The Black Mass Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Cleopatra Entertainment

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Directed by Devanny Pinn
Written by Brandon Slagle and Eric Pereira
2023, 81 minutes, Not Rated
Released on February 27th, 2024

Starring:
Andy Sykes as Me (aka Ted Bundy)
Eve Hamilton as Lori Lennon
Michelle Romano as Meredith Baker
Sarah Nicklin as Charlotte Turner
Devanny Pinn as Kelly King
Chelsea Gilson as Karla Coleman
Jennifer Wenger as Nancy

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Review:

On January 14, 1978, a stranger named Ted, driving a yellow VW Beetle, stalks a handful of suburban women and college girls. He spends a lot of time peeking in windows and hiding in bushes. He follows the co-eds to a bar before getting kicked out for being a creep. Once his confidence is high and the situation proves favorable, Ted enters a sorority house and murders several young women before disappearing into the night.

I don’t know how much of a spoiler this is, but the film asks for a big surprise reaction when it is revealed in the final moments that Ted is actually, wait for it…Ted Bundy! Unfortunately, this is the biggest shock The Black Mass has to offer. Actress Devanny Pinn (Frost) makes her feature directorial debut with an eye for the mundane. Perhaps aiming for gritty realism and a pseudo-documentary style, we are treated to lengthy passages of banal conversation seen through window panes or across crowded rooms.

The Black Mass is a disappointingly tedious study of one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Ted has little interaction with his victims and aside from being charming, does not follow Bundy’s pattern. It would have been nice to see him wearing a fake cast asking for help or picking up hitchhikers, but Pinn is content placing audiences in the villain’s shoes as we watch him watching others. If his targets were discussing something interesting or had been more fleshed out as characters, it would have been more compelling to root for them, but as it stands, they barely get names and are totally interchangeable.

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Pinn doesn’t ask much of her actors and performances are difficult to gauge beyond the compliment that the actors all feel natural and believable as young adults going through a random day in their life. There are no stinkers in the bunch, but there are no standouts either. Seeking marquee name value, the director does some convention casting of former genre talent, but gives all but one literally nothing to do. Kathleen Kinmont (Bride of Re-Animator, Halloween 4) receives the most screen time and dialogue as Brenda the bartender. Lew Temple (Feral, 31) pops up in the last five minutes as a police detective while Eileen Dietz (Exorcising My Demons, The Exorcist) is on screen long enough to walk a dog across the street. Jeremy London (Mallrats) and Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4) are credited as Patrick and Darcy but are present for a nanosecond and make zero impression.

Co-written by Pinn with Brandon Slagle (The Black Dahlia Haunting) and Eric Pereira (American Girls), the script struggles to inform or entertain for the film’s brief running time (70 minutes before credits), with the most interesting part coming at the end in the form of actual courtroom footage from Bundy’s trial and some text-based information regarding the creation of the Victim’s Rights Act and Bundy’s execution. The Black Mass is a weird title that has nothing to do with the plot save a forced bit of dialogue at the end. I recommend skipping this one entirely, unless you’re bored and eager to stream something in the background while you clean the kitchen.

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Video and Audio:

Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, picture quality is generally strong, as expected for a film shot last year. Detail is sharp and the color palette is well-saturated with rich black levels.

A lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 is serviceable without being too impressive. Dialogue levels are generally clear and understandable and free from distortion.

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Special Features:

Trailers for this and other Cleopatra Entertainment releases are included.

A photo gallery of promotional images is also offered for your viewing pleasure.

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Grades:

Movie:
Cover
Video: Grade
Audio: Grade
Features: Grade
Overall: 2 Star Rating

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Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
Other articles by this writer

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