Quantcast

Man’s Best Friend (Blu-ray Review)

New Line Cinema was “The House That Freddy Built”, but in 1991 the studio bumped off their carpenter and noted breadwinner (Only to return three years later in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare). They were still a notable horror house and delivered many of the more interesting and mid-level pictures throughout the 1990s. Man’s Best Friend, along with the likes of Ghost In The Machine that same year, were of the horror films that came during the absentee Freddy years. It was also during that dreadful time for horror in the 1990s (That has more gems than you think) where the genre felt on a decline. Scream Factory is bringing Man’s Best Friend to Blu-ray finally on March 12th for the first time. Maybe Ghost in the Machine will be around the corner as well, considering the newfound relations with Warner Bros which also leads to New Line. It doesn’t have many bonus features to speak of, but fans will likely be happy just to have it with a new 2K scan. Pre-order is available below. 

Film 

Reporter Lori Tanner (Ally Sheedy), investigating a story about animal cruelty, gains access to a facility where dogs and cats are the subjects of cruel experiments conducted by Dr. Jarret (Lance Henriksen). After seeing the conditions of the lab, Lori flees the building, but massive escaped dog Max follows her. Lori decides to keep Max as a pet, but the seemingly lovable canine is a genetically altered dog with unusual abilities and psychotic tendencies that set him on a killing spree.

Well, its no Cujo right? Man’s Best Friend, I don’t remember coming to the theater at all in 1993, but I do remember it as a staple at the video rental stores in the 90s. And I also feel like most kids in my middle school class had seen the movie. While I don’t remember the film that well, I do remember that strange side note about it. But when you’re a young horror nut and during a time where you’re trying to check out whatever there is available, a new release like this is gonna get a shot.

Returning to the film, I’m not entirely sure if this movie was entirely taking itself serious. Or if it was, what a happy comedic accident its proven to be. The stuff with this dog and the way its portrayed in the film is a bit much, over the top and silly. A uniformed character meets a certain fate halfway through and I couldn’t help but laugh at the way they shot and cut it. There are more moments and trying to get this viciousness out of the dog is pretty silly. The best part of it all is that everyone in the film is taking the material seriously and playing it straight. Bless your heart Ally Sheedy, you deserve better, but I love you for doing this movie and being a pro.

A lot of goofy movies we have for the entertainment of “so bad its good” variety typically are pulled from the 1980s and 1970s where a lot of exploitation and cocaine fueled “what the fucks” were created. However, this 1990s entry to that canon should not be missed. Granted, its a competently made film, it just doesn’t deliver on the intended effect I think its supposed to have. Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but I found Man’s Best Friend to deliver some genuinely fun camp in a delightful misguided effort.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Scream Factory reports Man’s Best friend comes to Blu-ray via a new 2K scan of the original film elements. Overall, this is a mighty solid picture and one that’s a hair of an uptick over that “typical” Scream Factory 80s film look (I know this film is 90s, but that’s my reference). Details when closer up look pretty impressive. There’s a nice complimentary layer of grain and some light specs find their way in here or there. Overall, the film isn’t a looker to begin with, but it pulls off “normal” with a bolder looking image.  Details on the dog are really good too, from his fur to his eyes.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty good and above average. Spacing feels really good especially in a lot of darker moments. Movements are natural and cinematic with no motion distortions really rearing their head.

Black Levels: Blacks are really deep and pretty impressive. Most of the better looking details and clarity come in darker moments. No crushing present. Most intended detail is maintained.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t a super colorful film. The image presents the naturals very well. Whites have a good amount of saturation and many shades. Yellows tend to be another impressive color in this mix.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures like water dripping, freckles, stubble, wrinkles, lip texture and more prove really clear and discernible in well lit close ups and decent in medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: N/A

Audio 

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

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Man’s Best Friend shows a nice loud display in its 5.1 presentation. Its a loud mix that really has some good depth on its effects. While loud, everything is loud with a nice balanced mix. It hangs out a lot in the front but manages to be a pretty good experience nonetheless.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Musical beats, a belch, stuff crashing around and much commotion gives good vibrations from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Not a whole lot to speak of from a fully engulfing 360 experience, but the front does have some good range and travel back and forth.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Man’s Best Friend comes with a reversible cover featuring an alternate poster design.

Audio Commentary

  • With writer/director John Lafia

Trailers (SD, 2:38)

TV Spots (SD, :50)

Summary 

Man’s Best Friend works as a nice slice of 1990s horror cheese. The performances, dog stuff and all else work quite well for some good gags either intentional or unintentional. It comes with a very solid presentation from Scream Factory and has a nice commentary to compliment the film. This is a pretty basic package, so the pricing may be a little bit steep to many, but those who really want it should be happy its made the jump anyway.

Share

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).

  1. No Comments