- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2016

The creation of a monstrous legend and the unimaginable escape from a monster highlight some of the latest Blu-ray releases.

Victor Frankenstein (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, $39.99, 110 minutes) — Director Paul McGuigan’s meandering mash-up of many a Frankenstein tale looks for a second life on Blu-ray after a underwhelming box-office performance and a torching by critics.

The effort focuses on the origin of the mad genius’ assistant, a man never mentioned in Mary Shelly’s novel and often treated as a deformed and much maligned creature in the old Universal Studios’ films.

Within the story, Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) is now a circus freak rescued, cleaned up and reinvigorated as an English gentleman by Dr. Frankenstein (James McAvoy) after showing a penchant for surgery and an acute knowledge of anatomy.

Of course, both of those skills will bode well for Igor as he partners with the doctor in a monstrous reanimation project.

Energetic performances by Mr. Radcliffe and an often crazed Mr. McAvoy keep the diabolical action moving along with help from Jessica Brown Findlay as Igor’s love interest (that’s right) and Andrew Scott (Moriarty in the “Sherlock” reboot) as a nosy police inspector willing to lose all to stop Frankenstein from his ultimate, ghoulish goal.

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A digital transfer highlights the lavish Victorian-themed production design of Eve Stewart and the animatronic work of bringing to life one messed up hybrid of a chimpanzee named Gordon.

Extras are at a minimum with 14 minutes of deleted scenes and a 30-minute overview at the production that spends too much time interviewing the actors and not enough time looking deeper at many of the slick practical effects and impressive sets used in the film.

Despite its original reception, “Victor Frankenstein” still offers a decent mix of horror fantasy making it a worthy rental, especially to fans of series such as as Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful.”

Room (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Rated R, $39.99, 118 minutes) — Director Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s critically acclaimed novel arrives on Blu-ray ready to drain the emotions of home theater viewers.

The story of survival exposes the life of Joy Newsome (Brie Larsen), a woman imprisoned and raped for seven years by a predator named Old Nick and forced to live in a small shed in a backyard in a suburb of Akron.

The girl’s hellish existence is only soothed by living in the confined space with her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay), fathered by the miscreant.

No disrespect to Brie Larsen’s intense Academy Award-winning performance as Joy, but 7-year old Mr. Tremblay carries the emotional weight of the film on his back like a veteran thespian.

Every smile for his unbridled discoveries, tears of his confined predicament and fearful looks at the unknown circumstances by the young actor were riveting to watch.

Best extra is an optional commentary track presenting an informative deconstruction of the movie focused on the technical aspects of the production delivered in an understated, professorial tone from Mr. Abrahamson, cinematographer Danny Cohen, editor Nathan Nugent and production designer Ethan Tobman.

Viewers will also find an additional 21 minutes of promotional featurettes supported by interviews from all of the principles including the book’s author and screenwriter.

Oddest extra is a look at a promotional, multimedia exhibit in the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles where film designers rebuilt the 10-foot by 10-foot room set for visitors to inspect, reminding me of a display that one might find in a museum for serial killers

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