Wednesday , February 21 2024
Here's the acorn — and way over there, off in the distance, is the tree it fell from.

Blu-ray Review: Greystone Park – Oliver Stone’s Son Strikes Out

Although I have never been one to follow in my father’s footsteps, I could see how it would be easy to get caught up in the legacy he left upon the world were he a famous filmmaker. In fact, I can thoroughly envision what it would be like to grow up so consumed by the personal world he created that the world outside is easily shrouded from my view. Such a thing seems to have happened to Oliver Stone’s son, Sean, who — in addition to appearing in his father’s films (in small bits) — began his career as a filmmaker himself directing behind-the-scenes documentaries of his daddy hard at work.

Sadly, Sean seems to have been cut-off from cinematic contributions from other, non-documentary filmmakers. His feature-length debut into fiction, Greystone Park appears to ignore the very notion that many other people have made the same damn movie several kajillion times before him. Picture this: one night, a small gathering of people (including Oliver Stone himself, just to give the movie an actual familiar face) tell a bunch of ghost stories at a dinner table. Then, some foolhardy kids (junior Stone and his pals Alexander Wraith and Antonella Lentini) venture off to a run-down asylum for an adrenaline rush.

It is there that strange things begin to happen. For, though they know all about the place and the horrors that were committed there when the hospital was in operation, they don’t seem to grasp the concept that trips of this nature only end in clichés. And yet, Sean Stone appears to be under the delusion that he’s the first to have thunk all this up — despite borrowing entire bits from those other movies. Or maybe he’s just attempting to pay his homage to the found footage film — a horror subgenre which has been done to death — in which case, you have to wonder if he missed several days worth of buses on his way to school.

In fact, the younger Stone is so revolutionary in his no-budgeted, actual-actors-need-not-apply ability to nauseatingly shake a camera around in a dimly-lighted room way of storytelling, that, were I presented with the opportunity to introduce Sean at a party wherein his father was also in attendance, I would say: “This is Sean Stone. He’s the acorn. Now, way the fuck over there — barely discernable amongst the many other people off in the far distance of the horizon — is the tree that he fell from.” I would no doubt then be subjected to the most brutal beating ever, but it would be well worth it.

After all, the physical pain Sean could allot towards me would nowhere near match the mental anguish I have suffered from Greystone Park. Oh, and did I mention this is reportedly based on a true story? Given the they-don’t-come-back outcome of the movie (honestly, what’s there to spoil here, kids?), that would mean Stone and his pals are making this movie from beyond the grave! Ooh, it’s scary, I tell you, kids! Booga-booga!

I’ll take Cannibal Holocaust any day.

Though filmed in High-Def and mostly in the dark (or with a couple of d-cells), Greystone Park shows up on Blu-ray courtesy ARC Entertainment in rather good shape. The color palette is pretty funky here, deliberately tweaked in post-production to instill the movie with that we-tried-exactly-what-everyone-else-did look, but both detail and contrast are just fine when you stop to scrutinize ’em (providing you really want to, that is). A DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix has a lot of things going bump in the night tossed in for extra added effect, and accompany the copious amounts of screaming interjected within the movie’s awful dialogue quite well.

Fans of Greystone Park [insert an appropriate insult to all five of those brain-dead people here] might enjoy the selection of bonus materials this title has to offer, including an audio commentary by the film’s stars and makers, who have far spookier tales to tell here. Also featured are a couple of behind-the-scenes filler items, an alternate (happier) ending, and trailers for other no-budgeted, actual-actors-need-not-apply moving pictures (from filmmakers who are not trying to ride on the coattails of their fathers) from ARC Entertainment.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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