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The Lesson (Blu-ray Review)

LessonIn the history of cinema, we’ve been through many teachers with challenging students or schools altogether.  It usually winds up in a happy renaissance for both the teacher and the students, overcoming their lifestyles and whatnot to unlock a knowledge based key to a world they never imagined they could be a part of.  Hell, you know what Coolio sang about.  Now, when it comes to horror, I’m not sure there are many scary teachers that put the spin on this, but here’s a new one for you in The Lesson.  First-time feature helmer Ruth Platt “comes out swinging as an intelligent directorial force with this debut” (DreadCentral.com) that “ramps up the tension dramatically and results in a solid horror coming-of-age film that features one of the scariest teachers ever put on screen” (Bloody-Disgusting.com)!  The Lesson makes its debut on Blu-ray on March 7th.

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Film 

Fin, a lone teen from a broken family, gets caught up in the wrong crowd of delinquent kids in this chilling horror film filled with white-knuckle suspense. When Fin and his friend, Joel act up in class, their English teacher decides to teach them a lesson they will never forget.

Well, when you see a pull quote and its comparing the film to the absolutely phenomenal Whiplash, you’re probably setting it up unfairly.  But, here we are.  I can sort of “get” where that quote came from, but man, quality-wise they are polar opposites.  The Lesson sticks around for far too long and manages to make torture and intensity somewhat of a bore.

The gore in the film is all right, and can be effective and impressive.  What isn’t, is our “protagonists”? We are introduced to and spend far to much time with a group of complete shitheads that you just can’t get on board with.  Now, I realize that seems to kind of be the point, but the film them asks you to feel sorry for them or root for them under the duress and its just hard to go there.  And our teacher who you DID feel sorry for in the beginning, is now a raving, torturous psychopath.   Its a long time before “the lesson” begins and by the time it happens, I was checked out.

The Lesson didn’t teach me much.  Other than probably…never watch The Lesson again.  You know how sometimes within just a couple minutes you know this movie is probably not going to be for you? It was pretty instant with this one.  I wish it would have been better, but its craft wasn’t my bag and it needed much better character work.  Its an exercise in torture, but the schtick gets old really fast and you’re just waiting for this to get done as soon as possible.  No its not offensive it just sort of wears out its welcome.  It doesn’t help that the characters are just unengaging and annoying as well.  Or, maybe I’m too old.  Who knows.

Lesson 1

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Lesson features a dingy and kinda ugly looking picture. The image is bleached or blown out with does affect the amount of detail seen.  Its by design however.  You still get some good looks at clothing articles, hair and grass and the like.

Depth: Dimensions are less than ideal.  Movement looks very PAL-like in nature in spots (Like a guy riding a bike).  

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and do make details disappear here and there within the shadows and pants and such.  No crushing witnessed, but it feels like you could find possibly find it in places.

Color Reproduction:  This thing is pretty bleached out.  Greens look good as well as reds in the latter, bloodier parts of the film.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are very bleached out and keep that way throughout.  Details come through, but can be lacking due to the aesthetic.  Freckles, makep-up, wrinkles and blemishes can be seen.

Noise/Artifacts: Its got what looks and feels like a layer of grain on it.

Lesson 5

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The Lesson doesn’t quite give a listen in an audio mix, but its a solid, average mix that gets the job done good enough.  This one’s audio kinda appears and feels low budget, but that’s fine.  Music, vocals and effects all feel balanced enough here.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  A lot of musical stings, slams and stabs all feel the thud of your subwoofer throughout.

Surround Sound Presentation: More of the action heads toward the front while leaving the back speakers to hold up some ambiance.  Motion is tracked well in this mix.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.

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Extras 

Trailer (HD, 1:38)

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Summary 

Nope, I wasn’t a fan of The Lesson.  This Blu-ray comes with probably the best transfer it could have, though the picture just naturally isn’t meant to look the best.  Sound is solid, too.  Nothing as far as extras, so you gotta really love this one.  For those interested I would definitely see it through a rental or streaming avenue before making a purchase.

Lesson-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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