Movie Review: DEAD RINGERS (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

dead-ringers

DEAD RINGERS was directed by David Cronenberg from a screenplay he wrote with Norman Snider and stars Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi Von Paleske, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack, Jill Hennessy and Lynne Cormack.

This haunting 1988 psycho-thriller follows Elliot and Beverly Mantle (both played by Jeremy Irons), identical twin gynecologists who start out as highly reguarded and decorated doctors. Elliot is more of a self-centered playboy who sleeps around with women and when he has no more use for them, he drops them off on his twin brother. Beverly, on the other hand is the more emotional of the two and ends up falling for one of Elliot’s dropoff’s, Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold), but she deceives him and this is where he begins to go a little mad. Simply put, he fell for the wrong girl and it backfires on him. Claire had been with both brothers and can also tell the difference between the two. Beverly doesn’t handle betrayal or any other kind of stress very well and his drug dependency doesn’t help either. Actually, it just makes everything worse. This sets up the beginning of the end.

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The close-knit brothers had a lot of fun in the beginning, swapping the women that come into their lives. Once Beverly starts to deteriorate mentally, it’s easier for people to tell the two from one another and this is where Elliot decides to intervene to try to help his brother before he goes off the deep in. The sad thing is, Beverly has long been gone over the deep end for a while now. The mental breakdown leaks over into their work too because Beverly thinks all of his patients are changing on the inside and it’s all in his head. He ends up getting some of his own eerie tools made to work on “mutant women” where he ultimately gets to use them, just not on the person he wanted to try them out on. Elliot has been there for Beverly through it all, but in the end, he could only take so much and ends up in the same mental state as his brother and allows him to use his new tools on him. In the end of this tragic psycho-thriller, the twins learn that separation can be a terrifying thing.

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The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, an image and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits. Both discs also feature their 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. Scream Factory offers Dead Ringers in (1.78:1) as well as (1.66:1) which is the director’s preferred aspect ratio. The (1.66:1) may sharpen the movie up just a little but honestly I prefer the wider (1.78:1) watch. There’s really not a big difference in the two but we all have our preferences and Scream Factory gives us a nice choice here.

Bottom line is, it had been a long time since I had watched Dead Ringers and this is another movie that I used to own on V/H/S back in the 90’s. I’ve always been a big fan of David Cronenberg who has always made movies that he wanted to make and stayed clear of the saturated Hollywood formula. These movies have his own unique signature to them and this one here is one of his best, if not his masterpiece. Dead Ringers is a thought-provoking slow burn that’ll get under your skin and make you uncomfortable as it all plays out. Cronenberg captures the unsettling magic on camera and Jeremy Irons delivers two incredible perfomances with the help of body doubles and some split-screen action. The story is a character driven tragedy that follows these twin brothers who have everything only to have it all ripped away from them in the end. There are a few creepy cool special effects used even though the movie is more of a dark character study. Cronenberg’s haunting tale finally makes its high-definiton debut with this wonderful two-disc Collector’s Editon Blu-ray set that arrives on November 15th. This one comes highly recommended!

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 115 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) / 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.66:1)

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

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff! This two-disc set is loaded with some impressive bonus content that includes over three hours of commentary, interviews and more.

Disc One (1.78:1 version)

  • NEW Audio Commentary with writer William Beard, author of The Artist As Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg
  • Audio Commentary with actor Jeremy Irons

Disc Two

  • NEW 2K scan at the director’s preferred aspect ratio (1.66:1)
  • NEW Carey’s Story – an interview with Heidi Von Palleske (19:05)
  • NEW Working Artist – an interview with Stephen Lack (23:36)
  • NEW Connecting Tissues – an interview with special effects artist Gordon Smith (19:16)
  • NEW Double Vision – an interview with director of photography Peter Suschitzky (12:41)
  • Vintage interviews with Jeremy Irons, director/co-writer David Cronenberg, producer Marc Boyman and co-writer Norman Snider (17:03)
  • Vintage Behind the Scenes Featurette (07:14)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:36)
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