The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay/Starz - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby True HD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: William Forsythe, Jesse Moss, Patrick Gilmore, Richard Harmon
Directed by: Svetozar Ristovski
Music by: Terry Frewer
Written by: Jason Moss (memoir), Kellie Madison (screenplay)
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
"The shocking true story of one of America's most notorious serial killers"
A chronicle of the interaction between college student Jason Moss and the object of his obsession, serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
My Take:'Dear Mr. Gacy', The true story of Jason Moss's (tounge-twistingly played by Jesse Moss) personal encounters with his new class assignment, a paper on the incarcerated John Wayne Gacy (William Forsythe), arrives on Blu-ray disk December 14th from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment.
Directed by Yugoslavian born Svetozar Ristovski, his debut Hollywood film is a competent production, well directed and acted, but, missing a bit of the pacing and cinematography of the big boys. I would like to see what Svetozar Ristovski will do with a better script and bigger budget, as Hollywood films with foreign directors (Timur Bekmambetov for example) have a look and feel like they are cut from a different cloth.
The film is based on the book "The Last Victim", written by Jason Moss, the college student who sparked up a head-trip of a relationship with notorious serial Killer, John Wayne Gacy. It starts innocent enough as Jason sees a prison interview on TV with Mr. Gacy, and gets the idea to try to correspond with him via letters for a class assignment. Of course he needs a ringer to temp Gacy so he includes some provocative pictures of himself. When Jesse hears back, he is so excited-- and not ready for the mental strength and manipulation Gacy will have over his 18 year old mind. Sending Jesse to homosexual clubs and male escorts for research, all to prove he is not a fake. This all culminates in a "Silence of the Lambs-esque" prison meeting that is tense and well played. I felt a lull in the middle but the last act where Jason and Gacy finally meet face-to-face was great. The interplay between Jesse and his family and girlfriend never felt genuine to me. Thankfully his interaction with Gacy was believable and frighting. Forsythe's portrayal of Gacy is the best I have seen the consistently good character actor.
Don't expect a horror film here, there is but one flashback of Gacy with a victim. This is mostly a mind game and a unique look into the last days of one of the countries most infamous serial killers. Give it a shot if its up your alley.
Rated R for Disturbing sexual content including graphic dialogue, language throughout and some violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'Dear Mr. Gacy' is a decent looking film, but is nothing noteworthy. Colors are soft on a whole, reds do pop more than others and exhibiting a slight crush, black levels are middle of the road. We are treated to a healthy dose of 35mm film grain that spikes at times---especially in the sepia-tone flash back scene. Flesh-tones look a bit pinkish and are pale throughout. The fine details can be lacking, but at times, especially on close-ups, they have a lot of definition- it can be very inconsistent. The best way to describe this presentation is that it is a bit dull and lacking the depth to give it the deep dimension Bl;u-ray can achieve. Audio-wise, the lossless Dolby TrueHD mix is primarily focused on the front speakers, with no real activity in the effect channels. Dialogue was clear and never lacking; I did notice voices sounded sibilant, to the point where it did stand out to me. The low end did have a nice smooth attack in the club scene, and especially with the covert low rumble used as tension is building--it's a very effective tactic in the sound design. Over all the audio track did all it was asked to do, which really is not too much.
- (HD) The Gacy Files: Portrait of a Serial Killer
- (HD) Trailer: The Alphabet Killer
'Dear Mr. Gacy' is an intriguing flick, but mostly for those who have an interest in psychology, crime and serial killers. The build up of Jesse's paranoia and tension is a nice slow burn and the mind-games the two play are quite unique. Too bad there are not more special features on the disc, I was interested in more on Jesse and Gacy. That coupled with a less than stellar video presentation pushes me to a recommendation of checking it out as a rental or on cable.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer