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Millions witnessed Philip Markham's (Edward Furlong, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) public humiliation when he got dumped by Catherine, the beautiful star (Jaime Pressly, TV's My Name Is Earl) of a popular dating show, and now - several years and reality series later - he wants revenge. After taking Catherine captive, he lures nine unsuspecting co-eds to her luxurious mansion in the middle of nowhere, trapping the contestants in his own sick version of reality TV, where the challenges are bizarre, the danger is real and death is just a competition away.
For more about Cruel World and the Cruel World Blu-ray release, see Cruel World Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 13, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 1.0 out of 5.
Starring: Edward Furlong, Jaime Pressly, Andrew Keegan, Susan Ward, Daniel Franzese, Laura Ramsey
Director: Kelsey T. Howard
» See full cast & crew
Cruel World Blu-ray Review
'Cruel World' makes for a crude Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 13, 2009
You get voted off this show, you get voted off for good!
Is Cruel World a cruel joke? This is a scary movie all right. In fact, everything about it is downright horrific. Here is a Horror movie without the horror, playing out as a lame, laughably bad movie with a terrible and completely unbelievable premise and characters that redefine "stupid." It manages to make the bottom-scraping Horror flicks like One Missed Call look like passable entertainment in comparison. Cruel World features no atmosphere, no real scares, characters that are thinner than their waistlines, and minimal and terribly fake-looking gore. This is one of those "unintentionally funny" movies that can in no way be watched with a straight face, for practically every scene is worthy of humiliation, or at least a good chuckle at the absurdity of it all.
Philip Markham (Edward Furlong, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) is a former reality show contestant who had his heart broken on national television when the girl of his dreams rejected his love in favor of another man. Philip is now out for revenge, and begins by murdering the girl and the husband she selected on the show. Philip and his deranged brother Claude (Daniel Franzese, Mean Girls) use the murdered couple's home, already with cameras installed, as a base of operations for a sick and twisted reality television show where several college students descend to take their chances in a game of survival for a cool $1,000,000 grand prize. Little do they know that being voted off means more than losing their spot on the show! Philip instructs the contestants to participate in a series of challenges that all deal with death. As the contestants are removed from the show one at a time, the remaining students begin to suspect that they may be involved in a deadly game that is not worth the fame and fortune their host promised to them.
Cruel World is as dull, meaningless, and contrived as the "real" reality shows that grace television sets on a nightly basis. The worst offender isn't the story, which may have been passable with some tweaking; the direction, which is boring but effective; or the acting, which is as expected: bad. Instead, it's the terribly-written and wholly-generic characters that populate Cruel World that make the film epically terrible rather than simply bad. Each is a transparent stereotype, the girls typically rail-thin and ditzy, and the guys single-minded bozos. Common sense seems to be a foreign notion to each of them, participating in challenges that become increasingly dangerous and morbid, going without food, and agreeing to appear on a show where, it would seem in the context of the movie, they never met with anyone to discuss the themes of the program or sign the myriad of paperwork that would likely accompany such an endeavor. Never mind common sense, though. This is the movies, after all, and a movie based on junk television concepts at that. The only thing that works in Cruel World is the setting. The house and the desert environment seem nice enough. It's never really used to any effect, though, and serves as a simple backdrop in which to place an otherwise wholly irrelevant and forgettable Teen Slasher wannabe. At least Cruel World attempts to put a new spin on a tired genre, but the execution is so poor that the concept's novelty matters not in the entirety of the experience.
Cruel World Blu-ray, Video Quality
Observe Cruel World on Blu-ray with a passable 1080p, MPEG-2 encoded, 1.78:1-framed transfer. This one is about on par with a decent high definition broadcast signal. It doesn't inspire much confidence from the get-go, with its drab imagery over the opening sequence, including blurred credits. The image sharpens up somewhat thereafter and offers generally nice color reproduction and average levels of detail. The disc sees some minor blocking issues in a few scenes, but never serves as much of a distraction to the overall presentation. Noise is present and spikes here and there. The strength of the transfer is in the stable and bright colors. Whether poolside during the day or inside the house at night, colors remain strong and vibrant in most every scene. Nevertheless, this transfer is nothing to become excited about. It makes for passable high definition visuals, but it cannot compete with even the most average Blu-ray material.
Cruel World Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Cruel World comes to Blu-ray with a pair of two-channel soundtracks, one a lossy Dolby Digital mix and the other a lossless PCM offering. The 2-channel PCM presentation is rather bass-y during the opening credits sequence. It's not all that tight or well defined, but it thumps the chest. Dialogue is sometimes sloppy, muddled, and sounds detached from the rest of the show. The poor dialogue reproduction doesn't mar the entire soundtrack, but it's plainly noticeable at times, particularly near the beginning of the movie. Ambience, on the other hand, is decent. Birds chirping in the background in one scene are heard across the front of the soundstage to decent effect. The back channels earn some vacation time over the runtime of the film. Cruel World features a soundtrack that gets the job done but nothing more.
Cruel World Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There are no supplements on this Blu-ray release of Cruel World.
Cruel World Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Is Cruel World worth the $8 Amazon.com is currently asking for it? Probably not, even though that's cheaper than a single ticket at most multiplexes. The dollar-for-dollar value here is terribly low, though the movie might be worth watching at a party for the potential of a funny group commentary that is sure to become more entertaining than the movie itself. Still, as a standalone feature, this one offers no redeeming value. The premise is almost interesting but handled poorly. The script, and the characters it creates in particular, is bland. No one word can describe the deficiency of acting talent that went into this production, each egregious performance instead demanding a careful analysis of what makes it inept, and comparatively worse than the one before. Overall, this is a movie that may someday have its cover art in the dictionary as an example of some word defined as "1. The moment when Hollywood jumped the shark. 2. The lowest possible level of incompetence, as in 'Johnny really Cruel World-ed his spelling test with twenty wrong out of twenty.'" Echo Bridge's Blu-ray release of Cruel World is itself rather cruel and crude. The feature sports a decent-at-best 1080p transfer, an uninspired, 2-channel lossless soundtrack, and no supplements. Even considering the low price, this one just isn't worth the money.
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Cruel World Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Four More from Echo Bridge - July 29, 2008
Echo Bridge Home Home Entertainment has revealed that they will bring four films to Blu-ray this October. Coming first, on October 21st, is the Blu-ray release of 'The Woods Have Eyes'. A week later, on October 28th, they will release 'Cruel World', 'The Final ...
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