The In Crowd

The In Crowd (2000)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Susan Ward, Lori Heuring, Nathan Bexton
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Interviews, Isolated Score, Trailers, Gallery, Bios

I’m sure that ’The In Crowd’ seemed like a good idea at the time. The film is a combination of ’Beverly Hills, 90210’, ’Wild Things’, and a ’whodunnit’ film. It presents us with a group of spoiled rich kids who are spending their summer at the Cliffmont Country Club. This group is lead by the beautiful, but cold Brittany Foster (Susan Ward). A fresh-face arrives at the country club in the form of Adrien Williams (Lori Heuring). Adrien has recently been released from a mental hospital, and her job at the club will be her first step at rejoining society. (But did she really need to join high society?) Brittany is immediately drawn to Adrien, and despite their socio-economic differences, they become fast-friends. Brittany buys Adrien new clothes and invites her to parties with the other rich kids. But, why is Brittany being so nice to Adrien? A deadly secret from Brittany’s past soon comes to the surface and people around the club begin to die? But, who is the killer? Has Adrien’s past issues with violence come back to haunt her?

It’s obvious from the outset what director Mary Lambert was trying to accomplish with ’The In Crowd’. She wanted to make the rich-kid characters all interchangable cardboard cutouts without souls. Unfortunately, she succeeded. Fifteen minutes into the film, the viewer finds that none of the characters are likable, have no distinguishing personality traits and all look alike, making the film quite confusing. The murder-mystery subplot comes to a screeching halt when we witness the murder killing someone halfway into the film and even the cat-fight at the end is tired and boring. There is nothing new or inspired in ’The In Crowd’, nor does it have any camp value. This film is just plain bad.

To be such a disappointing film, Warner Home Video certainly has dressed it up in a nice package. The film is letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The picture on this DVD is very nice, giving us a clear and very sharp image that is free of any noise or distortion. There are no defects evident from the source print and there is hardly any grain to speak of. The colors come across as very true and naturalistic. Actually, the digital transfer works against the film in Chapter 10, when a ’day-for-night’ shot becomes headache inducing. The audio on the DVD is a good Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand, with no distortion. The surround sound gives us an average soundfield, but I was somewhat disappointed with the bass response from the music.

The DVD features an audio commentary with stars Susan Ward and Lori Heuring. This is an interesting commentary, for it lacks any true technical tone. What we have are two young actresses who give very honest (and often funny) accounts of the making of the film. While their chatty tone may be annoying to some, I found this lively commentary to be quite fun. (It certainly was better than the movie!) We are also treated to three deleted scenes, and a series of trailers and TV spots and some other tidbits. To be it bluntly, ’The In-Crowd’ is one group that I don’t want to be a member of.