Society (1989)
By: Stuart Giesel on April 16, 2012  | 
Anchor Bay (USA) | Region 1, NTSC | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 99 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Brian Yuzna
Starring: Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Ben Meyerson, Charles Lucia
Screenplay: Rick Fry, Woody Keith
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
Much like the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez crime-vampire hybrid From Dusk Til Dawn, Society is a film of two halves: the satirical, 90210-styled first half (with sinister undercurrents), and the absolutely mental, body-shifting second half. Fair warning to those who haven't seen it: the less you read about it, the better, so even though I'll try to avoid major spoilers, stop reading this now if you want to watch this relatively fresh. One of the opening credits reads "surrealistic make-up effects by Screaming Mad George" which should tell you all you need to know about this one.

Generic teen Bill (Billy Warlock) gets the feeling that something's not quite right with his family. His sister is preparing for her coming out party so that she can join the social elite. Billy's parents aren't what you'd call the warm and friendly type. And Bill himself can't stop feeling like the outsider. Then he hears a recording of some weird goings-on involving his family and investigates further, discovering that things are even more fucked-up than he possibly could have imagined. Let's just say that the film focuses on a ritual called the 'shunting', so make of that what you will.

Society is chock-full of paranoia and a weird, unsettling vibe, and certainly has something to say about class structures in modern society and how the rich are not only removed from the majority of society, but are practically their own species unto themselves. Of course, this message might get a little lost once we get to the gloopy part of the film furnished by Screaming Mad George's elaborate effects. I can honestly say that there are moments in Society I would never have thought would have ever been put to film for prosterity, but there you go. There are images you won't be able to get out of your head in a hurry, that's for sure.

So, Society excels with its fiendishly outlandish practical effects, and in creating a menacing atmosphere of something freakish buried under the surface of suburbia (much like David Lynch's Blue Velvet). The acting is good considering the sort of stuff the actors have to say and do (you have to wonder what many of them must have been thinking at the time) and the script is better than you'd expect for a low budget horror. Director Brian Yuzna, formerly a producer on stuff like Re-Animator, proves his directing chops with some nicely framed shots and demented imagery.

Not one for the multiplexes, nor even for casual horror movie fans, Society is surrealistic, messed-up and like nothing else out there, graced with a sharper script than most horror films. If nothing else, it's definitely original.
The picture quality is adequate for a low budget film, though you're hardly going to be showing off your HD system with a DVD copy of Society to your friends. There's a tiny bit of interlacing and some of the detail is lacking, but it's a bright picture.
Given Society's budget it was never going to have a tremendous quality audio. The English Dolby Digital 2.0 track is of standard quality. There are no other audio options.
Extra Features
A trailer for Society. Don't watch this before you see the movie for the first time. There's also a commentary by director Brian Yuzna which is informative and provides many interesting tidbits for fans of the movie. Other than that, the disc is bare-bones.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Society is a creepy, demented and underappreciated horror gem that was probably too "out there" for the mainstream masses used to teenage hack-a-thons like the Friday the 13th series, but it's got more personality, strangeness and gloopy, jaw-dropping effects than a dozen generic horror films from the same era.

comments powered by Disqus

Done Dirt Cheap DVDs

>SHARK WEEK (2012) DVD Review

>DANGEROUS MEN (2005) Blu-ray Review

>UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (1992) Blu-ray Review

>THE LAST WARRIOR (2000) Blu-ray Review

>DIAMOND DOGS (2007) DVD Review

>BONE TOMAHAWK (2015) Blu-ray Review

>LET US PREY (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MACHETE (2010) Blu-ray Review

>THE MECHANIK (2005) Blu-ray Review

>DIRECT ACTION (2004) DVD Review

>NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review

>MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review

>CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review

>POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review

>DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review

Post Apocalypse Discussion Forum
Waxwork Records by MaxTheSilent
Phantasm V??? by McSTIFF
Inside (└ l'intÚrieur) by MaxTheSilent
Red Christmas - new local horror by brett garten
Zack Snyder's JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) by Rip
BLAIR WITCH (2016) by Dr. Obrero
14 Guests, 0 Users
Latest Comments
Last 20 Comments
Most Read Articles
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review 1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980) Blu-ray Review
POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review 2. POLTERGEIST (2015) Blu-ray Review
MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review 3. MOSQUITOMAN (2005) DVD Review
DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review 4. DRIVEN TO KILL (2009) Blu-ray Review
NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review 5. NIGHTCRAWLER (2014) Blu-ray Review
Contact Us
Australian Horror News and Reviews
Digital Retribution aims to bring you the latest news and reviews from the local genre scene. If you see or hear something that might be of interest to our readers, please get in touch!

For promotional and advertising inquiries, feedback, requests, threats or anything else, visit our Contact Page.