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Growing Out 
Written by: on March 8th, 2009

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2008
Director: Graham Ratliff
Writer: Garett Ratliff
Cast: Michael Hampton, Ryan Sterling, Devon Iott, Chase Hemphill, Ben Bowden, Bill Devlin, Davis Jaye, Stephanie Skewes, Eric Toms

DVD Released: March 10th, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 105 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Cinema Epoch
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98

Synopsis: A struggling musician takes on a job as a caretaker. While cleaning up the place he comes across a hand that is growing out of the ground in the basement. Instead of rejecting the thing that is growing out the ground in the basement he nurtures it as it grows.

Growing Out started out a short film before being made into a feature length film. The film’s strongest asset is it well defined cast of oddball characters. The plot revolves around Tom who is trying to finding his musical muse and the courage to create music that will connect with an audience. The Origins of Archie the body that is growing out the ground is never fully explained. The best way to explain Archie is that he grows as Tom confidence grows. Tom Feeds and takes care of Archie who is return is the most supportive person in Tom’s life. Later in the film Tom’s growing infatuation for a young woman named Veronica threatens his bond with Archie. Things become even more complicated when Phillip a man who lives in a trailer behind the house Tom is taking care of learns from Archie that his girlfriend Veronica has been sleeping with Tom.

Despite all the oddball character that inhabit this film and the many twists and turns in the plot. The film feels more like a series of loosely connected incidents which all lead to a predictable ending. Even though there are some horror elements in the film, it is never bloody or graphic, with the bulk of the film leaning more towards comedy. Visually the direction is spot on and the entire cast is all very good in their respective roles. Also the film’s remarkable score which is sung by various cast members far exceeded my expectations. Ultimately Growing Out is a satisfying mix of horror, comedy and musical montages.

The DVD:

Cinema Epoch presents Growing Out in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer fares well all around with nicely saturated colors, solid black levels and details look crisp throughout.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio sounds clear and robust. There are no problems with distortion or any other audio defects.

Extras for this release include trailer for Growing Out, a stills gallery that has music from the film playing in the background three deleted scenes “The Painting” (1 minute 29 seconds), “The Coffee Shop” (2 minutes 1 second) and “Feeding Archie” (5 minutes and 58 seconds). Also included with this release is the short film “Growing Out” (8 minutes 14 seconds). The feature length film is an expanded version of the same story with the lead character Tom playing a struggling writer in the short film (while the character is switched to a struggling musician in the feature film). The main extra include with this release are Behind the Scenes segments that can be played separately or all at once. The segments are as follows “Screenplay” (5 minutes 36 seconds), “Casting” (7 minutes 15 seconds), “Production Design” (5 minutes 24 seconds), “Rehearsal” (4 minutes 48 seconds), “Wardrobe” (2 minutes 33 seconds), “The Archie Hole” (3 minutes 59 seconds), “The Park” (3 minutes 28 seconds), “Nightmares” (2 minutes 57 seconds) and “Outtakes” (5 minutes 6 seconds). These behind the scenes segments are a fascinating and insightful look into independent film making. Overall Growing Out, gets a well rounded that release from Cinema Epoch.

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