Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
I’m honestly shocked that 8mm was actually put out on Blu-ray. Not because it’s a horrible irredeemable films, or because it doesn’t deserve it (I’m a big proponent of every film deserves a next gen media release), but because it’s the kind of mediocrity that just falls through the cracks and is forgotten about. 8mm was made during the peak of Nicolas Cage’s acting career, right after he had done massive hits such as The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off, and his name was on every producer’s lips. The man was raking in tens of millions of dollars per film, and he was a legendary action star at that point. Then came City of Angels (a mediocre movie, but one that did decently well) and 8mm. 8mm was going to have Nic Cage take on snuff film makers, but in the process, it became a film so mired down with production issues and horrible scrip writing that it ended up shocking everyone by being a greasy, sleazy mess of a film that couldn’t decided whether it wanted to be a thriller, or a revenge film at the end of the day. Barely making back it’s budget (maybe even losing a bit from hints within Columbia Tri-Star), the film faded into the background of cinematic history, with a lousy VHS release and an even lousier DVD release that has been over 13 years since it was even touched by a studio on home video.
Nic Cage is Thomas Welles, a private investigator who is desperately looking for a big break with his clientele. He seemingly gets that break when a wealthy widow of a high ranking official hires him for a matter of the utmost discretion. It seems that when going through a hidden safe of her late husband’s possessions she stumbled upon a snuff film of a young girl seemingly being murdered on tape. Knowing that snuff films are mostly an urban legend, the old lady hires Tom Welles to put her mind at ease by going and investigating the tape to verify it’s veracity. Thinking that this is going to be a dead end, as the tape is over 6 years old, Welles goes on a hunt for the girl in the photo only to uncover a world of debauchery and evil that he could only imagine in his worst nightmares.
What starts out as a missing persons case sends Tom to the city of sin itself, Los Angeles, where he runs across an adult video store worker named Max (Joaquin Phoenix), whom he uses to track down every smut, and filth dealer in the city in hopes of finding a source for the mythical snuff films. Every lead is nothing but a fake and masquerade, until the duo stumble across a sleazy film producer by the name of Eddie Poole (James Gandolfini), who seems to know a little bit more about his victim than he should. Sensing a victory, Tom goes in as deep as he can go, only to find that when you stare the devil in the face, you sometimes have to become him in order to defeat him.
The one thing that really stood out to me was how good Joaquin Phoenix was as Max, the kid Tom Welles hires to show him the underbelly of Los Angeles. He feels like a real character, and he emotes such a sense of honest sincerity and disturbed twistedness that you actually feel for him when he meets his demise. He meshes really well with Nic Cage, and the duo are the highlight of the movie. That is until Peter Stormare shows up as the evil film producer, and chews up the scenery in ways only Peter Stormare can do (I adore the man’s ability to just chew scenery like it’s chocolate cake). The last act of the film is where it kind of goes off the rails though. Not because it’s a bad third act (it’s actually the best part of the movie), but because it feels so tonally different then the first hour and 20 minutes. The first 2 acts are very surreal and twisted, with Nic Cage going deeper and deeper into the sleazy underworld of illicit videos, and the shift to a more typical revenge thriller for the final act just feels “off”. The David Fincher elements go completely out the window and it feels like a much more mainstream Hollywood affair. Something Schumacher is much more comfortable doing, and one of the reasons why it feels like the more polished section of the movie over the rough and gritty experimental feel of the first 2/3rds.
Rated R for strong perverse sexuality and violence, and for strong language
• Audio Commentary with producer/director Joel Schumacher
• Vintage Behind the Scene featurette
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
• Still Gallery
8mm is not a horrible horrible film. It just falls into that middle of the road mediocrity that garners it the role of “ignored and forgotten” in cinema history. Nicolas Cage was king of the world in 1999, but this movie nearly derailed his career for a few years. Bizarre, twisted, disjointed, and rather bland, 8mm was an experiment that nearly cost him and the studios a good deal of money. Scream Factory has given us an OK release, with mediocre sound and even weaker video, but at least the extras are pretty decent. However, 8mm is a niche film, for a niche audience and with the weak audio/video specs I would just skip this unless you’re a die hard fan of the movie itself.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare, Anthony Heald, Chris Bauer, Catherine Keener, Myra Carter, Amy Morton
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Scream Factory
Runtime: 123 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Recommendation: Skip It.