The Best New Blu-Ray Releases: Dune, Halloween Kills, And More

We're beyond the "Happy New Year!" point, so let me just say: welcome to 2022, I guess! A new year calls for a new Blu-ray column, and that's what I'm here to deliver. This week, we're taking a look at a big sci-fi blockbuster, a divisive horror sequel, a low-budget actioner, and a monster movie that really should've been a lot better than it ended up being. As always, I urge you to keep physical media alive, because you don't own it if it's only streaming, folks. Hold onto your discs. 


Frank Herberg's "Dune" is notoriously difficult to adapt. David Lynch tried once, and while I have a soft spot in my heart for Lynch's weird, weird movie, it didn't exactly resonate with a wide audience. So I wasn't entirely sure how Denis Villeneuve's take on the material would shake out. I like most of Villeneuve's work, but I was skeptical. Thankfully, "Dune" is a success. Mostly. The film ends on a cliffhanger setting up a sequel, and that bugs me – give me a complete movie, damn it! But this, and a few other quibbles aside, "Dune" kind of rocks. For one thing, Villeneuve really understands scale – something many blockbuster filmmakers these days seem to not grasp. Everything here feels huge, and ancient, and tangible 

The story, about space intrigue, spice, and sandworms, almost takes a back seat to spectacle. But it works. I'm not 100% sold on Timothée Chalamet as Paul, the boy who would be a god, but everyone else around him is wonderful. Rebecca Ferguson rules as Paul's witchy mother, and Oscar Isaac sports a killer beard as Paul's pop. Then there's Jason Momoa as a character named Duncan Idaho – a character who has two different scenes where he essentially shows up out of nowhere and everyone is thrilled to see him. Stellan Skarsgård is clearly having fun as the film's grotesque villain, and Zendaya shows up, very, very briefly (she'll have more to do in the sequel). 

I know "Dune" was sold as a film you had to see on the big screen. And yes, it looked great in IMAX. But having now watched it at home I can say it plays just as well on a 4K TV. In fact, I think I enjoyed it even more at home – but perhaps it's more accurate to say I enjoyed it more after a second viewing. In any case, Villeneuve deserves lots of credit for pulling this off. It could've gone wrong in a million different ways. Now bring on that sequel.

Special Features:

  • The Royal Houses
  • Filmbooks: House Atreides
  • Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
  • Filmbooks: The Fremen
  • Filmbooks: The Spice Melange
  • Inside Dune: The Training Room
  • Inside Dune: The Spice Harvester
  • Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
  • Building the Ancient Future
  • My Desert, My Dune
  • Constructing the Ornithopters
  • Designing the Sandworm
  • Beware the Baron
  • Wardrobe from Another World
  • A New Soundscape

Halloween Kills

David Gordon Green's "Halloween" in 2018 was, for the most part, well-received. Green's approach ignored all the "Halloween" sequels and served as a direct continuation of the first film, with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) now older, and paranoid that Michael Myers would return one day. It turned out Laurie was right, and Michael busted out, got his mask back, and started killing again. That film wrapped things up fairly well, with Laurie finally defeating Michael and taking back her own story. But sequels are always the name of the game in a series like this, and sure enough, not one but two sequels were announced: "Halloween Kills" and "Halloween Ends."

After 2018's "Halloween," fans were eager to see what was next for Laurie Strode and the Shape. Unfortunately, the result left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. While many were willing to forgive some of Green's poor choices in "Halloween," the goodwill evaporated when it came to "Halloween Kills." And it's easy to see why: the film is kind of a mess. The script, by Green, Scott Teems, and Danny McBride, is riddled with strange, awful dialogue, with approximately five hundred different scenes where characters yell "Evil dies tonight!" over and over again. On top of that, after bringing Laurie Strode back and turning her into a badass, "Halloween Kills" more or less confines her to a hospital bed for the majority of the runtime. You could argue that this is a tribute to the original "Halloween II," which also had Curtis bedridden. But why give us that again? Why not try something new?

In any case, I didn't loathe "Halloween Kills" as much as my colleagues. Don't get me wrong: I didn't love it, either. The dialogue is so clunky and unnatural that I can only assume Green and company were going for something here. What that "something" was, I have no earthly idea – and it didn't work. Still, I enjoyed how unrelentingly brutal this film is. Michael Myers doesn't just kill people here, he obliterates them. But where is it all leading? I don't know, but I sure hope Green and the gang work things out and step up their game for "Halloween Ends."

This Blu-ray release comes with an extended cut that boasts a "new ending." If you were disappointed with the abrupt way the theatrical cut ended you might perk up here, but just know that it's not that different. It simply tacks on a brief additional scene that Green was right to cut in the first place. In the end, I think "Halloween Kills" is a fun, gory slasher movie. The problem, though, is that Green seems to think it's something more than that, and therein lies the film's wonky nature. 

Special Features:

  • HADDONFIELD'S OPEN WOUNDS – Those who die at the hands of Michael Myers are not his only victims. We look at some of the returning characters, and why their past traumatic encounters with The Shape made them natural candidates to try and defend Haddonfield against him.
  • THE KILL TEAM – It takes a big team to create a film the scale of HALLOWEEN KILLS, especially when part of the task is raising the bar for Michael's gruesome kills. We hear the people behind the mayhem discuss how they continue to push the franchise to new heights.
  • STRODE FAMILY VALUES – Filmmakers and cast discuss the three generations of Strode women that have been terrorized by The Shape, and the roles Laurie, Karen and Allyson play in trying to vanquish his evil.
  • 1978 TRANSFORMATIONS – Shooting new footage that matches the feel of the iconic 1978 footage is no easy task, and even takes a little bit of luck. We reveal some of the secrets of how filmmakers achieved these stunning sequences.
  • THE POWER OF FEAR – The impact of Michael Myers' pure evil extends far beyond his victims. We examine how fear of The Shape changed the psychology of the people of Haddonfield.
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY – Director/co-writer David Gordon Green and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer

Hell Hath No Fury

Jesse V. Johnson has become a filmmaker action fans get excited about. Johnson has helmed several lower-budget action flicks, most of which feature Scott Adkins. And while they may not be the most elaborate productions, more often than not these films kick ass. While so many Hollywood filmmakers seem unable to clearly film an action scene, Johnson's films are loaded with fights that look incredible. Johnson's latest is "Hell Hath No Fury," which is a bit of a departure. Scott Adkins isn't part of the cast here, and while there's still action at play, the script is much more plot-driven than one might expect.

During the final days of World War II, a small squad of American soldiers takes a French woman prisoner. She's been labeled a traitor by her own people for having an affair with a Nazi, and that could spell serious trouble. But the woman, Marie DuJardin (Nina Bergman), saves herself by telling the soldiers she knows where a cache of gold is located. The location: buried in a remote cemetery. The U.S. troops decide to get rich quick, but they're not the only ones looking for the gold. French Resistance fighters and some Nazis are also on the hunt, and before long all these different groups will have to deal with each other. 

Smart and fast-paced, "Hell Hath No Fury" isn't the most polished production – it mostly uses one location, and all the "American" soldiers are clearly non-Americans struggling with their accents – but it still packs a punch. 

Special Features:

None! Not even a stinkin' trailer. C'mon, this deserves better. 


I was very excited for "Antlers," and the film's delay due to COVID-19 just heightened that excitement. I loved the short story it was based on – "The Quiet Boy" by "Channel Zero" creator Nick Antosca, which you can read right here. Guillermo del Toro was on board as executive producer, and I'm a huge fan of his work. And while I can't say the same for director Scott Cooper, I have appreciated his films in the past. The trailers for "Antlers" were appropriately disturbing and grungy, and I was truly hoping we had ourselves a new horror hit on our hands.

Then I saw the movie. While "Antlers" has a great atmosphere full of rotting dampness and decay, and I appreciate the way that Cooper and company try to bring real-world horrors – like the opioid crisis – into the mix, the film as a whole felt weirdly inert. Sure, there is an admittedly strong creature design work here, and I appreciated the way the film was willing to go to some nasty places. But by the time "Antlers" wraps up it feels as if several major plotlines have been completely excised from the finished film. There has to be some truth to that, too, since the film's trailers showcased several moments not in the final film. And yet, the new Blu-ray release doesn't include any deleted scenes. Curious.

In "Antlers," school teacher Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) grows concerned when one of her students shows signs of abuse and neglect. One day she decides to follow the student home, where bad, bad things await. What follows is a story about people mutating into monsters with a little indigenous folklore thrown in for good measure. And on paper, it all sounds great! But "Antlers" continually stumbles and sags, and I can't help but think it would've been so much better if Cooper had handed directorial duties over to del Toro. 

Special Features:

  • The Evil Within – Co-writer/director Scott Cooper gives us a glimpse of the many complex layers at play in his approach to making Antlers, a horror film about very human concerns, and his most ambitious film to date.
  • An Exploration of Modern Horror with Guillermo del Toro – Producer Guillermo del Toro traces the lineage of elevated horror in cinema. Employing his encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the horror genre, he discusses the connection between mythology and human behavior.
  • Artifacts and Totems – The filmmakers discuss how they created this world of a small, tight-knit Northwest community of working-class Americans in bringing Scott Cooper's vision to life.
  • Gods Walk Among Us – An in-depth exploration of the digital and practical effects used to create the film's primal creatures.
  • Cry of the Wendigo – Discover the fascinating folklore behind the wendigo from the film's First Nations consultants. Learn about the creature's mythic origins and about its connection to man's betrayal of the land.
  • Metamorphosis – At the center of Antlers is a transformative performance by Scott Haze. Hear about the actor's preparation for filming, including how he lost some 70 pounds in order to play a deeply tragic character.
  • Comic-Con @ Home with Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro – Steve Weintraub moderates this candid Comic-Con@Home 2020 Panel interview with Guillermo del Toro and Scott Cooper. Hear the filmmakers describe their process, and learn who some of their filmmaking heroes are.