Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 10th, 2012
Theatrical Release Dates: Canada, 1986 (Mark of Cain), Canada / USA, 1984 (Thrillkill)
Directors: Bruce Pittman (Mark of Cain), Anthony D’Andrea, Anthony Kramreither (Thrillkill)
Cast: Robin Ward, Wendy Crewson, Antony Parr, August Schellenberg, Deborah Grover, Cynthia Kereluk, Kate Parr, Gert Peckert (Mark of Cain), Robin Ward, Gina Massey, Laura Robinson, Diana Reis, Colleen Embree, Kurt Reis, Eugene Clark, Frank Moore, Joy Boushel, Grant Cowan (Thrillkill)
DVD released: February 21st, 2012
Approximate running times: 90 minutes (Mark of Cain), 96 minutes (Thrillkill)
Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1 Full Frame (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Mark of Cain: A husband takes his wife to his family’s home, where years before his twin brother murder a young woman. Shortly after their arrival they learn that the husband’s psychopath twin has escaped and is on his way back home.
Ah thriller / horror films that revolve twins, who are dysfunctional and is many instances homicidal. A few of these choice films that fall under this banner include Brian De Palma’s Sisters, Goodbye Gemini, Dead Ringers and Raisin Cane.
Premise wise, there is not much new going on here that has not been exploited better in any of the aforementioned films in the pervious paragraph. Mark of Cain does a good job setting things up with its opening set piece involving the murder of a young woman, who’s crucified body his hung on a tree.
From there though things start to get bogged down, after the plot does a flash forward 15 years later. It is during this latter part of the first act and the bulk of the middle act that the films spends way too much time talking about how evil Michael the homicidal twin is and not much else happens. With the only saving grace from this section of the film being a murder set piece involving a nurse at the hospital from which Michael has just escaped. Things pick up ever so slightly for the final act, which is essentially a cat and mouse game between Michael and those trying to catch him.
Though there are a handful of kill scenes. None of them are particularly gory or that inventive. From a performance stand point the only cast member that standouts from the rest of the pact is Robin Ward in the dual role of Michael and Shawn. Portraying two similar, yet distinctively different characters is not an easy feat and the end result is an underwhelming experience.
Thrillkill: The sister of a missing computer game programmer teams up with a detective to uncover the truth behind her sisters disappearance.
Though the film starts off as a story about a computer game programmer. This is only background fodder, since the meat and potatoes of this film is about what she had been up to during her free time. Like hacking into bank accounts and siphoning money out of those accounts into her own account. Unfortunately for her, there are some other evil doers, who uncover her plan and she is forced to team up with them.
Without giving away to much more about the plot. Let’s just say that the plot for this film mirrors that of a thriller that starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the early part of the 1960’s. Even right down to how one of the henchmen is portrayed in both films.
Plot wise, besides the similarities to that aforementioned film from the 1960’s. There are no real great moments of surprise in Thrillkill. A film that just feels all to content being a film in which all the main players chase after 3 million dollars.
If only this film tried harder at building some kind of suspense, then may be this would have been a passable thriller. I mean come on, any thriller that tips its hat to early on is doomed from the get go.
Performance wise to say the entire cast were lackluster, that would be a compliment. In closing let me say that this film’s leading man Robin Ward is no Cary Grant, but then who is?
At beginning of this disc there is a disclaimer about their quality. And though both looked to video sourced masters, they do look decent all things considered. Also framing wise the image never looks cramp, which leads me to believe that both film’s appear to be ‘open matte’ presentations.
Each film comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Though dialog comes through clearly, don’t expect anything range wise when it comes to these two audio mixes.
Though the same format is held in tact with this latest installment of ‘Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’, a intro, intermission and conclusion with hostess Katarina Leigh Waters. The main twist this time around is that she has an evil twin sister named Antoinette, who forcibly takes over her hosting duties for this release. Overall both films get a serviceable audio / video presentation from Scorpion Films.