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Siege - Siege(Blu Ray) [Severin - 2021]

Siege is a tight as a tourniquet 80’s thriller detailing a group of people stuck in an apartment block, which is under attack by desperate and deadly homophobes. The Canadian production features a good selection of relatable-yet-distinctive characters, some neat A-Team like make yourself deadly gadgets ‘n’ traps, and a nicely tense unfold. Here from the folks at Severin is a new Blu release of the film- featuring a 2k print, two versions of the picture, and a commentary track.

Appearing in the year 1983 Siege (Self Defense, Night Warriors) was filmed in and around the moody and stark neon-lined night-time streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was jointly directed by Paul Donovan( DEFCON-4, Norman's Awesome Experience, Paint Cans) and Maura O'Connell- who had been the producer on many of Donovan’s films. Siege is expertly paced and captured in a gritty, often up-close and sweaty manner.
 
The film is set during a city-wide police strike- so  The New Order -a group of homophobic red neck extremists decide to break into a gay bar and taut/ terrify the clientele- they are led by the baseball hat-wearing- big curled haired Goose(Jeff Pustil). Unfortunately, things get way out of hand, and while the group are mock bumming up the barman- he slips and gets impaled by a broken bottle. The gang panic, calling out Cabe(Doug Lennox) a cold and calculated killer, who starts shooting each of the remaining clients in the back of the head.  One of them Daniel (Terry-David Desprs) escapes, making his way to a small apartment block to hideout. Here we find a kind and caring twenty-something couple Barbara (Brenda Bazinet ) and Horatio (Tom Nardini) who work at a school for the blind, and in the apartment with them are  blind teens Patrick (Jack Blum) and Steve (Keith Knight).  In the flat next door lives Chester(Daryl Haney)-  a survivalist, who has weapons and knows how to build traps. Outside The New Order are gunning down those who try to leave the apartment block, and watching the roof/ windows via night vision- so it’s up to apartment dwellers to fight for their lives the best they can.
 
From the off, the tension is slowly but surely built up- as we see Goose going crazy when his partner tries to stop him going out, and as soon as he meets with his hateful buddies in The New Order it builds more and more- and when the bar clientele get killed off one-by-one, you know you’re in for a tense/ no bars held thriller. The apartment building it’s self in nicely claustrophobic and grimly moody- this with the addition of the starkly lit and people-less streets gives a great backdrop to the tense game of cat and mouse. The two blind teens and next door survivalists add hope, and an interesting dynamic to the whole thing- though it’s far from plain/ easy sailing for either the gang or their prey. We get nastily real and brutal killings on both sides, and again this adds a feeling of unpredictability/anything can happen vibe- so this is not your standard the good guys live/ Hollywood thriller. All in all, Siege was a great and compact little gritty thriller, with a good/well-picked cast, and a great sense of rolling and growing tension.
 
Moving onto this new Blu Ray, and it’s a region free disc. It features two cuts of Theatrical: 84 mins and Extended: 93 mins- the extended version adds in an intro for the Goose character. The 2k print looks good and authentic- with nice/ clear nighttime scenes and stark inside scenes. On the extras front, we get just a commentary track- it’s with Co-Director Paul Donovan and Canadian Filmmaker Jason Eisener( Hobo With A Shotgun). And this is a most interesting/ worthy track- as Eisner is a huge fan of Siege, so comes up for some great questions for Donovan. So we go from finding out how he first got into filmmaking and studying it in the UK, moving on to discuss his early film work. They talk about how the script/idea of the film came about, they mention that apparently, Siege went onto inspire The Purge films. They discuss the locations- and we find out the apartment used was the filmmakers, we get details of the extremely low budget of the whole thing. They talk about the guns- which were all real and were borrowed from crew/ cast members. We get chat about effects set-up, casting choices and much more- a real very worthy track, which really needs to be played if you enjoyed the film.
 
I must say I was highly impressed by Siege as it really is a wonderfully tense and gritty thriller, which will easily please fans of edgy/ stripped back genre films. Hats off to  Severin for giving it such a great reissue, with a nice 2K print, and a most interesting commentary track.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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