Effects - Effects(Blu Ray) [AGFA - 2017]Effects is a 1980’s slow-burn thriller/ horror focusing in on a crew filming a horror film in rural Pittsburgh, and whether or not the cast/ crew are been killed for real. It’s somewhat of a lost film, only getting it’s first official release back in 2005 on Synapse Films- here we have the first region free Blu ray release of the film.
Filmed in 1978, and fleetingly released at a few film festivals in the year 1980- Effects was the directorial debut of Dusty Nelson. Sadly the film's distributor went bankrupt- so it never got a wider release beyond the said film festivals. Effects is clearly a low-budget affair;- but it’s well filmed & a cleverly observed study in building tension. With a convincing & believable cast, an effective moody autumnal setting, and a wonderfully unbalancing feel- due to the switch back & forth between the film within the film, and the crew's reality.
For the most part, the cast is made up of lesser-known Pittsburgh actors, and friends of the director. Though we do get in fairly substantial roles from both Joseph Pilato- who would later appear as the character Rhodes in George A. Romero Day Of The Dead. And effects whiz/ actor Tom Savini. But pretty much all of the cast is well chosen & effective in their roles, and in particular, John Harrison (director of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) gives a great subtlety sinister & brooding nuanced performance as the film's director.
I'd say for the most part the film is more of a thriller/ drama - though there are horror elements present, there just not overly overt or pronounced. So really you need to go into this expecting that side of things more, than an all-out stalk & gore fest. Though that said the fleeting ‘snuff’ elements of the film are handled in nicely unsettling & believable manner.
Extras wise on this new edition we get a reversible cover artwork- taking in both the original artwork & new artwork, taking in an illustration of a sinister looking hooded figure. A glossy inlay booklet- featuring stills & write-ups about the film. On the disc it’s self we get the extras from the Synapse release of the film, and these take in a sixty-minute interview/ doc with the cast & crew from 2005, which includes input from Mr Romero. Full-length commentaries from the film's director & crew on both the film its self and the 2005 doc. New stuff-wise we get two early shorts from the director- these are interesting enough- ones quite theatrical & surreal fantasy based, while the others more romantic drama based.
All in all this blu ray is another worthy reissue of a lesser known genre film from AGFA. And it will certainly be of interest to those who are either interested ‘snuff’ related cinema or those enjoy slow-burn thrillers/ horror films. Roger Batty