DVD Review: The Horror Network

Published on October 27th, 2015 in: DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Jeffery X Martin

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Fans of networks, be forewarned that The Horror Network has nothing to do with networks or networking. The title is kind of mysterious. There’s no framing device for the five shorts that comprise this anthology, and no overarching theme to be used as connective tissue. It’s a scattershot approach, but if the intent is to throw a bunch of stories at the wall and see which ones stick, then well done.

It starts out strong, as one of the best segments happens before the opening credits even begin. It’s a simple concept: a woman alone at night receives threatening phone calls. But this short manages to include just about every trope imaginable. Scary toys, screaming, abandoned buildings, the buzzing of chainsaws, shaky camera movements; they’re all here, and to good effect. The dissonance works to the short’s advantage, and the ending is nice and ambiguous.

Segment two, titled “Edward,” has the feel of a filmed play, and would be close to unbearable if it weren’t for the strong performance of Nick Frangione as Hal, a man who might have committed a murder. He might also have another personality. Frangione gives the character depth, believability, and a hefty dose of The Crazy Eyes. If nothing else, this segment is worth watching just for him.

Segment three involves a deaf girl who needs a ride home from school. It’s a decent short, and the lack of dialogue builds up some tension, but it’s a bit predictable overall. Predictability isn’t an issue for the fourth short, “Merry Little Christmas.” I’ve watched this movie four times before writing this review and I honestly don’t know what the hell is happening in this little segment. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are some good special effects in it. I just didn’t get what was going on. Maybe there was something lost in translation (literally; it was a South American film).

The last segment is called “The Deviant One,” and it is the most straightforward of the segments. The main character is a jerk. He kills a dog and eats it. That’s just how it starts! It devolves from there. The fact that it’s presented in black and white helps, but some tighter editing would have been more helpful.

Besides suffering from a lousy title, The Horror Network offers a few thrills, but doesn’t stand out among the current crop of anthologies and collections making the rounds. There’s a matter of quality difference between the shorts, but that’s par for the course for a patchwork like this. Yeah, give it a rent, but don’t set your expectations too high.

The Horror Network was released on DVD and VOD on October 27 from Wild Eye Releasing.

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