The Film (3.5/5)
The Lady in White follows young Frank Scarlatti. A horror obsessed young boy in small town New York. It is the the early fall, and Frank like many young horror fans is getting enthusiastic about Halloween. His excitement is put on hold when one day 2 bullies lock him in the coat room in his classroom, and he becomes trapped for a quite eventful night. During this night he observes the ghost of a young girl who was murdered a decade prior, and after that a masked man enters the room looking for something when he observes Frank, and attempts to murder him. Fortunately, Frank survives, and begins to try to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and who the ghost is he observed. At the same time there is a ghost wandering the town a "Lady in White" who may be involved in the haunting.
The Lady in White is a sort of rarity in the horror genre. It is a horror film that is dark and serious, but at the time appropriate and even targeted at kids. Like the character of Frank in the film I grew up a young horror fan as were many of my friends, and though we got away with renting horror films of the era we grew up in (The late 80's and early 90's), sometimes it was hard to get away with that. Films like the Lady in White bridge the gap between more explicit and adult genre fare, and stuff that is more fit for children that are bourgeoning fans of the genre.
The film is a nice slow burn horror film that takes queues more from older ghost stories in the M.R. James mold than the horror films from the era in which it was made. In that regard the Lady in White is more interested in atmospheric chills than any sort of jump scares and explicit shock horror.
One of the more interesting aspects of the Lady in White is the sense of character and community the film has going for it. The film is populated by characters that feel fleshed out and have more going for them than typical genre characters and director LaLoggia gives them a real sense of place in his 1960's upstate New York community. This makes the odd goings on have a certain grounding in reality.
The Lady in White is a film I've spent the better part of a decade hearing about from my wife, who saw the film on its initial video release in the late 80's. It is a film that made an undeniable impact on her as a child, and was obviously quite memorable, and yet until Scream Factory's recent Blu-ray release of the film we had yet to watch it together. Having now seen the film, which I would describe as A Christmas Story for the Halloween set, I find myself not totally taken by the experience.
It is certainly an enjoyably scary horror film. However, had I seen the film like my wife at a much younger age I feel it's impact would have resonated much deeper with me. As such I feel it is an enjoyable horror romp, that would be easy to recommend and revisit, but does not live up to the reputation that so many fans seem to invest in this one.
Scream Factory provides 3 cuts of the film for viewers to choose from. There is the theatrical cut which is a solid choice, the director's cut has 4 minutes of additional footage to help flesh out the story, and the Extended DC which has a full 9 minutes of footage added to the film.
Scream Factory presents the Lady in White in a solid 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite solid with decent detail, blacks, and solidly reproduced colors. There is some minor damage in spots, and some issues with crush in darker moments, but overall things appear quite nice for the most part.
Audio is presented across 2 tracks a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English and a 2.0 track also in English both tracks are quite solid with everything coming through clearly and nothing to complain about.
Scream doing what they do best provide an insane amount of extra feature for their Lady in White Blu-ray release. There are 3 cuts of the movie as previously mentioned. There is VHS behind the scenes footage, an archival commentary track, deleted scenes with director intro, a promotional short film, trailers, radio spots, and much more.
Lady in White is a solid, slow burn, period piece ghost story. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite nice, and comes with a nice slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.