Plot: Troubled artist George (Dennis Lipscomb) tires of life’s struggles and leaps off the roof of his apartment building. Against all odds, George survives the fall and wakes up in a hospital. His therapist Jennifer (Leslie Wing) is able to effectively counsel him and even recommends a return home, certain George isn’t the same. She is right, as some strange force has taken root in George, but even he is baffled as to what it is. Once he is back home, he has violent visions and finds himself drawn to places and people he isn’t at all familiar with. He has a nightmare where he meets a woman then kills her in brutal fashion, but even Jennifer assures him he wasn’t involved. George tries to get back to normal, even striking up a potential love interest in sweet hooker Angel (Suzanne Snyder), but the visions continue to haunt him. When he learns a small time crook was tortured and killed the same night he tried to kill himself, George is terrified, but can he really be possessed by a vengeful spirit?
Entertainment Value: Retribution isn’t out to reinvent the wheel, instead it offers up rock solid entertainment. The story is a familiar one, but some nice twists are tossed in and in the end, it all works quite well. I mean, seeing a shy dude with a Lloyd Christmas haircut turn into a glowing eyed demon is pretty badass, right? Dennis Lipscomb’s performance is as awkward as his character should be, with a highlight being a marijuana fueled trip to a neon drenched art gallery. The rest of the cast is fine as well, with everyone taking the material seriously and turning in good work. The film starts off a little slow, but quickly ratchets up the tension and barrels toward a very entertaining second half. Retribution isn’t a “so bad its good” style flick, it is well crafted and executed, just not a genre kingpin.
As badly as we wanted that love scene between George and Angel, there’s no naked times in Retribution. Angel tries to blow him after a surprise party, but of course, silly George falls asleep. There’s a good amount of blood in Retribution, both gushing from people and of course, works of art. The kill scenes are focused on more than just quick splashes of gore though, which makes them more memorable. The body count is low, but each kill is creative and fun to watch. As I said before, this isn’t really a camp kind of movie, so the writing is usually solid. That means a better movie in the traditional sense, but fewer off the wall lines. You’ll still find a few gems in here though, I promise. Retribution has some wild moments, but overall is rather grounded in what it wants to do. A more than solid genre picture that offers some lunacy, but also remains grounded.
Overall Insanity: 4/10
The Disc: Severin Films has gone above and beyond for Retribution, with a three disc edition that even includes the film’s CD soundtrack. The movie itself is presented in both the theatrical version and an extended edition. A new 2k scan is the jewel of the set, sourced from pre-print elements and the movie looks excellent here. The colors steal the show, so bold and vivid that you can’t help but be a little hypnotized the vibrant hues. The print is clean and detail is strong, in what I think is an obvious improvement over previous home video editions. The restored footage in the extended version is sourced from lesser materials however, so those scenes have a noticeable downturn in quality, but it is still awesome to have the extended version here. The extras include director Guy Magar’s audio comments on the extended cut, still photos & posters, the film’s trailers, and a host of newly conducted interviews with a host of cast & crew members. From the writing process to the special effects to the music to acting involved, a wealth of topics are explored in this deep collection of interviews.
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