BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
And now it is time to get weird; really weird. Jeremy Irons, man. What a commanding actor, right? Well, in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, he plays a set of talented twins that, after a simple misunderstanding over the same woman, turn their successful gynecology practice into a destructive house of madness and murder where identities are questioned and sanity becomes an afterthought.
Beverly and Elliot Mantle (Irons) have built their name and their practice upon their imaginative successes. They are truly brilliant, displaying their gifted traits early on in the film. The flashback – in which the twins, seen as children, discuss the possibility of humans not needing sex if the entire race had remained in water like frogs – is quick and disturbing as it ends with the duo approaching a little girl and asking her for some variation of bathtub sex.
And that’s only the beginning. Cronenberg’s screenplay, co-written by Norman Snider, magnifies the weirdness of spooky twins sharing the same medical practice and spins in one hell of a demented mind game to make it a tangled web of deceit and malpractice.
We quickly get caught up to speed with the twins’ doings by way of a few glimpses into their university successes. They create the future tools of their trade and, as they are vastly different personalities, we get, settling down into the present, the lowdown of their sexual exploits. Elliot woes the women for the both of them to share. That icky feeling I just gave you with that sentence is about to get stronger. After all, if they are sharing women, what happens when they decide to share patients?
Yeah, chew on that.
Co-starring Heidi Von Palleske and Genevieve Bujold, Dead Ringers takes psychosis to a whole new level. Dead Ringers is Cronenberg's Canadian horror through and through. This means that nothing is straight-forward and EVERYTHING (but the visuals) is muted. The twins share the same apartment, the same women, the same practice, and, it seems, the same sensations. The prospect of sharing the same experiences is unequivocal, so the movie is free to explore the psychology snared within twindom. As a result, Dead Ringers becomes a surreal trip through an unchecked drug habit as one brother grows tired of the other.
Full of bizarre instruments of surgical torture, Dead Ringers is not for mainstream eyes. There’s certainly little too grotesque or gory, but its unsettling subject matter will not be for everyone’s taste. It truly is unnerving and demented as it dives headfirst into complex matters of the uterus.
Strangely lit and precise as hell, Dead Ringers is now available in a Collector’s Edition blu-ray set from Scream Factory. Scoop up the 2-disc version now because, as you know, two are better than one. That's what the Bible says...
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 116 mins
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Cast: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
Genre: Horror | Drama
Tagline: Two bodies. Two minds. One soul.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I've often thought that there should be beauty contests for the *insides* of bodies."
Theatrical Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release Date: September 23, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 15, 2016
Synopsis: Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.
Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - November 15, 1978
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A
Scream Factory’s 2-disc handling of Dead Ringers sees the movie offered in two different versions. On the first disc you have the High-Definition Widescreen 1.78:1 version. On the second disc, the director’s preferred vision of the film is stored. The 1.66:1 aspect ratio goes deeper and feels more intimate in its handling of the field of vision. Regardless of the version you watch, the colors are bold and well saturated, plunging deep with dark shadows. A violent red spikes through some of the surgery scenes as his team is draped in crimson and not the typical powder blue scrubs. This is a nice touch, suggesting royal elegance to some of the nasty proceedings at hand. The sound – presented here in s dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track – is commanding and adds depth to the discussion and Howard Shore’s score.
Found on the first disc, the commentaries are presented by author William Beard and, in a separate one, Jeremy Irons himself. Both are interesting, but Beard knows his stuff and as he wrote a book about Cronenberg, has a lot of interesting points to add when compared to Irons’ anecdotal one.
With the commentaries on the first disc, the second one is where you will find the featurettes about the movie. There are candid interviews with actors Stephen Lack and Heidi Von Palleske. The director of photography, Peter Suschitzky, and special effects artist, Gordon Smith, are also interviewed. Vintage interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes are also included.
- Cary's Story with Actress Heidi Von Palleske (19 min)
- Working Artist with Actor Stephen Lack (24 min)
- Working with Special Effects Artist Gordon Smith (9 min)
- Double Vision with Director of Photography Peter Suschitsky (13 min)
- Vintage Interviews (17 min)
- Vintage Behind the Scenes Featurette (7 min)
- Theatrical Trailer