Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Poker Night (Blu-ray Review)

I have to admit that the reason I was drawn to Poker Night is purely related to the cover art. Yes, I'm into game related horror or cat and mouse horror, but with the market being moderately saturated with those themes, it was the art that did it for me. It really is something between The Collector and The Card Player (yes, the Argento film). The thing that stood out to me, the lack of a black background. It was almost lit up on a stage by bright lights compared to the ever popular black background with horrific, masked killer poking his head out. That's if you don't get the "faces" cover featuring the stars of the movie looking like a boy band, lined up and ready for their goddamn closeup. Poker Night is a Macabre feature coming off the Xlrator label which has had mixed results.

Unfortunately, aside form the aesthetic of the killer I found the movie a bit obvious. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it in part. It is a cat and mouse, slasher-esque, game picture, but it doens't quite compete with some of the finer entries in those particular subgenres of horror. The highlight is seeing Ron Perlman in anything, so you have that to look forward to. Far be it from me to say that I don't enjoy a generic piece of horror entertainment, but this one rubs me the wrong way simply based on its desire to play off some popular tropes out of successful gaming horror pics while delivering little more than a cool mask.

Director Greg Francis has been responsible for quite a bit of television over the years, Poker Night being a recent endeavor into film after working on many police and FBI related programs as well as paranormal research and supernatural programming. The look of the movie is fine mind you and the Blu-ray is quite nice. The movie itself competently shot though not extraordinary.

Starring Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Beau Mirchoff, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Corey Large.

Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

Synopsis from Xlrator:

In this twisted thriller, a young detective is caught in a sadistic game of cat-and-mouse when he is kidnapped and tormented by a masked serial killer. In order to survive, the rookie must use the wisdom imparted to him by senior detectives on their regular poker night.

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