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Stiff 
Written by: on November 11th, 2010


Theatrical Release Date:
USA, 2010
Directors: Mike McKown, Jim Towns
Writer: Jim Towns
Cast: Bill Scott, Lulu Benton, Melissa Troughtzmantz

DVD released: November 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 83 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: $24.95


Synopsis: A counselor with a necrophilia fetish befriends a suicidal man she meet through her job.

At the heart of this film is a story about two lonely individuals, who are afraid to confront their demons. Troy’s introverted personality has lead to him living a life of solitude. While Lori has not been able to connect with anyone emotionally. Since her first boyfriend was killed when a school bus hit him. Looking for that someone to fill her void Lori gets a job working at a suicide hot line. And it is through this job that she meets Troy. One day she gains his trust. When she gives him her home phone number. From this day forward the dynamic in their relationship begins to change. Instead of trying to convince Troy that he should embrace life and not kill himself. Lori convinces him that he should embrace his suicidal tendencies.

Structure wise the plot does a great job setting up, who the two main characters are and their back-stories. Even though there is a fetish aspect to the story at hand. In the end it is the emotions of the two lead characters where this film’s main focal point is. Performance wise the two main characters are convincingly brought to life by Bill Scott and Lulu Benton. Another area where this film excels is that are enough twists in the evolution of the two main characters relationship. That by the time Troy’s moment of truth arrives. The emotional outcome of his decision deeply resonates.

In a sea of independent productions that often get crushed by the weight of their ambitions. Along comes a film like Stiff. A film that was reportedly short for $1,000 and in just seven days. Don’t let this film’s anemic budget dissuade you from giving this film a chance. The end result is a production that far exceeds its limited resources and then some.

The DVD:

Cinema Epoch presents Stiff in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Details look sharp, and the image remains stable throughout. There are no problems with compression of edge enhancement.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix English. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. The film’s score sounds robust.

Extras for this release include a teaser (1 minute 28 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a trailer for the film (2 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), stills gallery with music from the film in the background, alternate ending (2 minutes 56 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a behind the scenes featurette (40 minutes 33 seconds – letterboxed and anamorphic widescreen), which includes comments from the cast and crew and a audio commentary with directors Mike McKown and Jim Towns, first assistant camera / sound Christopher Nickelson, actress Lulu Benton and actor Bill Scott. Topics discussed in the featurette and commentary include origins of the film, preproduction related topics like the budget and locations, the cast, the look of the film and some of the difficulties making this film like finding actors / actresses who were willing to do the nudity required. Also included with this release is a promo image gallery of titles that are available on DVD from Cinema Epoch. Overall Stiff gets a solid DVD release from Cinema Epoch.

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