If one were to gauge the success of a film by how many times it’s been parodied in pulp culture, then Single White Female would be considered a smashing success. Still talked about to this day, Single White Female, based on a book titled swf seeks same by John Lutz, released in 1992 to #2 at the box office, grossing a nice $48 million. It features solid performances from Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the latter who steals the show in the final act.
The premise of the film might sound simple enough. A single lady seeks a roommate, who turns out to be unhinged and looking for more than just a friendship, but a replacement for her long-lost twin sister. However, as the film delves deeper into Leigh’s character Hedra “Hedy” Carlson, we see a sense of sadness that grips you when the end credits roll. It’s hard to find sympathy for a murderous psycho, yet the film succeeds in doing just that. Much of that feeling also comes from a very haunting end credits song, that I have playing right now while I write this simple review.
I never saw Single White Female until I popped in the Scream Factory Blu-ray (more on that in just a bit), but as I mentioned above, I’ve seen all the pariodes, winks and nods to the film. So I had an idea of what I was getting into, but there is a lot more to the movie than just a terrible haircut and a crazy woman slowly taking over your look and life. It provides an engaging look into a troubled mind, someone who is afraid of being alone, and seeks shelter in another person’s arms, and latches on to people who are in similar frames of mind. Unfortunately, the help Hedy needed came too late, and people became victims of someone misunderstood, and capable of violent behaviour. This is one film that is going to stick with me for a very long time, but not for the reasons we make fun of nowadays.
Scream Factory has released Single White Female on a standard Blu-ray release, using an older HD Master most likely used by Sony for digital distribution. No new master was struck for this release, and sadly, the film’s age is showing. Featuring some soft scenes, and a lack of sharpness being inherent in most scenes, scenes that use a mix of colour, especially the colour blue. Nevertheless, it isn’t all bad, for the most part, the film has never looked better since the day it came out. Would a new transfer be welcome? Of course, but we take what we can get. Audio, on the other hand, sounds great, with a DTS HD Master Audio Stereo soundtrack.
Even though the cover doesn’t mark it as a Collector’s Edition, Scream has provided an assortment of new features that are sure to please fans. We get to sit down to an almost 30-minute interview with director Barbet Schroeder, who goes into the detail of making a “studio film.” I found it interesting that he mentions a more violent and sexier version of the film that was first cut, but sadly wasn’t marketable. Next, we have a 7-minute interview with actor Peter Friedman, who reminisces about working with cats, who he is allergic to, and having to sit in a bathtub for what seemed like forever. Also included is a 20-minute interview with Steven Weber, who oddly enough doesn’t just spend 20 minutes talking about that infamous fellatio scene. Last but not least for interviews, we have a 26-minute sitdown with screenwriter Don Roos, who discusses the challenges of adapting the book to film. Also included is an audio commentary with Barbet Schroeder, Editor Lee Percy, And Associate Producer Susan Hoffman; and a theatrical trailer.
I’ll be sitting down with Single White Female again in the future, as I highly enjoyed the flick and the tragic story it weaves. I have the Umbrella Entertainment release coming in the mail soonish, so I should be able to see the differences, if any, in the transfer. Sadly, no features are included on that release. This brings to the determination that if you want special features with your Single White Female, you’ll want to pick up the Blu-ray release from Scream Factory.
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Single White Female is a tragic story, and it will last with you for a long time. Scream Factory doesn't release the Blu with a new transfer, but it does release it with some excellent new features.
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