Saturday, July 01, 2006

DVD preview: The Garden

Genre: Horror
Director: Don Michael Paul
Release date: July 11, 2006

It's scenery-chewing time with Lance Henriksen, a quietly menacing presence whose prolific body of work has taken him from Near Dark to Millennium … and from The Mangler 2 to Mimic 3. Here, he brings his weighty presence to the diabolical role of Ben Zachary, who has ensnared a troubled young boy, Sam (Adam Taylor Gordon), and his father on his ranch after their truck crashes while on the way home from Sam's mental hospital. The boy has a sort of post-traumatic stress syndrome that causes him to cut himself in times of distress. The conflict here is apocalyptic: The old man – grandfatherly in one turn and demonic in the next — has a garden, you see, and it contains … are you ready for this … a Tree Of Life (think The Ring tree imagery), and he needs the father to eat from it. The reason is … well, I'm not really sure what the reason is, but I admire any horror movie that has the balls to trot out the four horsemen of the apocalypse with a straight face. The action centers on Sam, who dislikes Zachary from the beginning and hears voices and feels a presence in the old man's house. He feels he's being watched and glimpses a male figure in mirrors, but the apparition is gone when Sam turns his way. His father is distracted by divorce guilt and is too busy going out with a couple of young ladies he met at the bar when Sam begs the obvious – to leave. Co-produced in 2005 by TV wizard Stephen J. Cannell (The A-Team, Profit, 21 Jump Street), The Garden offers some provocative imagery at climactic moments, such as Zachary banging about with a chess piece as a horse bursts out of its stable, as if driven by his will. Sean Young appears in the role of Sam's schoolteacher who is rather taken with biblical prophecy, and this film may appeal to movie fans who share her interest … in a very dark sort of way. It's the second directing credit for Paul, following 2002's Half Past Dead. // DVD notes // Paul weighs in with an audio commentary, and you'll get a behind-the-scenes featurette and theatrical trailer. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, and the aspect ratio is 1.77:1.

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