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The Taking Of Deborah Logan (DVD Review)

Taking Of Deborah LoganThe Taking Of Deborah Logan boats “From The Producer Of X-Men and Trick r’ Treat” because Bryan Singer is a producer on it.  Although, I’m not too sure how involved the guy is on it, as its a low budget found footage horror cash in that doesn’t at all feel like some sort of passion or special project.  Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang and Ryan Cutrona who have all no doubt popped up in various things you may have seen over the years.  Over the last five years we’ve had a zillion of these found footage exorcism/possession/haunted house movies, so what would it be with this film that would set it apart from the pack?  Or would it just be another run of the mill exercise in the horror found footage aesthetic?  I guess that’s what I’m here to analyze and take a look at.

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Film 

Mia Medina has finally found the perfect subject for her PhD thesis film on Alzheimer’s Disease.  For the next several months, cameras will record the everyday life of mother Deborah Logan and her daughter Sarah. But as the days progress, strange things begin to happen around Deborah that are not consistent with any findings about Alzheimer’s. It becomes apparent that there’s something besides Alzheimer’s that has taken control of Deborah’s life.  It’s an evil that is far worse than the debilitating disease with which she was first diagnosed.

The Taking Of Deborah Logan seems to be a any number of your paranormal possession found footage movies, yet with a bit richer of production values.  The film carries a slick look and little bit better craftsmanship than a good handful of these movies.  However nifty the angle with which the possession is first investigated is, it still turns into everything you’ve kind of seen before.  Many of the suspense scenarios and jump scares in the film weren’t very effective mainly because I’ve seen a good number of these movies and it all now seems a bit telegraphed to me.  They’re well done, but they’re tired.

Jill Larson, who plays the titular character, is pretty terrific here in the film.  The woman goes above and beyond the call for this movie.  She winds up being pretty damn spooky even before she gets the assistance of the makeup department.  Her voice infliction and just at times, these simple little looks toward the camera are enough to unnerve you.  To go even further, she strips down to bare all during a segment in the film to make for a pretty disturbing sequence.

For a found footage possession horror film, The Taking Of Deborah Logan is very well made and some good ideas behind it.  Unfortunately for the film, its 2014 and a lot of the stuff they are bringing to the table, execution-wise, is a bit tired and done.  If you’ve seen plenty of these movies, you know how every little scary sequence is going to wind up  or being able to time the jump scares of that character lit by a flashlight in the dark staring at a wall/window/door/whatever (Happens a good number of times in this).  You know the drill, but if this kind of stuff gets you every time, then hey, I’m jealous of you because I can see this one working out decently.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  For a DVD this is pretty top of the line.  The image is about as sharp and detailed as you can get.  Closeups provide some solid work, while medium and far shots are much smoother.  There are scenes and shots of different, poorer video sources, so my comments are for the main camera’s footage in the use of storytelling.

Depth:  About average for a DVD.  A couple cavern sequences have a little bit of life, but for a lot of it, its decent or hard to tell due to the nature of the video.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and consuming.  They really spook out in the dark rooms and nighttime sequences.

Color Reproduction:  Colors feature a lot of autumn tones.  Browns and dingy greens are well represented and natural here.  There are a few shirts that our lead wears, and they flush out nicely.

Flesh Tones:  Flesh tones are slightly cooler and consistent.  Detail is higher in closeups than with further out shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Nothing out of the ordinary aside from normal inferior DVD things.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Stereo 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a pretty lively track and makes the most of ones viewing.  Sounds are set to all sorts of volumes and distortions to poke at the viewer.  It features some intentionally distorted moments that capture well for what they are setting out to do.

Low Frequency Extension:  Some of the bumps in the night, demonic noises as well as a ringing are enhanced by the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  There’s a good atmospheric presentation here.  It makes you feel like you’re in the house.  Sometimes noises can come from behind, some are light in the distance, things move right, they move left.  Its a really solid effort.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear and clean.  Some intentional distortion does occur.

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Extras 

“Making Of” Featurette (SD, 3:36) – The film’s director and a couple cast members lend a couple thoughts on the film.

Previews – The Taking Of Deborah Logan, Stonehearst Asylum, Good People, Dead Within, Automata

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Summary 

The Taking Of Deborah Logan comes to you on DVD and offers a nicely produced found footage horror movie that doesn’t really set itself apart or anything but does what it does better than most.  Personally, while admiring some of the production aspects, I found it tiring and wholly predictable.  This DVD has some really good audio and video for you.  The extras don’t amount to anything, so I suppose you better really love this movie if you’re going to pick it up.  I’d recommend just waiting til its inevitably on your streaming service for no extra charge if you want to check it out.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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