Teaching Mrs. Tingle

Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Katie Holmes, Marisa Coughlan, Helen Mirren
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

While “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” certainly isn’t the worst film of 1999 as some critics have suggested (that honor still belongs to “The Blair Witch Project” in my book), it is certainly one of the most disappointing ones. The directorial debut of “Scream” writer Kevin Williamson falls flat from the very beginning and never shows any of the edge from the “Scream” films. Williamson’s direction is competent, but very pedestrian, with few inventive shots. The plot has three high-school students (Katie Holmes, Barry Watson, Marisa Coughlan) taking their history teacher Mrs. Tingle (Helen Mirren) hostage. There is a series of mindless mind-games as the four players attempt to outsmart one another. At about the 35-minute point, there is a scene in which Coughlan acts out “The Exorcist” and the film goes from bad to almost unwatchable.

While “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” may be a serious stinker, Dimension/Buena Vista has given the DVD the DeLuxe treatment. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer, and is letterboxed at 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The picture is very clear and Williamson’s style-less shooting style comes through quite well with its natural lighting. No compression artifacts are visible, although some edge-enhancement is evident in the transfer.

The DVD offers both a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as well as a DTS one. Both tracks work very well, and the films alt-rock soundtrack comes across quite nicely. Differences between the soundtracks are negligible to inaudible to say the least. The only extra on the disc is the theatrical trailer. I had expected more from the film, but I had not expected Disney to offer so many options on the DVD. I guess that will “teach” me.