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The Factory Feature
Outside of independent releases that sometimes have a difficult time finding distribution it's usually a bad sign when a movie has been sitting on a shelf somewhere for a couple of years, especially when it's a film bankrolled by a major studio. Based on my own small bit of investigation, Morgan O'Neill's The Factory finished shooting way back in 2008, which is a lifetime ago in Hollywood. This past February 19th the film finally received a DVD release from Warner Home Video, but why with a major studio behind it, Joel Silver producing and John Cusack starring did it take so long to arrive? How bad could the film be to have been sitting around aimlessly for the better part of four years?  

In the film Cusack plays Mike Fletcher, a Buffalo police detective who for the past 18-months has been investigating a series of disappearances of local prostitutes during the winter months. When his own teenage daughter goes missing, he and partner Kelsey Walker (Jennifer Carpenter of TV's Dexter) race against the clock to find a hidden basement dungeon where she faces a horrible fate.

If it sounds like a number of other thrillers that's because it is, and there's really not much to distinguish it from the crop of serial killer pictures that came out in the wake of The Silence of the Lambs in the early '90s and later after the release of David Fincher's Se7en in 1995. If you liked movies like Copycat, Switchback, Suspect Zero and the many others that fall into this sub-genre you might find The Factory a decent rental, but only if you can past a script in which a) not much happens, b) features characters that are either annoying (seriously, the daughter will grate on your last nerve) or too thick to recognize clues right in front of their faces and  c) hammers home early and often by way of seemingly needless exposition and visual cues that there's a twist ending on its way.

It's also a drab and plain movie that features little suspense and isn't gory enough by miles to satisfy anyone looking for that in their serial killer thrillers, and when you add in an ending that will likely alienate most of the audience (I have to confess I didn't mind it myself even though the execution wasn't great) it's pretty easy to see why it took this long for the picture to make its way in front of an audience. I struggled to find anything that I particularly liked about it or something that stood out as different, and the only things that came to mind were that the antagonist was a bit more interesting than what you usually get saddled with and the production values were pretty good. So the real question isn't why it's been in limbo until now, but what exactly was it about the script that drew the talent behind and in front of the camera to it in the first place?

Video, Audio & Extras
At least for now Warner Home Video is releasing The Factory on DVD only, but I honestly don't think it'll be making it's way to Blu-ray anytime in the near future unless it does gangbusters business in video markets upon its release. The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture on the DVD is perfectly fine and in line with other newly released films from the studio, and even if you've been spoiled by high definition over the past few years like I have you won't find any fault with it. The audio too is largely unremarkable in that there is nothing wrong with it. Dialogue is clearly audible throughout the picture and there's even a bit of action going on in the surrounds, especially when the film shifts to either outside wintery locations or the killer's home. Finally, if you're looking for any extras you're going to be disappointed as there aren't any outside of the inclusion of an UltraViolet digital copy and a handful of previews that automatically play when the disc is inserted. It seems that the film couldn't even rate a chapter menu either, as the only options available from the main menu are for playing the movie and changing the language settings.

Overall
The Factory is pretty much like every other mediocre serial killer, police drama that has been released in the past 15 or so years and if you're fine with that you might actually enjoy sitting down with a rental, but anyone who isn't a fan of the genre or is looking for something out of the ordinary should stay away. The disc has video and audio that gets the job done, but there aren't any extras to speak of, so those looking for a little more out of the disc than the movie itself will be disappointed.

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