Videodrone B-Sides: 'Beyond' 'The Fields' is a 'Metal Tornado,' and other direct-to-disc stories
Our monthly round-up of direct-to-disc and made-for-cable pictures that slip on to the New Release racks
"Beyond" (Anchor Bay) – Jon Voight plays one of those tough, old-school cops out of step in the modern world in this mix of kidnap thriller and supernatural mystery. Asked to search for a missing child, he gets an unwanted (but oddly helpful) assist from a radio psychic (Julian Morris) who claims to have made contact. Director Joseph Rusniak previously helmed the theatrical features "The Thirteenth Floor" and the 2008 remake of "It's Alive" and Teri Polo and Dermot Mulroney co-star.
It's doubtful this film (which proudly proclaims it is "From the producer of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance") began as a direct-to-disc production but given the overwhelmingly negative reviews (all from disc review sites) make it appear inevitable in retrospect. Blu-ray and DVD, no supplements.
"The Fields" (Breaking Glass), an American Gothic horror starring Cloris Leachman and Tara Reid, riffs on the "Children of the Corn" genre (if you can call that franchise a genre) of horrors in the cornfield of a small town farm. This one has its fans, such as this supportive review from Twitch: "A true gem hidden amongst a haystack of wannabes and cheap efforts, so make sure you give it a chance when you happen upon it." More reviews here. Blu-ray and DVD, with a featurette and outtakes among the supplements.
"Metal Tornado" (Arc) is another SyFy Original disaster film, this one with Lou Diamond Philips, Nicole deBoer, Greg Evigan, and a rogue magnetic field that becomes a swirling metal tornado of death! Or something like that. It's the unfortunate side effect of an experiment to capture solar flare energy. DVD only. Reviews here.
"Black Cobra" (Lionsgate), based on the book "When the Cobra Strikes," is a thriller set in the world of diamond smugglers, with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the token dignity. DVD only, with deleted scenes and an alternate ending. Reviews here.
"The Shrine" (Kimstim / Zeitgeist), about the mystery behind a missing American backpacker in Europe, moves from "Hostel"-like territory to a story of human sacrifice. Aaron Ashmmore and Cindy Sampson star. DVD only, with commentary and behind-the-scenes footage. Reviews here.
Christian Slater is the token "star" name for "Playback" (Magnet), a voyeurism horror with echoes of "The Ring." This one premiered on video on demand. Blu-ray and DVD, with a behind-the-scenes featurette. Reviews here.
"Madison County" (Image) offers up a group of college kids to a serial killer in a hog mask who haunts the woods. DVD only, with commentary.
"Cinnamon" (Arc) is a puppy love story with dogs, with token human stars Cynthia Gibb and Greg Evigan in support. DVD only, no supplements.
"The Jungle Bunch: The Movie" (Universal) is an animated short feature (running under an hour) originally made for French TV and dubbed in English with an American cast headlined by John Lithgow. The DVD-only release features 26 vignettes and is a Walmart exclusive disc, available in stores and online.
"The Genesis Code" (eOne), co-directed by C. Thomas Howell, is a faith-based drama of science and religion finding common ground, thanks to the spiritual struggle of a hockey player (Logan Bartholomew) and a college journalist (Kelsey Sanders). Lance Henriksen, Louise Fletcher, Ernest Borgnine, and Fred Dalton Thompson co-star. DVD only, no supplements.
"Chasing Happiness" (Stonelock Media Group) is an indie romantic comedy about a Bollywood queen, a guru, a poker junkie, and others looking for love. DVD only, no supplements.