One of the most lugubrious films this viewer has ever seen, "Prison," according to the filmmakers, is "Poltergeist" set in a jail. If only this flimsy 1988 movie lived up to such expectations. It was produced by "Halloween" producer Irwin Yablans and directed by horror genre filmmaker Renny Harlin.
Because of overcrowding, prisoners are brought to the creepy Creedmore Prison, once the site of the execution of an innocent man, Charlie Forsyth. The inmates are suddenly thrust into supernatural happenings and it becomes a battle between Forsyth and his former prison guard (Lane Smith).
"Prison" was one of the first reincarnated killer movies of its time, a year before Wes Craven’s own "Shocker." It does have a few things going for it: Viggo Mortensen appears in one of his first roles and his fresh innocence gives the film a bit of depth. Director Harlin brings some atmosphere to the proceedings and the dark and dank prison setting sets the mood nicely in some scenes.
The problem with "Prison" lies in its script by C. Courtney Joyner. At one point, it’s suggested that Viggo just may be our reincarnated killer. This subplot is dropped midway through the film, and the confusing and abrupt climax doesn’t aid in matters.
"Hard Time: the Making of ’Prison’" is a retrospective featuring numerous interviews. Among the people appearing are Harlin, stunt coordinator Kane Hodder, and producer Yablans. A poster and still gallery and original first-draft screenplay of "Prison" are offered up as well on the Blu-ray.
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