Amusement (2009)

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Warner Brothers || R - 85 minutes - $27.98 || January 20, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-02-12

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: John Simpson
Writer(s): Jake Wade Wall (written by)
Cast: Keir O'Donnell, Katheryn Winnick, Laura Breckenridge, Jessica Lucas, Tad Hilgenbrink

Supplemental Material:
  • Digital Copy

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot Summary: They’re longtime friends on separate life paths. But they share a horrific destination when a seemingly innocent incident from their school days comes back to terrify them. Something – someone – wants payback: warped, vengeance... mind-games vengeance. Inside a stone-walled chamber of prison cells and mechanisms of doom, the three women and other victims face a fierce fight to survive. Who lives? Who dies? [Who cares?] It’s all for someone’s Amusement.

Amusement is a sheep in wolf’s clothing, or something like that... It’s a film that on the surface is actually a half-way decent psychological thriller (with horror elements) but when you stop and think about the events that unfolded over the course of its 80-minute running time, very little of it actually makes sense. And even when you try to make sense of certain scenes, beginning with the opening, they merely come off as props for a script that didn’t know where it wanted to go.

The script, by Jake Wade Wall, the man behind such remakes such as The Hitcher (Sean Bean) and the truly awfully boring When a Stranger Calls (Camille Bell), finally has something “original”, well, sort of. Much of Amusement is picked from various other horror movies, with a heavy influence from Saw (the third one I think, which makes this even worse). When taking a step back and thinking about this movie, it seems as if Wall came up with a few interesting scenes or sequences and slapped it together for an incohesive movie.

The cast, through no fault of their own, are actually pretty good. Of course when you don’t really have much to do other than run, hang from chains or look for a lost friend, I’m not sure if you can turn in a bad performance, at least if you have some talent, as these ladies do. Kathryn Winnick (Hellraiser: Hellworld), Laura Breckinridge (Hit and Run) and Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield) all do their best with the material provided.

Amusement co-stars Keir O’Donnell (Pathology, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) as “The Laugh” (well, at least they didn’t name him “The Joke-ster” or something), Tad Hilgenbrink (Epic Movie) and Reid Scott (TV’s “My Boys”).

Ultimately I’ve seen many worse movies, especially direct-to-DVD, but Amusement is anything but, um, amusing (oh, you knew it was coming, everyone else has used it...). In any case, this is something that belongs on late night pay cable and left off the shelves on Blockbuster (and I’m sure it will quickly be placed on the $5 shelves at your local Wal Mart... PLEASE RESIST THE TEMPTATION).


The only “extra” is a digital copy. Any reason you want to waste the space on your portable player for this?


Actually, I was surprised by how good the transfer Warner gave Amusement. It is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35 aspect ratio. Although I noticed some slight pixilation in the darker parts but I found the other levels to look very nice. Sad to say, but this transfer was better than the treatment they gave The Dark Knight.

The DVD comes with a regular Dolby Digital 5.1 track that, outside of some excessive use of my subwoofer (I decided to turn it down a little), it was a fine audio experience especially given the type of film this is.


Amusement is a movie that could’ve been great if not for a mishmash of scenes amongst a plot that made little or no sense at the end. Despite some decent performances from three fine actresses, the movie ultimately fails.