Does Lance Henriksen ever go on vacation? I mean, I love the guy's work and all that, but over the past few years he's become a True Blue King of Schlock, so I'm wondering if he might not need a few weeks on a Hawaiian island or something.
Most genre fans know and admire Lance Henriksen for his work in James Cameron's Aliens and Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark, but you might be surprised to remember that the actor also appeared in titles like Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Right Stuff, The Terminator, Jagged Edge, and the sadly underrated Johnny Handsome. Hardcore horror hounds will no doubt remember their old pal from his work in Damien: Omen 2, Piranha 2, Pumpkinhead, Man's Best Friend, and Scream 3. Basically Lance does a whole lot of junky stuff, but pops up every once in a while in a flick that's surprisingly good. (Keep an eye out for the old-school-amusing monster movie called Abominable.)
Sadly, and despite my long-standing affection for Lance Henriksen's skills, The Garden is not even remotely one of those "surprisingly good" flicks.
A dry, ponderous, and virtually intrigue-free combination of Frailty and Misery, The Garden is about an emotionally unbstable young kid who, while traveling home with his semi-estranged father, gets into a nasty car accident and wakes up on an isolated farm -- a farm owned by LANCE HENRIKSEN.
Slowly (very slowly) the truth comes out: Apparently Lance lives on a patch of land that, once upon a time, was known as The Garden of Eden. Which logically makes him Satan, or at least one of Satan's most gravel-voiced minions. Aside from a few thoroughly predictable dispatches (the local bully gets skewered, as does a stupidly curious psychologist), The Garden is composed of nothing more than three bored actors sitting in a cabin and glowering at each other.
Mr. Henriksen does have a few fine moments, to be sure, but the actor is saddled with dialogue that was old-hat about 35 years ago, and neither of his co-stars are able to rise above the tedium. As young Sam, Adam Gordon is actually quite good, considering the material he's working with. B-movie staple Brian Wimmer also contributes a fairly strong performance. If only the concept, script, and execution weren't so deadly dull.
Ah, and here's the icing on the B-movie cake: Sean Young pops up as a mildly psycho schoolteacher, and that gal's always good for a few chuckles.
Video: The movie's presented in a fairly crisp and strong anamorphic widescreen (1.77:1) transfer.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English, with no subtitles whatsoever.
First up is an audio commentary with director Don Michael Paul, which is as mildly informative as it is aggressively bland.
The Garden: Behind the Scenes (5:53) is a bunch of on-set video footage. Also included are the trailer, a still gallery, a Lance Henriksen Bio, and some Anchor Bay previews for Masters of Horror, Left in Darkness, The Tooth Fairy, It Waits, and Room 6.
It takes more than one well-admired genre performer to turn a one-concept occult thriller into something worth seeing. Casual horror fans can absolutely skip this one, but if you're still down with the Henriksen, I'd say The Garden might be worth a Rent It.