Apprentice to Murder (1988) (BLU-RAY REVIEW)
DIRECTED BY: Ralph L. Thomas
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Chad Lowe, Mia Sara
RATED: PG-13/REGION A/1:85/1080P/NUMBER OF DISCS 1
AVAILABLE FROM Arrow Video
In early twentieth-century Pennsylvania Dutch Country, young Billy Kelly (Chad Lowe, Highway to Hell) falls in with a charismatic “powwower” or folk magic healer, Dr. John Reese (Donald Sutherland, Don’t Look Now), shunned by the rest of the community for his non-conformist beliefs. Together, they investigate the mysterious sickness that is blighting the area, which Reese believes to be the work of a sinister local hermit. But as the plague spreads and the wide-eyed Billy falls ever deeper under Reese’s spell, are they doing God’s work or the Devil’s bidding?
Apprentice to Murder is one of those slower but solid thrillers that you’d often find yourself fully interested in while just sitting around watching TV back in the day. Now it’s here from Arrow Video on Blu-ray and while I won’t call it a timeless classic by any means, it’s still a solid movie that is good enough for at least one watch. The movie follows a young man who has troubles at home but has found a female friend at work. This then gets mixed in with a religious man that says he’s doing the lord’s work and performs some pretty amazing tasks in front of the young man. Next thing you know the boy is in cahoots with this man and then the next thing you know after that people are being killed. This isn’t going to sit well and something has to give, that’s basically the plot.
The way this thing plays out is fine for a watch if you have time to just sit down and give it your full attention. I don’t know, however, if it packs the full-on rewatch value or will be something you always go back to when you want to watch something. It also plays out at a pace that might make it a little dull to some who are more inclined to like the bells and whistles of other things out there. Still, Arrow gives it a great release that looks good and does come with some extras that are enjoyable. I liked it for what it was but it might be a one and done type of movie for me regardless of how solid it is and despite having a story that does tell an interesting enough story.
– Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original 35mm interpositive
– Original lossless mono soundtrack
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– New audio commentary by author and critic Bryan Reesman
– New video interview on religious horror cinema with Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine
– New video interview with cinematographer Kelvin Pike
– New video interview with makeup supervisor Robin Grantham
– Theatrical trailer
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love
QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 86%