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Ever go away on vacation and eat a lot of wonderful food for a week or two, and then by the end of the trip, your body is screaming out for junk food? Well, the same thing happens to me after watching one great movie after another on DVD. To satiate my hankering for the cinematic equivalent of junk food, I switched my brain to neutral and popped a copy of THE IN CROWD ($20) into my DVD player. THE IN CROWD is wonderful, sleazy fun that combines elements of a nighttime soap opera with the teen psycho killer genre. Featuring hot looking babes, a bit of nudity, cat fights, a brief flirtation with lesbian eroticism and a reasonably high body count, THE IN CROWD is trash entertainment at its very best. Anyway, itís a hell of a lot better than watching Jerry Springer.

The plot of THE IN CROWD follows Adrien Williams (Lori Heuring), who has just been released from a psychiatric hospital, to a posh country club where she is given a job at the behest of her rich, handsome doctor. Once she starts working at the club, Adrien finds herself befriended by Brittany Foster (Susan Ward), the young rich-bitch who is at the center of "the in crowd". At first, Adrien appreciates all the benefits that come with Brittany's friendship. However Adrien soon learns of Brittany's darker motivations for spending time with the poor, psycho girl from the wrong side of the tracks. The entire cast of THE IN CROWD have the fresh, beautiful appearance of people one generally finds in clothing catalogs, as well as the daytime and nighttime soaps- so you know right away that this film has nothing to do with reality. Mary Lambert's overwrought direction plays up the inherent campyness of the situations, plus the cast members seem to be having a good time chewing on the scenery. THE IN CROWD also features the talents of Matthew Settle, Nathan Bexton, Ethan Erickson, Laurie Fortier, Kim Murphy, Katharine Towne, Daniel Hugh Kelly and Tess Harper.

Warner Home Video has made THE IN CROWD available on DVD in a wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Framed at 1.78:1, the image is usually sharp and offers up good detail during daytime scenes. Darker scenes don't fare as well, sometimes appearing a bit too dark and lacking depth. Colors are strongly rendered and flesh tones are very appealing. Neither chromatic distortion nor bleeding is a problem during the presentation. Blacks are accurate, but as I said above shadow detail is a bit lacking. The film element is free from blemishes, but the dark photography does promote a general graininess during dimmer scenes. Digital compression artifacts remain in check throughout.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has been re-mixed specifically for home theaters and the sound is very pleasing in the environment. The forward soundstage has good channel separation and effective placement of sound effects. Dialogue reproduction is crisp, clean and fully intelligible. Since THE IN CROWD is primarily dialogue driven, the surround channels are not used excessively. Still, they do produce a respectable amount of ambient fill, as well as occasional sound effects. Music is used prominently in the mix and takes advantage of the five primary channels. The soundtrack has a solid bottom end that enhances both the music and sound effects. English and French subtitles are provided on the DVD.

Full motion video, animation and sound enhance the interactive menus. Through the menu system, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Leading ladies Susan Ward and Lori Heuring provide a running audio commentary that is almost as much fun as the movie itself. The ladies seem to be having a blast talking about the production and their enthusiasm is infectious. An isolated 5.1 channel soundtrack that features Jeff Rona's musical score is also included amongst the supplements. There are three deleted scenes on the DVD, as well as cast biographies/filmographies that also feature on screen interviews with select cast members. A theatrical trailer, four TV spots and a still gallery fill out the video supplements. THE IN CROWD is also DVD-ROM enabled, allowing one access to links, download and screensavers.

THE IN CROWD is the kind of sleazy fun we all like to watch when we think nobody is looking. Warner has done a good job with the DVD, so pick yourself up a copy and hide it in your underwear drawer until no one's around.


The In Crowd



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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