DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Morris County
Morris County
Unearthed Films // Unrated // December 16, 2014
List Price: $21.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeremy Biltz | posted November 25, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:
It would be hard to classify Matthew Garrett's film Morris County as strictly horror. Sure, there are murders, suicide, corpses, and all manner of other horrific subject matter, but it's all played straight in a non-exploitive, almost deadpan way. It's not what anyone would describe as a "fun" film, but it is worth watching.

Morris County is comprised of three independent stories, connected only thematically, and by the fact that they are all set in Morris County, NJ. The first segment concerns Ellie (Darcy Miller), a young woman who is exhibiting some troubling and self-destructive tendencies, very much unlike her normal personality. We follow her through the course of a particularly bad day, and eventually learn the root cause of Ellie's state of mind, and the rather extreme method she uses to come to some kind of closure.

The second segment involves a middle class Jewish family, dad Noah, wife Rachel, and son Joshua (Albie Selznick, Maren Perry and Robbie Peters), which is disintegrating in slow motion, held together only by fear of social consequences and inertia. Noah can't deal with the fact that Rachel is having a semi-open affair with a fellow member of their synagogue, and doesn't love him anymore. Little Joshua has a few issues himself, particularly with how he treats animals.

The final segment is about Iris (Alice Cannon), an older woman who is laid off after decades of employment because she can't keep up with the technological changes in the office. She doesn't know exactly what to do with herself, particularly after her husband Elmer (Erik Frandsen) dies in his sleep.

All three of these tales are told with a decidedly nihilist tone, holding out little hope for humanity, or how we treat each other or that there might be some point to all the suffering we go through. This dark outlook can make Morris County difficult to take at times. Garrett isn't interested in easy answers or cheap shortcuts to emotional payoffs. But he does provide the viewer with well told stories that deliver a gut punch. This is helped by the fact that he leaves a lot to the inference of the audience, and is comfortable with important information being left ambiguous or unstated. The solid performances help as well. Darcy Miller plays her disaffected teen to perfection, avoiding bathos but infusing the character with an affecting despair and determination simultaneously. Honestly, Miller's performance is probably reason enough to watch the film.

On the other hand, Garrett's comfort with ambiguity, and his lack of desire to infuse the events we see with any deeper significance, means that Morris County is most definitely not emotionally satisfying. It's a hard movie to watch, and asks a lot of patience of the viewer. But that patience is mostly well rewarded. There are some quality issues that inevitably go along with low budget films of this nature, somewhat exacerbated by the fact that the three segments were essentially independent productions filmed years apart, with higher budgets for each outing. But this doesn't impact the quality of the storytelling or performances. The important stuff. Overall, this is a film to see. Just make sure you're in a good mood first. Recommended.

The DVD

Video:
The video is 1.78:1 widescreen and does have some issues, most prominently persistent aliasing. The colors are generally muted, which fits thematically with the subject matter. There are no quality issues that interfere with the viewing experience, and as stated above, this is pretty standard for low budget fare.

Sound:
Audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, and is serviceable. No hiss or other problems are audible, and the dialogue is generally easy to make out. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are included.

Extras:
There are a number of extras included. They are:

Ellie Revisited
This is an interview with Darcy Miller that runs to just over eight minutes. She talks about how she and Garrett met, developing the character, and her process. Interesting.

Beating Hearts Short
This is a short film, also written and directed by Matthew Garrett, and it is quite well done. An optional commentary from Garrett is available as well.

Beating Hearts Revisited
This is an interview with Gianna Bruzzese and Georgeanne Bruzzese, who played the daughter and mother in the Beating Hearts short, talking about the experience, preparation, etc.

Commentary #1
This commentary track features Matthew Garrett and writer Kier-La Janisse, author of House of Psychotic Women. They discuss the film, what the horror scene was like in the nineties, influences on Garrett, a particularly antagonistic screening of Morris County and much more.

Commentary #2
This commentary features Garrett, several producers and an editor on the film, and covers a lot of the same ground as the first commentary, though with much more focus on the production side of things, and what was actually happening on set. Both commentaries are interesting, and add a lot to the experience.

Final Thoughts:
Morris County is a difficult film to watch, but it is executed with skill and vision. Writer / director Matthew Garrett has something to say, and while it's certainly a dark outlook that he's expounding, his voice is worth listening to. Check this one out.

Popular Reviews
1. Against All Flags
2. Slave of the Cannibal God (Special Edition) AKA Mountain of the Cannibal God / La montagna del dio cannibale
3. The Kiss of the Vampire
4. Gladiator (4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital / Steelbook)
5. Pretty in Pink (Paramount Presents)
6. Sixteen Candles
7. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
8. Dance, Girl, Dance - The Criterion Collection
9. The Flesh and the Fiends (Special Edition)
10. Kiss the Blood off My Hands


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2020 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use