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Sonja O'Hara
Shane West, Sarah Hay, Stephen Lang
Writing Credits:
Mike Stern

A couple's weekend in a mid-century modern vacation rental turns deadly when the husband discovers the owner is a psychopath with a backyard of buried secrets and designs on his wife.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 7/26/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director Sonja O’Hara and Actor/Writer Mike Stern
• Trailer


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Mid-Century [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 22, 2022)

Haunted house movies go back pretty much as far as films have existed. For a new entry in that genre, we go to 2022’s Mid-Century.

As a change of pace to boost their relationship, Tom Levin (Shane West) and Alice Dodgeson (Marie Gilligan) go away for a weekend. They rent a fancy “Mid-Century Modern” house designed by late architect Frederick Banner.

While they settle in, Tom and Alice learn that the home comes with supernatural secrets. As such, the ghosts of Banner (Stephen Lang) and his two wives Marie (Sarah Hay) and Joanne (Ellen Toland) haunt the home – and Banner’s still-living, mentally-ill son Eldridge (Mike Stern) creates corporeal dangers.

Like many movies, Mid-Century offers the bones of a workable affair. Like many movies, Mid-Century blows it in terms of execution.

This becomes an issue from the get-go, as Mid-Century opens with an unnecessary prologue. We go back to the 1950s to meet Banner and see what a nutbag he was.

I get the reason the filmmakers include this: to give the movie some zing before it enters a long period of exposition. However, this means that the story telegraphs too much too soon and ruins potential surprises.

Not that any of this matters in the long run, as Mid-Century delivers such a muddled story that it would’ve gone off the rails no matter what. I do admire the movie’s ambition, as it attempts to link a bunch of concepts beyond the simple “haunted house” domain I mentioned at the start.

However, it connects these dots in such a clumsy manner that the story goes nowhere. A simpler tale would’ve satisfied more, as this one just becomes a murky mess.

I can’t dig into these domains too heavily because they would involve spoilers. However, the plot points quickly wander down meandering paths that don’t come together in a compelling manner.

A more focused version of Mid-Century could’ve worked, but the version we get becomes rambling and incoherent. I give the movie credit for some attempts to deviate from the norm, but it falters in its ability to deliver a satisfying final product.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Mid-Century appears in an aspect ratio of 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a reasonable representation of the source.

Overall sharpness came across fine, though some softness interfered at times – and for reasons that didn’t appear related to stylistic choices. Nonetheless, most of the movie felt accurate and well-defined.

No jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained absent. I also saw no print flaws.

Mid-Century came with a stylized palette that emphasized a pretty strong mix of blue/teal and orange/amber. These choices worked fine given the movie’s narrative, and the Blu-ray reproduced them well.

Blacks seemed strong. Shadows also appeared smooth and concise for the most part, though a few shots came across as a bit murky. In general, I felt pleased with this solid image.

Given the movie’s subdued nature, I expected a low-key DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, and that was what I got. The audio concentrated on moody ambience much of the time.

Via a few scary moments, effects occasionally cropped up around the spectrum, and the film’s score also utilized the various channels well. Nonetheless, this was usually a restrained soundscape that went with a sinister feel but lacked a lot of concrete sizzle.

Audio quality appeared positive. Music was full and rich, while effects seemed accurate and clear.

Dialogue worked fine, as lines seemed natural. This became a suitable soundtrack for the story on display.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get an audio commentary from director Sonja O’Hara and actor/writer Mike Stern. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, period details, sets and locations, design choices, music, editing, effects, and related topics.

Overall, this becomes a quality chat, as O’Hara and Stern both deliver a mix of useful insights and do so in a chatty, engaging manner. Even with the usual happy talk, we get a pretty solid commentary.

A mix of horror genres, Mid-Century cannot meld these domains in a coherent manner. The movie plods and meanders as it winds toward an unsatisfying conclusion. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio with a commentary as the primary bonus feature. I’ve seen worse horror flicks but this one nonetheless winds up as flawed and forgettable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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