Terror movie of another kind, presented from director and screenwriter Bryan Bertino in his first motion picture. Other, than the lately very common representatives of torture flicks with blood soaked screen, he tries to make us feel his terror in a psychological way. And he did an excellent job ! More staged like an intimate play, he manages it bringing out the best with very low resources. He is supported by an outstanding cast, a fantastic cinematographer and an economized but insistent score. The audience in vain await an explanation of WHO and WHY - what does good for the movie itself. So, the insanity of the incidents is emphasized, the terror deep rooted and the hopelessness of the situation is sheer sensible. I am sure that we can expect a lot more of Bertoni in futureÖ
As so often in the last time there were two versions of this film released on DVD. A suitable for theatres rated R and an extended unrated version, both available on the recently released US DVD. It is amazing that there are only two (in numbers 2) differences. This mainly affects the extended ending where everybody must make up their mind if it was really necessary. But really new things are not revealed in the additional takes. But see for yourself.
Certainly the frames were edited again ( all lightened up in the same way but due to different source lighting they however differ ) Ė therefore again the hint that the frames do not reflect the quality of the origin.
James goes outside with the gun in his hands, Kristen standing on the porch. This shot on the porch ends a little earlier in the rated R version followed by a shot of James sneaking through the forest with an interrupted cut on the barn door. Again Kristen on the porch turning slowly back facing the house. With this subjective view into the house both versions synchronize. ( 19 sec. )
On the other hand in the unrated Kristen turns herself in a close-up towards the camera followed by a long shot of her turning towards the house. Alternate view on James opening the car, where all attempts to find the keys were in vain and then tries to bypass the ignition. He failed and drums his fingers frustrated on the car seat and then slams the door. ( 31 sec. )
A total time difference of: ( 12 sec. )
Alternate frame material
The second difference occurs shortly before the end. Right after the screams of both victims, added with location shots, there is an instant cut onto the two children walking down the street. However in the unrated itís safe to say itís an extended end. First shot on the open door. Then the corpses are shown. The mobile phone of Jamesí brother rings Ė now itís clear Kristen is still alive! She opens her eyes and with her last ounce of strength she crawls to the ringing mobile. When she reaches it, the calling partner already hung up. She tries to dial a number recognizing the man standing behind her. She cups her arms around her head awaiting the final kiss of death. But the dude only takes the mobile and disappears. Kristen stares after him, collapses back with her head onto James brotherís chest and dies. Now itís getting clearer why she is laying on the brother.
( 132 sec. )