directed by Ron Underwood
(PG-13, 1 hour, 36 minutes )
The 1990 cult creature feature, which to date has spawned six sequels, gets the deluxe treatment in Arrow Video's Limited Edition Box. The film itself is a well-executed, self-aware love letter to schlocky '50s creature feature horror films that also plays as a sweet-natured, if bloody comedy. It relies heavily on the well-tuned performances of Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as, respectively Val and Earl, two good ol' boy handymen who are sick to death of their miserable jobs in the hick town of Perfection, Nev. (population: 14).
But just as they are about to shake the dust of Perfection off their soles forever, things start to get interesting. Suddenly half-eaten corpses are popping up along the roadside, phone lines cease working and a plucky young grad student (Finn Carter, daughter of journalist Hodding Carter III) is finding evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. Uh oh.
The Arrow set features two discs crammed with goodies like the film's original electronic press kit, a 60-page book featuring essays by Kim Newman and Jonathan Melville and selected archive materials, as well as a couple of posters and six double-sided, postcard-size lobby card reproduction artcards.
"Love and Monsters" (PG-13, 1 hour, 49 minutes) A post-apocalyptic quest comedy set seven years after humans manage to explode a giant meteor before it crashes into Earth, with the unintended fallout causing fauna to mutate and produce monstrously large frogs, ants, snails, beetles, etc., that immediately become apex predators and commence decimating the human population. So now the humans live underground.
Sad, but maybe not as sad as our hero's circumstances. Joel Dawson (Dylan O'Brien) was a high school kid just starting to level up his girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick) when all the really bad stuff started. They were torn apart just as it looked like the world was about to end.
Now, seven years later, Joel is the mascot of a small colony, the affable beta-male who cooks the minestrone and fiddles with the radio while the tougher guys and gals attend to the adulting -- which includes the occasional fighting off of overgrown insects. After making serendipitous radio contact, Joel decides to set off in search of Aimee, who's encamped 80 miles away. What ensues is somewhat more entertaining than you might expect, though it's tempting to receive "Love and Monsters" as something more than a live-action version of the Netflix animated series "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts" (without the nutty music or the kinetic fever-dream quality of that series).
With Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt, Michael Rooker; directed by Michael Matthews.
"12 Hour Shift" (not rated, 1 hour, 26 minutes) An offbeat, gory and frantically paced horror comedy with a high body count that's caused when an ill-tempered drug-abusing nurse and her sidekick cousin go to extraordinary lengths to find a replacement kidney for an organ trafficker. With Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth; directed by Brea Grant.
"Yellow Rose" (PG-13, 1 hour, 34 minutes) Good performances and a dedication to telling a story that's seldom covered with such honesty involves an undocumented 17-year old Filipina with hopes of becoming a country music star who crashes into reality when her mother gets picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, forcing the girl to seek a new home in Austin, Texas. With Eve Noblezada, Lea Salonga, Liam Booth; directed and co-written by Diane Paragas.
"My Dad's Christmas Date" (not rated, 1 hour, 31 minutes) Predictable and sentimental, yet sometimes touching, this dramatic comedy concerns a 16-year-old who takes on the role of matchmaker for her dad -- after the death of her mother in a car crash -- by creating online dating platforms for him. With Joely Richardson, Jeremy Piven (remember him from "Entourage"?), Anna Walton; directed by Mick Davis.