Blu-ray Review: CHARLIE SAYS

CHARLIE SAYS was directed by Mary Harron from a screenplay by Guinevere Turner and stars Matt Smith, Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendón and Merritt Wever.

Years after the shocking murders that made the name Charles Manson synonymous with pure evil, the three women who killed for him — Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon) and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) — remain under the spell of the infamous cult leader (Matt Smith). Confined to an isolated cellblock in a California penitentiary, the trio seems destined to live out the rest of their lives under the delusion that their crimes were part of a cosmic plan — until empathetic graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) is enlisted to rehabilitate them. Convinced that the prisoners are not the inhuman monsters the world believes them to be, Karlene begins the arduous process of breaking down the psychological barriers erected by Manson. But are the women ready to confront the horror of what they did? Boundary pushing auteur Mary Harron presents a provocative new perspective on one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century.

Charlie Says centers around Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) who are serving time in prison for murdering Sharon Tate and some of her friends. The trio end up meeting Karlene Faith who gets brought in to see if she can rehabilitate them and this is how we learn their side of the story. Through flashbacks, we meet Charlie Manson the eccentric cult leader who has a certain way of handling everything in life.

Charles Manson ends up forming a cult-like following that lives away from civilization and his dream is to be self-sufficient even though he doesn’t mind mooching off of handouts. He prides himself on living on what others throw away. The three women share their stories about how things were run at this camp and how Manson dreamt of becoming a rock star. It all leads to the disturbing confession about the dark night they committed murder that ultimately led them to being incarcerated. It takes a while but the girls do eventually snap out of this hypnotic spell that Charles Manson had them under.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, we’ve gotten quite a few movies about Charles Manson over the past few years and Charlie Says ended up being the best out of them. Most of us are familiar with this psychopath’s story and how he charmed and manipulated his followers to get what he wanted but this one tells the three women’s side of things but at the center of it all is still Charles Manson. The story is interesting and even though this movie is more of a drama than anything else, it still has a creepy factor to it because of this madman. The cast did a really good job with their characters and I thought Dr. Who‘s Matt Smith nailed it as the infamous cult leader. Mary Harron has delivered what I consider to be the best out of the Charles Manson biopics because it’s such an interesting character study that focuses on Manson and his brainwashed sheep that would kill for him. Charlie Says will be available on Blu-ray on August 6th.

Distributor: Shout! Factory and IFC Films

Run Time: 110 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH nd Spanish

Special Features: The Blu-ray extras include a making of featurette that has cast and crew interviews (06:16) and the theatrical trailer (02:18).

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