Poison Ivy

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Poison ivy is one of those movies your liable to find while flipping through the channels late at night. Its technically considered a b-movie but to be honest I loved this movie and would not classify it as one. I originally saw the movie some years back and being the huge Drew Barrymore fan that I am, I was hooked after watching the first 10 min. So needless to say I was happy to find the movie not only available on DVD, but released by New Line home video of which I am an avid fan. So onto the review! Ever have one of those friends that gets a little too close a little too fast? Kinda latches onto you? Well, that’s the basis of this film, Sylvie Cooper, played by Sara Gilbert (Roseanne) is a young rebellious rich girl who goes to a very prestigious private school. Sylvie has just been sent to see the principle after phoning in a fake bomb threat to the television station where her father (played by Tom Skerrit) not only works, but is the general manager. This is where she meets Ivy, played by Drew Barrymore (Firestarter, Never Been Kissed). Ivy is attending the school on an academic scholarship but is as a rebellious and wild a teen you will see. The two get to talking and after school when Sylvies father arrives to pick her up, who should need a ride home? That’s right, Ivy. The girls become good friends, they get tattoos, shop, hitchhike, all that good stuff.

Well, for the next few months Ivy has become somewhat of a regular around the Coopers house. She just sorta “moved in”. Ivy learns some things about Sylvies family. Like the fact that her father is a recovering alcoholic, her mother is dying from emphezemia and their marriage is failing. Now Ivy, being the sexy young little manipulator that she is, sees these things and uses them to get what she wants. And what does she want? Well, ill sum it up, she wants a family, Sylvies family! Ivy never really had a family so when she sees the opportunity, she stops at nothing to try and take it. Like I said earlier in the review, Ivy has got in good with the family, Sylvies Mom played by Cheryl Ladd, likes Ivy and even lets her wear some of her clothes! I never really figured out if Sylvies father liked Ivy all that much or not but he sure has a hard time keeping his eyes off her (who wouldn’t) and Ivy’s constant flirting with him does not help! The fact that Sylvies Mom cannot get out of bed or even function without big doses of pain killers, gives Ivy the perfect chance to move in on Darryl (Skerrit). And that she does!! I wont spoil too much but you can piece together what happens. Darryl starts drinking again, his wife makes constant suicide threats, and basically the family falls apart all due to Ivy’s manipulation.

I did like this film very much, and the story here is a good one. Director Katt Shea Ruben shows us just how carefully we should choose our friends! Even considering this films “b-movie” tag, I think the talent, direction and story come together very well. True, this was a film that Barrymore did during her “drug” years, I still love her and I still lover in this role. She’s great at playing the crafty, sexy vixen that preys on the unsuspecting family. Tom Skerrit who has been in more films than I can count, also does a good job of playing the emotionally drained “dying for a drink” dad. Is there anything about this movie I did not like? Yes! Sara Gilbert, another T.V star turned movie star, Gilbert just does not convince me she has film acting talent. And when your the co-star in a film without an all-star roster, your performance has got to be better. Overall, this is defiantly worth renting if not purchasing (even though I did). This film spawned two sequels, the second one starring Alyssa Milano was decent, the third was so bad I wont waste the page space talking about it. But this one, the first one, is defiantly the best one.

Video: How does it look?

Good job as usual from New Line home video. 1.85:1 widescreen format and damn good looking. Ive seen this film on cable and VHS and the DVD video quality surpasses bolth! Very sharp, never any grain or pixilation. The color palette for this film overall is pretty dark, not many bright cheery colors here but they do jump on appearance.

Audio: How does it sound?

5.1 surround sound in a dialog based movie is never really that important but it does sound good. All the channels come in clear and separation is good as well. The house featured in the movie is huge and the dialog spoken in the house sounds as realistic as you can get, hollow, echo-ish tones.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Even though this is not one of New Lines “Platinum Editions” there are a few nice extras on this disc. Cast and crew bios, the original trailer and two versions of the film. The 88 min. R-rated version and the 92 min. unrated version. The unrated version gives us a more explicit look at the sexual scenes as well as a tender moment (Barrymore kissing Gilbert then telling her she loves her) between the two young ladies. Keep in mind these are not deleted scenes, you can actually view the full-length movie in either R-rated or unrated format. A pretty nice extra I think!

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