November 30, 2014
Overview - One of the better Clive Barker adaptations. This concerns an ambitious, artsy shutterbug trailing a possible homicidal killer (Exceptional use of Vinnie Jones, by the way.). Ranger’s edit removes all references to occult and conspiracy elements, and thrusts this smack into splatter spree territory.
Video - Excellent editing, as expected from this editor. New opening credits, well chosen and well done. Story spends considerable time in subway trains, drenched in darkness and flickering light. Blacks solid throughout.
Audio - Dynamic 2.0 sound mix. Dialogue generally clear, bit murky at noisy junctions. No subtitles. Quite a bit was removed for this version, but no audio giveaways. Nice job.
Narrative - Some odd things persist. The butcher is still cutting those “chest scabs” during one scene. No explanation whatsoever. Which is OK. In Ranger’s version, the butcher is an inexplicable force of Nature, compelled to murder, though patient enough to wait for the lonely opportunity. The randomness of the attacks is particularly chilling.
Enjoyment - Take the A-Train, baby. I enjoyed this slasher ride a lot. In the original, and I know others will regard this as blasphemy, I considered the demonic angle distracting, if not silly. Here, the butcher is a twisted soul. Because we cannot tell what formed him or what compels him, he becomes a rogue cancer cell in the community.
As much as the butcher is a slave to his impulses, the photographer is equally troubled. His narrative is one of obsession becoming compulsion. He is increasingly drawn to darkness, forsaking the light.
Despite the gore and violence (squeamish souls, take note), this film is bleak, cold, despairing at times. Perfect, nonetheless, for urban dwellers who walk the half-lit 2:00 AM streets and try not to glance over their shoulders.