Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for September 12th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes Walkabout in 4K, the complete Succession series, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Walkabout [4K UHD, Criterion Collection]
What is it? Two siblings are abandoned in the Outback only to find a possible assistance in a young aboriginal boy.
Why see it? Nicolas Roeg’s filmography is all over the map, both in genre and overall quality, but when he hits he does so by crafting attractive, thought-provoking films like Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Eureka. Arguably better than all of these, though, is his 1971 feature, Walkabout. Two children are left to fend for themselves in the Australian Outback, and the only hope they have of surviving comes with the young Aborigine boy who they meet while out on his “walkabout.” The film is something of a thrilling survival tale as the children fight and persevere, but there’s a greater theme at play here involving life as we know it both backwards and forwards in the face of nature. It’s a beautifully shot film, something even more noticeable on 4K UHD, and a rousing adventure. Criterion’s new release also includes previously available extras shining a light on the film’s production and reception.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentary, interviews, documentary, booklet]
What is it? A grieving woman uses a time machine to fix the past.
Why see it? Judy Greer is always a talent worth watching, and here she’s given the kind of leading role she rarely seems to get these days. She plays a widow and a mother, still grieving the death of her husband due to a drunk driver. Given the chance to kill the driver — before the fatal accident even occurred — she takes it, and unforeseen consequences follow. Greer is unsurprisingly fantastic here, and it’s her heart and ferocity that drives the emotional center of this lof-fi, sci-fi drama.
The Blair Witch Project & Blair Witch [steelbook]
What is it? A found footage classic and an interesting follow-up.
Why see it? Found footage films continue to be fairly popular in the horror genre, in part because they can be made on the cheap. While it wasn’t the first, 1999’s The Blair Witch Project remains one of the most influential found footage horror films, and it remains an effective and chilling watch. The disc includes all the past extras. The second feature here is 2016’s studio remake/sequel that expands on the mythology, and while it’s not particularly great there are some interesting beats here for horror fans.
[Extras: Commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes]
The Last House on the Left [4K UHD, Arrow Video]
What is it? A couple discovers they’re harboring the people who assaulted their daughter.
Why see it? Director Dennis Iliadis may not have the cache of Wes Craven, but his remake of Craven’s exploitation flick from the 70s is a wildly effective upgrade. It’s beautifully shot, mean when necessary, and terrifically cathartic in its third act. Sara Paxton makes for an empathetic “victim,” and Garret Dillahunt is fantastic as the big bad. It’s a thrilling tale, and while I fast forward the assault sequence on rewatches, the rest is great stuff that now looks even better in 4K.
[Extras: Theatrical and unrated, introduction, commentary, interviews, featurette, deleted scenes]
The Prodigal Son [Arrow Video]
What is it? A cocky fighter discovers a truth.
Why see it? Sammo Hung’s last old-school martial arts film as director is arguably his best, period? Yuen Biao headlines as the best fighter in town who learns the hard way that his wealthy father has actually been paying off his opponents to lose. He soon finds a proper teacher and gets the opportunity to prove his worth to himself. The film is a humorous one with fun character beats and physical comedy
[Extras: Theatrical and home video versions, commentaries, interview, featurettes]
Succession: The Complete Series
What is it? One of the finest television dramas ever made.
Why see it? Corporate America has rarely been captured as beautifully and bitingly as this look at a Murdoch-like family and their Fox News-like business antics. Endlessly smart, wickedly funny, and perfectly cast, the show is a brilliant takedown that delivers top-notch entertainment each and every episode. The smart writing makes the show worth rewatches and quote-alongs. and while the extras are essentially the featurettes that played after each episode there’s still some enjoyable detail and context throughout.
[Extras: Featurettes, interviews]
What is it? A boy suspects his parents are hiding something in the walls.
Why see it? Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr do good, grounded work here as a couple whose son has a growing mistrust for them. Their performances leave viewers smartly unaware as to their culpability, and the while the mystery is something of a slow burn the eventual reveals and story beats make it worthwhile. It’s not entirely unpredictable, but it still satisfies.
What is it? Four friends go on an Asian adventure.
Why see it? Director Adele Lim delivers a fun, R-rated ensemble comedy the likes of which has typically been afforded only to white dudes, and the results are a good, goofy time. Stephanie Hsu and Sabrina Wu are the headlines here as they both bring the laughs, and both Ashley Park and Sherry Cola do good work as well. The laughs are never all that big, but it’s steadily humorous.
[Extras: Featurettes, deleted scene]
Leprechaun Collection [steelbook]
What is it? All eight(!) films in the Leprechaun franchise.
Why see it? As far as horror franchises go, the Leprechaun films aren’t exactly high art… or even highly entertaining on a regular basis. They have their charms, especially the first few, but the one constant is a fun performance by Warwick Davis as the malicious beast at the heart of it all. He’s not enough to make them all worth watching as the kills and characters grow pretty redundant, but if you’re a fan, you’re a fan.
[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes]
Rob Zombie’s Firefly Trilogy [steelbook]
What is it? Three films about sadistic hobos.
Why see it? As big a fan of Rob Zombie’s commentaries, interviews, and live appearances, his movies almost always leave me cold. (The sole exception is Lords of Salem as the weirdness just gets me.) These three films constitute a loose trilogy following the adventures of four wackos who crave bloodshed, cruelty, and silliness. They’re terribly unlikable people, and while Zombie gathers a fun rogues gallery of character actors the movies are more obnoxious than entertaining.
[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes]
Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II [steelbook]
What is it? Michael was bullied, wah!
Why see it? Look, credit where it’s due to Rob Zombie for taking a different approach to his Halloween remakes as the original franchise turned into a pretty tame and repetitive affair after part three. But… ramping up the sadism, sexism, and artless hackery isn’t the way to go. Zombie’s Michael may be a hulking, terrifying being, but everything around him (aside from Brad Dourif’s performance) is trash. Some rough acting, goofy flashbacks/dream sequences played straight, and a cruelly voyeuristic approach to abused and battered female bodies makes for an ugly watch. If that’s your jam, though, here are both movies in a steelbook!
[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Saw Collection [steelbook]
What is it? The first eight Saw films.
Why see it? Straight up, this collection would be sitting above in “the best” if it included all ten films, but an incomplete collection loses a big chunk of its appeal. That said, it’s a good price for the first eight movies in this wobbly franchise and enough to justify the pick up. The films feature a ridiculous abundance of crazy twists and plot turns, like bonkers level twists, and the practical gore effects are equally plentiful. They’re fun movies even if they’re increasingly stupid.
[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes]
Also out this week:
After Dark My Sweet [KL Studio Classics], Air, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm [4K UHD], The Beast [KL Studio Classics], Cadejo Blanco, Final Cut, Ghoulies [4K UHD], Irwin Allen: Master of Disaster Collection [Shout Factory], Magnum Cop [Raro Video], The Pack [Scream Factory], The Postman Fights Back [88 Films], The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season One
Related Topics: Home Video