Bruiser (2000)
Trimark Home Video
Cast: Jason Flemyng, Lelie Hope
Extras: Commentary Track, Music Video

’Bruiser’ is the first film from cult horror director in seven years. Jason Flemyng stars as Henry Creedlow, a nice guy who gets stepped on by everyone around him. His wife is cheating on him with his domineering boss. His ’best friend’ and financial advisor is stealing from him. Henry lives in a house, which is still under construction and will probably never be finished. One day, Henry awakens with a blank, white face. This new anonymity gives Henry the strength and freedom to seek revenge against those who have wronged him. His taste for vengeance turns into a murderous insanity, and the police race to stop the ’faceless’ killer.

The central premise of ’Bruiser’, an everyman living out his homicidal fantasies, is promising, but the movie fails to deliver. Kudos must go to Romero and his crew for giving this modestly budgeted film a very professional and slick look. The story itself is very reminiscent of both ’The Crow’ and ’Darkman’, but the film lacks the intensity of either of these films. ’Bruiser’ comes across as quite hollow and sterile and it’s difficult for the viewer to sympathize with Henry’s plight. The film has some hallucinatory touches, which may remind some viewers of Romero’s ’Martin’, but otherwise, ’Bruiser’ is a disappointment.

Trimark Home Video unmask ’Bruiser’ for its DVD release. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The image has adequate sharpness, but is a bit dark at times. There is some visible grain in the exterior shots, but no overt distortion on the image. As with the production design, the look of the video belies the film’s low budget. The framing appears to be accurate and there are no defects from the source print. The DVD’s Dolby 2-channel Surround audio offers clear and audible dialogue, but very little in the way of surround sound.

This disc offers an audio commentary with director Romero and producer Peter Grunwald. This chatty talk offers a great deal of insight into the making of ’Bruiser’, but their discussion is a bit too ’inside’ at times. A music video from punk pioneers ’The Misfits’ (sans Glen Danzig) is available on the DVD, and if I’m not mistaken, it was directed by Romero. The trailer for ’Bruiser’ may be found on an Easter Egg within the DVD.