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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Posers
Posers
Seville Pictures // Unrated // May 20, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted August 23, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Canadian thriller Posers begins with the introduction of four club-hopping roommates. Vonny (Sarain Boylan) is a coke-snorting substitute teacher. Ruth (Emily Hampshire), who hawks flowers in the back of a van and seizes every possible opportunity to sneak onto on the 6 o'clock news, is part of the group just so they'll have someone close by to look down on. The latest addition is the utterly indifferent Adria (Jessica Paré; Stardom and...hey, Big Wolf on Campus). The three of them are led by Love (Stefanie von Pfetten), who's so incensed that her boyfriend ditched her for another girl that she catches up with her at a night club. After beating Sadie mercilessly and leaving her for dead, Love waits for their crime to be acknowledged in the media. After catching a report on the news, Love decides they need to return to the club and silently revel in their glory. Sinclair (Adam Beach), a cop investigating the beating, informs the girls as they impatiently wait in line that Sadie died as a result of her severe injuries. Love doesn't care for Adria's quickly cobbled-together story, storming back to their apartment while the other three dance the night away. Her roommates return to find their home drenched in blood, an eerily-familiar note scrawled on a bathroom mirror, and Love nowhere to be found. They all become increasingly mentally unhinged in the wake of her grisly disappearance. As the determined Sinclair keeps a close eye on the three of them, the girls grow suspicious of one another, convinced that a killer is among them.

Posers doesn't follow the well-trodden path of many thrillers, preferring to build a sense of paranoia among its small cast of characters rather than string together a series of jump scares or trite chases. It doesn't leave all of the genre's clichés behind, though. Adam Beach's cop is the only prominent member of the cast with a Y-chromosome, and yup, a relationship inevitably develops between the only male lead and Poser's leading lady, Jessica Paré. For a thriller, Posers is noticeably lacking in thrills. Its comparatively low-key approach could have worked, but it doesn't build a sufficiently tense atmosphere to be effective. The discovery of a bloodied apartment seemed to be moving in the right direction, but within a matter of minutes, the film has Ruthie slapping her sister around to get free flowers for a Love-shrine, Vonny skulking around in night vision goggles, and, when she's not screwing or flirting with Sinclair, Adria spouting off faux-Caine-in-Kung Fu dialogue about how she is "The Stranger". Adria often notes how her sanity is slipping away, but she doesn't sell it on-screen. For sizeable chunks of the film, their mental anguish culminates in little more than mild verbal abuse and chucking shoes, and their attempts at conveying fear mostly consist of tip-toeing around or screaming hysterically. Even with a lean runtime of 80 minutes, Posers isn't able to sustain any tension. Things do amp up in the final fifteen minutes, when confrontations become more heated and another body is discovered, but both it and the twist ending are too little, too late.

The Ottawa-lensed Posers is currently available on DVD exclusively through Séville Pictures, the Canadian company that also co-produced the film. Though this disc is not being sold in the U.S., a number of Canadian retailers carry the title, many of whom will ship to the States. I'm not convinced it would be worth the effort in this case, though. Posers is a passably decent film, but its meandering middle section, acting that teeters on campy, and sparse thrills don't really cry out for a purchase. Its release on DVD is similarly uninspired, with little to differentiate it from an airing on premium cable.

Video: Posers is presented full-frame. Its letterboxed end credits would seem to suggest that this isn't the intended aspect ratio of the film, but I haven't been able to find a definitive answer one way or the other. This doesn't appear to be an open-matte presentation, or at least not in the sense of simply stripping some mattes away.

Sometimes matting works...  
  ...but for the most part...

As far as I'm aware, Séville has a solid track record for presenting films in their original aspect ratio, so I dunno if Posers is an anomaly, if I'm reading too much into the letterboxing of the film's credits, or if the movie is meant to be seen full-frame and I'm prattling on endlessly for no particular reason. In any event, the framing doesn't suffer or seem awkward at 1.33:1, so I'll shut up and leave it at that.

Posers has a low-budget look to it, with film grain present to varying degrees throughout, and a level of detail that's often unremarkable and occasionally murky. The vibrancy of the palette is somewhat limited, perhaps intentionally, and hues frequently appear somewhat dull. Print flaws and speckling are kept to a bare minimum. Given Posers' likely threadbare budget, it's probable that this DVD is indicative of the way the film appeared during its screenings at various Canadian film festivals, but viewers shouldn't go in expecting to be able to use this disc as home theater demo material.

Audio: A pair of Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks, each encoded at a bitrate of 192Kbps, are provided, both in the film's original English as well as a French dub. The English track is reasonably robust, with the emphasis placed on the movie's dialogue, which comes through cleanly and clearly. Again, not a sonic showcase, but it does the job.

There are no subtitles or closed captions.

Supplements: Posers doesn't include any extras related to the film itself, though a handful of trailers have been provided. Run Lola Run (1:33), Rub and Tug (2:11), and Lost and Delirious (1:46) feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio (192Kbps) and are not enhanced for widescreen televisions. Rub and Tug is letterboxed to an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and the remaining two trailers are full-frame.

Posers comes packaged in an MCM keepcase, and no insert has been provided. The cover art is reversible, with a French version on the flipside. Posers is presented on a single-sided, single-layer disc, and the movie has been divided into twelve chapters.

Conclusion: As a thriller, Posers didn't really draw me in. Interested readers may want to keep an eye out on cable listings or a possible rental, but I wouldn't recommend Posers as a purchase sight-unseen.
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