Released By: Full Moon Features
October 24, 2016.
Sherilyn Fenn, Malcolm Jamieson, Phil Fondacaro, Hilary Mason, Charlie Alex Daniels, Charlie Spradling
Charles Band brings his unique brand of film making to Meridian, a different approach to the story of Beauty and The Beast. It's modern-day Italy, and the Catholic Church is gifted a centuries-old painting that they hope to have restored in time for the unveiling of their newly-renovated crypt. Realizing that the painting is actually covering up another painting, the head Priest in charge assigns the work to Gina (Charlie Spradling), with a strict deadline of forty-eight hours to complete the task. This doesn't sit well with Gina, who has plans to visit an old friend who has recently returned to the country and her family's castle, but she reluctantly agrees to cut the reunion trip down to one night for the sake of the unveiling.
A short time later, Gina is reunited and it feels so good with her old friend Catherine (Sherilyn Fenn), taking in the sights of the family's ancient castle and admiring the massive stone sculptures that are scattered throughout the grounds. Despite the shortness of the visit, the girls are determined to make the best of the day, and Gina jumps at the chance to attend a performance by Fauvrey's World of Wonders, a traveling sideshow with magicians, midgets, fire-breathers, and knife throwers. Despite Catherine's apparent unease in the presence of the carnies, Gina is thrilled by the performance and invites the troupe back to the castle for dinner. Catherine, disturbed by Lawrence Fauvrey's interest in her in the form of leering, lingering gazes, balks at the invite but eventually relents, and the rowdy group indulges in a rowdy feast. Fauvrey, aware that Catherine is still resistant to making eye contact with him, has his assistant spike the wine with a foreign substance, and the young lady and her friend are inundated by hallucinations and strange visions of intercourse; with Catherine being penetrated by a massive hairy beast-monster to an overbearing synthesizer score that makes it look and sound like a bad 80's music video.
The morning finds Fauvrey and his troupe gone from the castle, Gina heading back to the church, and Catherine with a bad drug and alcohol hangover and only the faintest glimpses of what occurred the night before. These glimpses give way to more horrifying visions of a murdered girl in a long abandoned part of the castle, a portal in a wall to a hellish world, and a beastly creature on a murderous rampage. As Catherine delves deeper into the past, Gina discovers her own dark secrets in her restoration of the painting, revealing a supernatural horror in the form of a 400 year-old curse.
Meridian seems to be a sure bet right out of the gate, with some impressive locations and set design...the castle, the church crypt, the stone "Monster Garden", some gloomy atmosphere, and two gorgeous actresses in the form of Charlie Spradling and Sherilyn Fenn. The setup is competently done, with the introduction of Fauvrey's sideshow as well, and the ensuing dinner party. The picture begins to fall apart, however, with the hallucinogenic sex scene, overdone with that terrible synth score and a pretty laughable beast creature, and never recovers. The beast makeup in and of itself is not terrible, it's quite well done, but falls somewhere in the range of comedic in the context of the picture.Fenn continues to be a decent actress, but is given next to nothing to do, wandering from room to room in the castle and spending most of her time crying.
By the time we get to the big reveal and the finale, Meridian is more than laughable, with an amateurish sequenced conclusion that does not come close to satisfying, and ultimately shines the spotlight on what has been a pretty messy buildup. Is this supposed to be a medieval romance? A horror? A supernatural medieval romance horror thriller? Not even naked Sherilyn Fenn can save this one; Meridian may look like a real film, but it's balanced on a shaky script that is predominantly made of filler and ultimately executed poorly.
Full Moon Brings Meridian to Blu-ray in a 1.78:1 AVC-encoded transfer that will surely delight fans of the film who have been subjected to a variety of full-frame DVD releases. The grain structure is intact here without being overbearing, and the picture is largely clean with a good amount of detail. Some dirt, damage, debris and speckling does exist at various times throughout the film, but it's not bad enough to be distracting, and there aren't any flaws here as far as compression issues or artifacting. However, this transfer does appear a little darker than it maybe should be, which is a detriment to the end of the film, with some scenes blanketed in shadow. Still, it's largely a decent effort.
Two English Audio Tracks are provided, both lossy...a Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Both are perfectly adequate, with slight edge going to the 5.1 for opening up the surrounds for the score. Really, though, there's not too much going on in this one (outside of that score), and both tracks carry the dialogue and sound effects just fine, with an absence of hiss and distortion.
No subtitles are provided.
The lone extra on this release outside of a Trailer Reel of 7 Full Moon Features, and a video intro to Fullmoonstreaming.com and Fullmoondirect.com for all of your Full Moon film needs, is a Behind The Scenes (5:23), essentially a "vintage" featurette that contains scenes from the film, a voice-over explaining the plot and some brief details about the making of Meridian, as well as some short interviews with Charles Band, Sherilynn Fenn and Malcolm Jamieson.
The Final Word:
Fans of this film will no doubt love the upgrade to the Blu-ray format, but newcomers to the film will most likely be underwhelmed by a very mediocre movie.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
beauty and the beast,
charlie alex daniels,
- DVD And Blu-ray Reviews G-M