DVD REVIEW: Barricade
Eric McCormack Stars In New WWE Studio Horror Thriller...
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When most people hear Eric McCormack's name, they immediately think of his character Will from the fan-favorite comedy TV show Will and Grace. Starring opposite Debra Messing, McCormack made a name for himself on the NBC series, which ran for a total of eight seasons and won 16 Emmy Awards and received 83 total nominations. Now, however, McCormack stretches his wings and stars in WWE Studio's latest horror thriller Barricade.
McCormack plays Terrance Shade, a husband and father who takes his children Cynthia (Conner Dwelly) and Jake (Ryan Grantham) on a Christmas holiday to the great white north in order to show them the cabin their mother used to spend time in as a girl. We're briefly introduced to Mom (Jody Thompson) at the beginning of the film and, as the movie progresses, the tragedy which befalls her as well as the subsequent shattering of Terrance's psyche and the family as a whole. As an uninvolved father before his wife's accident, Terrance has been unexpectedly thrust into the full-time parental role which has obviously caused him anxiety and stress.
Here in lies the true moral of Barricade. Directed by the talented Andrew Currie (Fido) and written by freshmen screenwriter Michaelbrent Collings, Barricade disguises itself in the cloak of a horror thriller but is, in reality, a morality tale. Barricade reveals what every parent has to learn in order to fully grasp what it means to have children and all of the concerns, guilt, worries, and scares that go along with that responsiblity. We, the viewers, are witness to a seemingly horrific, terrifying and tragic holiday weekend as Terrance is subjected to frightening visions which leads to him barricading his family inside the rustic cabin, the perfect setting for this film. As much a part of the film as any of the actors, the cabin plays a vital role in the development of the film as we witness the transformation of the cabin from joyful Christmas holiday getaway to haunted house and torturous prison. It doesn't hurt the cabin hasn't been updated in 40 years, giving it an already frightening look. Congratulations to the set designers for their work here as the cabin helps make the film truly scary at times.
While the film builds to a crescendo and seeks to twist and turn throughout, there are moments of both brilliant and stale acting from McCormack, who leads the film overall fairly well. Likewise, children actors Dwelly and Grantham do a great job in their parts as the children; joyful and happy-go-lucky one moment and sick, distorted and shocking the next. Oddly enough, the film's conclusion is almost so unpredictable it could cause some moviegoers to be not only stupefied, but disappointed. It's a one of a kind that will delight some horror fans and cause others to simply - and immediately - hate Barricade. All that said, I watched Barricade from beginning to end and was never bored or disappointed. In fact, if anything, Barricade actually was much more entertaining than a number of recent horror films which have hit home video and simply recycled the formulaic routine.
As for video and audio, the DVD presents the film well with tight lines, crisp colors and solid all-around video. The cold color pallet of blues, whites, grays and blacks is shocked often by sharp contrasts of yellows, oranges, and reds. This provides plenty for the viewer to remember as well as emphasis on specific moments. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack works well with plenty of ambient sound, suspenseful background music and clearly heard dialogue.
Surprisingly, the DVD includes a solid amount of special features which compliment the film perfectly. “Blueprint to Fear: The Cabin” examines the frightening setting while “Whiteout” features behind-the-scenes info on the special effects and the snow storm. “Breaking Type: Eric McCormack” features the main actor discussing his role as a horror actor while “Manning Park” examines the ski resort's transformation from public venue to film set. For those looking to get a bit more out of the Barricade DVD experience, these four featurettes provide a good look both at the set, crew, cast, storyline, and production of the movie.
Overall, Barricade is an entertaining and unique horror movie that includes plenty of shocks, some pretty solid acting, and an ending that'll have you questioning what you've seen. McCormack's acting helps carry the movie at times and the cabin is a brilliant setting with an excellent realism; the only real question is "Will viewers accept the ending as engaging and genuine or simply too confusing and odd to make sense?" And that's a question you can only answer after watching Barricade for yourself.
Pick up Barricade now on DVD or Blu-ray exclusively at Wal-Mart.
- Jess C. Horsley