When was the last great Brian De Palma movie? Was it Mission Impossible? Maybe. Was it Snake Eyes? Uh, no. Maybe it was Raising Cain? After watching Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Raising Cain, I am inclined to think that maybe the film really was De Palma’s last great cinematic thriller (don’t get me wrong, I love Mission Impossible, but that is an action flick). Fan response to Raising Cain was lukewarm at best when it first came out, much in thanks to a disjointed plot that bounced around a lot. The film had you guessing what is reality and what isn’t, but when you mix in the incoherent storytelling, it was a hard experience to get into. Thankfully, the Director’s Cut of Raising Cain fixes the issue. There is a story behind the Director’s Cut and I will get into it after the break.
RUN-TIME: 91 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1992
RELEASE DATE: Sept 13, 2016
When Jenny cheated on her husband, he didn’t just leave…he split.
From master of terror Brian De Palma comes this stylish psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final frame.
Carter Nix (Lithgow) is a respected psychologist, loving husband and devoted father who decides to take a year off to help raise his daughter. Carter’s wife Jenny is pleased to have her attentive husband home – at first.
When Carter shows obsessive behavior toward their daughter, Jenny becomes concerned, and to complicate matters, Jenny’s old flame re-enters her life. But nothing can prepare her for the emergence of Carter’s multiple personalities, and a fiendish plot to recreate the infamous experiments of his deranged father.
It is hard not to spoil the plot of Raising Cain, especially if you’ve seen any of the marketing material, so I’m not going to try to tip toe around the “big” mystery of the flick. John Lithgow suffers from split personality disorder. There I said it. With that out of the way, what exactly is the movie about?
After the birth of their child, Dr Carter Nix (John Lithgow) agrees to stay at home and take care of the baby. Carter’s wife, Jenny (Lolita Davidovich) goes back to work as a doctor. Everything seems to be going along smoothly, that is until Jenny runs into an old flame (Steven Bauer) and rekindles their relationship. Jenny is pretty terrible at keeping this affair a secret and Carter finds out and proceeds to snap. The calm Carter is no more and the bad to the bone, leather wearing, sunglasses at night Cain comes out to play. However, it isn’t just the affair that pushes Carter over the edge.
Carter’s father was experimenting on children when it he was younger and ends up being arrested for trying to buy babies (where does one exactly buy babies? I know you can’t at Babies R Us. Trust me on that one). Even though Carter’s father commits suicide, it seems Carter’s personality, Cain, is working with the supposedly dead father (or is it just another personality coming out?) and trying to start the experiments all over again. This requires stealing babies. It’s a convoluted process, nevertheless, it works. Cue insanity!
Obviously, I took some liberties with the plot breakdown, as I don’t want to spoil everything that happens in this mind-bending thriller. It is better to just go into the movie and work out everything for yourself. Thankfully, there is an amazing one-take shot that has actress Frances Sternhagen explaining all the exposition the audience needed. (Really, this one-take shot is truly amazing to witness.)
Now, as already mentioned, the Scream Factory Blu-ray offers a Director’s Cut of Raising Cain. There is no new deleted scenes or anything cool like that. Instead, a long time fan by the name of Peet Gelderblom, took his DVD copy and a leaked early script and re-edited the film to be closer to the original director’s intention. You see, Brian De Palma thought audiences wouldn’t be able to follow the plot if it wasn’t chronological. He also felt that audiences would be lost with an extended flashback scene, so, he decided to quickly re-edit the movie and consequently, it turned out to be a bad idea.
Now, thanks to Peet Gelderblom, we get to see the movie how it was meant to be seen and honestly, the film flows much better this way. John Lithgow’s progression into madness has proper time to manifest and due to Jenny’s affair being placed front and centre in the story, her character arc is properly setup.
Even with the re-edit, there are still pacing issues and confusing scene transitions that are hard to fix. For the most part, though, the film should be considered one of De Palma’s best. John Lithgow steals every scene he is in and nails all five(!) different roles to perfection. Fans of psychological thrillers will be wise to pick this one up and any fan who loved the re-edit will love this new high-def transfer
Raising Cain comes out as a Collector’s Edition with two discs. The first disc contains the theatrical edit of the film, along with six interviews. The new interview with John Lithgow, which runs 30-minutes, is very enjoyable. There is a theme with the interviews, in that they all praise Brian De Palma’s abilities as a director. Sadly, there are no interviews or commentaries with the man himself, which makes sense, as he has become somewhat of a recluse now.
As for the audio/visual side of the disc, Raising Cain has never looked better. The Blu-ray presents a solid transfer, with a wonderful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 soundtrack. No complaints from yours truly.
- Theatrical Version Of The Film
- NEW Interviews With Actors John Lithgow, Steven Bauer, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris And Editor Paul Hirsch
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
- Director’s Cut Of The Film Featuring Scenes Reordered As Originally Intended
- NEW Changing Cain: Brian De Palma’s Cult Classic Restored Featurette
- NEW Raising Cain Re-Cut – A Video Essay By Peet Gelderblom
I was not sure if I was going to enjoy Raising Cain. I grew up knowing about it, but I just never got around to checking it out. Well, I’m glad I waited, as this Scream Factory Blu-ray was the perfect way to experience the flick. It allowed me to see both versions and gain a better appreciation and understanding of the film. Fans will definitely want to pick up this Blu-ray.