January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Chloe (Jessica Alba) is a beautiful young woman with a bright future, as she is on the cusp of stardom in the modeling world. She has been well received by the public and her peers, so she is pretty much a lock, as far as that goes. But when she takes a trek to the countryside with her boyfriend Stan (Iain Glen), her life takes some unexpected turns and she is left wondering what has happened to her. Of course, she had no reason to refuse when Stan invited her on the excursion, as he was her boyfriend and all things considered, she wanted to join him. The two lovebirds plan to spend the weekend in a secluded estate and in addition to them, some of Stan’s friends will be present and a good time seems imminent. The friends aren’t what she expected however, as they do little to hide their internal bitterness and sexual frustrations, which she now knows should have been enough warning to escape the situation. Now the night has passed and she has little memory of what happened, but she suspects she has been the object of their sexual perversions, though she can’t be certain. Has Chloe become the pawn in their twisted games, or has her mind slipped into paranoia and she is just trying to make some kind of sense out of it all?

This film has a lot of name talent involved, as it stars Jessica Alba (Tv’s Dark Angel), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Basic Instinct), and Ewan Bremner (Trainspotting), and was also written & directed by John Duigan (Sirens). Even so, it shot right onto home video shelves and used to be a Blockbuster exclusive DVD, but now Ventura has issued it on a wider scale. I think most people will be interested because of Alba, but those in search of pre-fame nudity will be let down, as Alba isn’t one of the naked ladies in Paranoid. Even so, it is an interesting movie and while it has a lot of flaws, I am glad I took the time to check it out. We have a dark approach here, with subjects like drugs, kidnapping, and sexual fetishes on showcase, but the film never explores those issues much, they’re just sort of out on display at times. The acting leaves something to be desired, especially since these characters are supposed to be suffering a lot, but the performers just seem bored, at least most of the time. The premise is solid and the needed talent seems to be there, but Paranoid never takes off like it should. I don’t think this movie is as bad as some folks claim, but I don’t think it is that good either, though it is worth a rental to those interested.

Video: How does it look?

Paranoid is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an open matte edition. The movie starts off in widescreen at about a 1.66:1 frame, then opens up into the full frame version, so I assume no image is lost. I’d still rather have an anamorphic widescreen transfer here, but at least there’s no pan & scan present. The image shows some grain, but the print looks clean otherwise and in the end, this is a decent visual effort. It isn’t as refined as we’re used to, but for a low budget, direct to video project, it isn’t too bad. The colors seem intentionally drab, while flesh tones and contrast seem on the mark. The black levels do ease up at times due to the grain, but look stable and effective overall. As I mentioned before, this should have been widescreen and I am knocking the score as such, but this is a more than watchable transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is acceptable and never slips too much, but you can only expect so much from a basic stereo option. The dialogue seems clear and always easy to understand, thanks to well balanced volume levels. The other elements never overpower the vocals and as such, everything remains as intended, which is good news. The sound effects and music are solid for a stereo track, but I think a surround option would have helped here, as in the atmosphere and building up some tension at times. So it isn’t the most exciting or active audio track out there, but it does handle the basics and in this case, that’s enough.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc contains no bonus materials.

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