Digi-Schlock: WORM (Synapse DVD)

Just because your film is a micro-budget affair doesn’t mean that it can’t get a decent home video release.  Sometimes even major indie labels will pick this kind of film.  Synapse is one of those labels with a track record of taking chances with micro-budget genre fare.  Their latest release in this vein is Worm, a feature made for around $10,000 by a group of Tennessee filmmakers.  In the Synapse tradition, it boasts a quality transfer and a fistful of extras.

Worm-iconThe disc begins well with a nice anamorphic transfer of the film.  The ‘scope-format imagery registers nicely here, with impressive levels of detail and color.  The soundtrack is presented via Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track that blends the dialogue, effects and frequent musical score cues effectively.

Also included are a set of bonus features that offer some interesting insights into how the film came to be.  First up is a commentary track that features director Doug Mallette as well as the collaborators that make up the other three-quarters of Untrademarked Productions: Julian Herrera, Jennifer Bonior and Jeremy Pearce.

Worm-pos2Budding filmmakers will be pleased with this track as it is focused on the challenges of producing a feature film without a finished screenplay.  The group discusses the film’s origins as a 48 Hour Film project, how virtually every scene had a longer version due to the film’s improv-driven approach (the film’s first cut was four hours!) and how much of the television material was added after the film’s principal photography to flesh out the world.  There is also plenty of scene-specific material about unique problems they dealt with, like how the film’s central apartment building setting had to be cobbled together from multiple locations.

Next up is the original “48 Hr. Film” version of Worm.  It runs about 7 minutes and stars the same three leads used in the feature version.  It’s a bit light on story, particularly the abrupt ending, but fans of the feature version will find it interesting because it contains several scenes that would be reused in the remake.

Worm-02There is also eleven minutes’ worth of deleted footage.  Many of these scenes are devoted to more improv shared between the three leads but the most interesting scene provides a motivation for Charles’ thievery of his neighbor’s Fantasites and probably should have been in the film.

The package is rounded out with a pair of trailers: both follow the same basic narrative progression and do a good job of compressing the film’s plot and array of tones.  However, the second spot is craftier in its use of elements and has more impact.  All in all, Synapse has done well by the young filmmakers whose work is highlighted on this disc and fans of micro-budget genre fare will appreciate the quality of the presentation.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Worm, click here.

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