• Misery (1990)
At the end of the ‘80s, the horror and thriller genres were feeling more than a little sluggish. It was mainly all about sequels by then, with only a few flicks emerging here and there that gained any notice (Child’s Play was one such title, but then the sequels started and, well, that’s an entirely different story). It took This Is Spinal Tap creator Rob Reiner of all people to finally give the two genres a little life. The movie was called Misery, a stunning version of a novel by Stephen King — whose film adaptations up until then were usually snubbed by film critics.
The story finds writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) recovering from a near-fatal car accident in the snow-capped mountains of Colorado. Nurtured back to health by a former nurse, Paul discovers that his caretaker is his “number one fan.” And indeed, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, in a role that saved her from being just another bit part TV actress and landed her in the spotlight) is Paul’s biggest fan. Much to the novelist’s horror, however, Paul will soon find out how obsessed Annie really is, when she ceases to be a caretaker and starts playing the part of a captor.
Like Child’s Play, MGM/Fox’s new High Def release contains both a Blu-ray and a DVD version. The difference here, though, is that Misery’s Blu-ray disc is a barebones movie-only affair. While this would give more room for audio and video quality on a normal 8.75GB double-layer DVD, this is a 50GB dual layer disc we’re talking about here. And so, what we have here (aside from a failure to communicate) is Misery, presented in a splendid 1080p/AVC 1.85:1 widescreen transfer complete with ten language tracks and nearly twenty subtitle options. The video is crisp and clear, with nary a trace of those artificial preservatives sometimes present in High Def transfers.
The main English 5.1 DTS HD MA sound suffices quite well, especially during the more “tense” scenes, when Marc Shaiman’s score fills the room. Additional soundtracks are available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Thai, and Turkish. Subtitles are offered in English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Korean, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Swedish (I think that’s all of ‘em).
Sadly, should one want to view any of the special features for Misery, one will have to do it via the DVD version, which is the same as the “Collector’s Edition” DVD released in October of 2007, which include two audio commentaries and a fistful of featurettes.