn, but also his performance reflects more inner motion and emotion than his usual roles, which is good for this part. The supporting cast includes Frances Sternhagen (Doc Hollywood, Misery), Lindsay Crouse (The Insider, The Arrival), Joel Carlson (Tarzan in Manhattan), and Terri Hanauer (Clean and Sober)
Video: How does it look?
Communion is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, as serves as the first 16X9 enhanced release from Elite Entertainment. If this transfer is any indication of what’s come from Elite, then bring on more as soon as possible, we’re ready for them! This release uses a terrific, very clean source print, and the compression is excellent, with no signs of artifacts in sight. This is a rather dark movie, so the colors seem more natural in tone, but this is intentional, so don’t sweat it. The contrast is on par with the best, no detail loss and complex shadow layering, this is one awesome transfer!
Audio: How does it sound?
This release contains a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the audio. While the surrounds are used mostly for the music, there is some directional and subtle audio present, which sets a nice atmosphere for the viewers. The music is excellent and on this track it has a wonderful and enveloping texture, very well done. The vocals and effects reside in the front channels with some exceptions, but come across without flaw. You can hear every word loud and clear and the volume is at a consistent level at all times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is a special edition release, so plenty of bonus materials can be found on this disc. You’ll find a pair of theatrical trailers, a packed still photo gallery, and a selection of original storyboards for the film. I am very pleased to have the storyboards and hope this is a feature we see on many releases to come. You’ll also find an excerpt from According To Occam’s Razor, another alien oriented film by Mora, which is very brief but offers a glimpse at what that film has to offer. A featurette is also found on this disc, which runs about six minutes and features interviews as well as behind the scenes footage. The final and finest supplement is an audio commentary with Mora and William Birnes, who publishes UFO Magazine. This is a wonderful track and offers a lot of information on the production and other aspects of the film, as well as some talk about aliens.