• Mikey (MVD Rewind Collection) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: MVD Rewind Collection
    Released on: August 11th, 2020.
    Director: Dennis Dimster-Denk
    Cast: Brian Bonsall, Josie Bissett, Ashley Laurence, Mimi Craven, John Diehl, Whit Hertford
    Year: 1992
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    Mikey – Movie Review:

    Director Dennis Dimster-Denk 1992 film introduces us to Mikey Kelvin (Brian Bonsall, who played Andy Keaton, the youngest Keaton of them all on Family Ties!) who, when we meet him as the opening credits play, is in the garage playing with matches. Never a good sign. When the matron of his adopted family catches him in the act, she rightly disciplines for him it but Mikey isn’t having any of that and before you know it, not only is she dead but so are her daughter and her husband.

    Somehow, Mikey gets away with this and with that foster family now out of commission, he’s soon paired up with happy go lucky couple Neil (John Diehl) and Rachel (Mimi Craven, who was married to the late Wes Craven) Trenton, and they couldn’t be happier with the darling new addition to their family. Mikey seems into it at first, making fast friends with a boy his age named Ben Owens (Whit Hertford) and then falling pretty hard for his foxy sister Josie (Josie Bissett). Although he's shipped off to a new school, he seems to be quite fond of his teacher, Ms. Shawn Gilder (Ashley Laurence). It isn’t long, however, before Ms. Gilder and gym teacher Mr. Jenkins (Lyman Ward) start to notice some weird behavior on Mikey’s part. It starts with some oddly morbid drawings but quickly begins to escalate into something far more sinister and far more dangerous.

    Those of us old enough to remember Family Ties will no doubt get a kick out of seeing Brian Bonsall essentially playing The Bad Seed, and to be fair to him, he was a good choice for the part. He handles the material well enough but, just as importantly in a movie like this, he’s cute enough in that ‘innocent little kid’ sort of way that we can at least maybe-kinda-sorta see how he’d get away with all of this, if we squint hard enough. He also does a great job in the murder set pieces! Granted, Mikey (the movie) isn’t the most original picture you’ll have ever seen. It borrows from the aforementioned 1956 Mervyn LeRoy picture as well as earlier ‘killer kid’ horror pictures like Bloody Birthday but even so, this one is a pretty fun watch. The supporting cast helps out here too, as we get appearances from Ashley Laurence of Hellraiser fame, Josie Bissett from Melrose Place and Lyman Ward from Ferris Bueller's Day, so there are quite a few familiar faces on display in the film.

    The production values aren’t half bad either. The cinematography is a bit flat looking, there isn’t much here in the way of visual flair, but the compositions are fine and occasionally Tom Jewett finds some inspired angles to use. The score from Tim Truman, who worked on Miami Vice and a bunch of other TV shows as well as… Captain Eo, works well enough and first time director Dennis Dimster-Denk does a decent job of keeping the pacing tight and ensuring that the movie flows nicely. There’s some creativity on display in the kill scenes and in Mikey’s penchant for videography adds a unique element to the production that helps to up our interest a bit. Some doses of black comedy and dark humor work their way into the proceedings as well, which adds to the picture’s entertainment value. This one won’t change your life, but it’s a pretty fun watch.

    Mikey – Blu-ray Review:

    Mikey arrives on a 50GB region free Blu-ray disc from the MVD Rewind Collection with the feature presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.78.1 widescreen taking up 23.1GBs of space on the disc. Picture quality here is pretty solid. There’s a vertical scratch or two here and there but they’re faint, and outside of that there isn’t much in the way of print damage at all. Compression artifacts pop up in a couple of spots but are not a constant and when they do show up, they’re minor. Detail is generally pretty strong for the most part, and colors are reproduced looking very natural. The transfer provides good depth and texture and solid black levels along with realistic, lifelike skin tones. There are issues with any noise reduction or edge enhancement, this always looks like film.

    The main audio track on the disc is an English language 16-bit LPCM 2.0 Stereo track. An optional Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo option is also provided. Optional English SDH subtitles are included. The LPCM mix is obviously the way to go as it’s a lossless option, sounding fuller and demonstrating better depth than the Dolby Digital track. It’s properly balanced and free of any hiss or distortion, offering clean, clear, easy to understand dialogue and some depth where the score is concerned.

    The main extra on the disc is The Making Of Mikey, which is a ninety-seven-minute documentary that, as the title explains, covers the making of the film. Made up primarily of interviews with director Dennis Dimster-Denk, actor Brian Bonsall, editor/producer Natan Zahavi and cinematographer Thomas Jewett, this is a ridiculously in-depth exploration of the film’s origins and production history. They cover how Tapestry Films came into existence and how they came to finance this picture, where the ideas for the story came from, casting the film, what it’s like working as a child actor, shooting locations, ties to other ‘killer kid’ style movies, trusting in Dimster-Denk to pull this off despite it being his directorial debut, what it was like on set, the effects featured in the film, its score, how they feel about the film since working on it and quite a bit more. These guys look back on things pretty fondly and while it was clearly a lot of work to get the movie made in the first place, there’s some obvious pride in the finished product.

    MVD also provide a fourteen-minute featurette entitled Mikey: Anatomy Of A Scene with the film’s director Dennis Dimster-Denk. In this piece, he goes over the film’s finale and explains his creative process along the way, pointing out some interesting facts about how the picture was wrapped up.

    Finishing up the extras is a theatrical trailer for the feature as well as bonus trailers for Bram Stoker’s Shadowbuilder, Mind Games, Dahmer and Split Second.

    This release also comes bundled with a collectible mini-poster folded and inserted inside the case, as well as a collectible slipcover.

    Mikey – The Final Word:

    Mikey doesn’t always feel like the most original film you’ll ever see but it is a pretty solid horror picture that benefits from some good performances and a few scenes of legitimate suspense. There’s plenty of entertainment value to be had here and the MVD Rewind Collection has done a very nice job on the Blu-ray release, presenting the film in nice shape and with a really impressive documentary serving as the best of its extra features. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Mikey Blu-ray screen caps!