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Two Films from Anchor Bay

It Waits (May 3/05)

While it's certainly better than the majority of its straight-to-video horror brethren, It Waits is ultimately bogged down by a melodramatic opening half-hour and a overall feeling of tediousness. The story revolves around Danielle St. Clair (Cerina Vincent), a forest ranger who is in the midst of a personal tragedy of her own (her best friend was killed in a drunk driving accident). Stuck in the middle of the wilderness with nobody to talk to, Danielle spends the majority of her time drinking heavily and wallowing in self-pity. Everything changes, however, when it becomes clear someone - or something - is watching her every move. Filmmaker Steven R. Monroe does an effective job of infusing It Waits with a refreshingly simple, old-school sort of style, generally eschewing fancy editing tricks and mind-numbing camerawork (he does, however, employ both during the frequent flashbacks). But despite the film's positive attributes, there's just no getting past the fact that it generally moves at a snail's pace - something that's due in no small part to the emphasis on Danielle's battle with her demons. Having said that, Vincent delivers a surprisingly adept performance and the action - when it finally does come - is much more effective than one might've imagined.

out of


Karas: The Prophecy (April 29/06)

Though anime flicks are generally known for emphasizing style over substance, the extent to which Karas: The Prophecy does this is intolerable virtually right from the start. That the film kicks off with a thoroughly incoherent space battle certainly doesn't help matters, nor does the complete lack of distinguishable characters or a story worth following. In fact, were it not for the in-depth summary provided on the DVDs packaging, I'd have absolutely no idea what the movie is actually about. Evidently, there's some sort of an ongoing conflict between humans and apparitions that can only be resolved by a being known as Karas. Caught in the middle are a malevolent ghost and a seemingly omnipotent human, both of whom have the power to put an end to this battle once and for all. It's clear right from the get-go that director Kenji Nakamura has devoted all his attention towards creating Karas: The Prophecy's admittedly impressive visuals, as the film's plot is muddled to such an extent that even viewers familiar with Nakamura's work will be left scratching their heads. Consequently, there's literally nothing here to hold the interest of casual viewers and it's hard to imagine even the most devoted anime fan finding anything here worth embracing.

no stars out of

About the DVD: Anchor Bay Entertainment presents both films with letterboxed transfers, along with an assortment of bonus features (Karas: The Prophecy also includes an English-language track with folks like Piper Perabo and Jay Hernandez).
© David Nusair