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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Cat's Eye (Blu-ray)
Cat's Eye (Blu-ray)
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // September 20, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $14.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted October 1, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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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
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P R I N T
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Some of Stephen King's best work is found in his short-story collections. Cat's Eye is a 1985 horror anthology film scripted by King, and three of his stories are woven into one narrative, with the final chapter being a story written for the film. A young Drew Barrymore stars alongside James Woods, Alan King, Kenneth McMillan, Robert Hays and Candy Clark. The stories tie loosely together thanks to a wandering feline, and the film is directed by Lewis Teague, who shot King adaptation Cujo two years earlier. King made his screenwriting debut a year before that with George A. Romero's Creepshow, which is undeniably a better film. Even so, Cat's Eye has its charms, particularly in precocious Barrymore and the scene-stealing Woods, whose chapter is the film's most effective.

In the clever opening, a stray tom tabby cat races ahead of St. Bernard Cujo on a sidewalk before darting in front of the red 1958 Plymouth Fury from Christine. The cat hides in a delivery truck bound for New York City, where an employee of Quitters, Inc. nabs him. In the first chapter proper, Dick Morrison (Woods) joins Quitters, Inc. to beat his smoking habit, and learns the company uses very conventional means to stop their clients from smoking, including intimidation and torture. In the next chapter, Johnny Norris (Hays) is forced to circumvent the ledge outside a crime boss's (McMillan) penthouse when he gets in money and female trouble. In the final segment, Amanda (Barrymore) adopts the cat and names him "General," much to the chagrin of her mother (Clark). A nasty troll lives in the walls of Amanda's bedroom, and General is the only protection the girl has against the vicious creature.

Much of Cat's Eye is tongue-in-cheek, and the segments do not form a traditional horror film. General's purpose in the film is not immediately clear, as the studio excised a more traditional introduction of the cat. The animal is actually responding to a request for help from Barrymore's character, and the young actress pops up briefly in the first segment, as Morrison's disabled daughter, while awaiting her big debut in the finale. King adapted two pre-existing stories, "Quitters, Inc." and "The Ledge", for Cat's Eye, but wrote "General" specifically for Barrymore, who shot another King adaptation, Firestarter, the previous year. The practical visual effects here are impressive, and the grotesque troll that torments Barrymore is particularly entertaining.

The middle segment is the least effective, as it lacks the macabre humor of the surrounding entries. I was bored through much of "The Ledge" despite a few clever moments. "Quitters, Inc." is the best of the three, and Woods offers a lively, paranoid performance. That segment ends with a zing, and sets a high bar for the remaining film not to meet. Barrymore's "General" is decent, largely because she has such personality on screen. The troll was created in camera, and its final, Police-accompanied stand is amusing. Cat's Eye is entertaining, though far from King's best work as a writer. The production is solid if heavily dated, and the segments are overall a mixed bag.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Warner Brothers offers a brand new transfer, scanned from an interpositive at 2K, for Cat's Eye. The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is pleasing, and retains a natural layer of grain. Fine-object detail is impressive, particularly in well-lit, outdoor scenes. Darker scenes do suffer from some crush, but wide shots are generally stable. Skin tones appear accurate, colors are understated but nicely saturated, and I noticed no obtrusive digital tinkering. The print is in good shape, and I spotted only minor banding.

SOUND:

The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is effective and free from hiss and distortion. Dialogue is clear and never clipped. There are some decent atmospheric effects that surround the viewer, and the score and musical selections are appropriately weighty. A Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital mix is included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.

EXTRAS:

The main extra is a Commentary by Director Lewis Teague that appeared on an earlier DVD release. The director is a good host, and offers extensive information about the production and various stories. The disc also includes the Theatrical Trailer (1:35/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This Stephen King-scripted horror anthology is not the writer's best film work, but it does feature a number of interesting segments. James Woods and Drew Barrymore impress in their roles, and Cat's Eye offers enough creeps and macabre humor to make it Recommended.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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