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DVD/Blu-ray Release: Martha Marcy May Marlene

February 21, 2012

Today, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is releasing writer-director Sean Durkin’s disturbing psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene on Blu-ray & DVD.  At the start of the film, Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) flees a dangerous cult where she is known as Marcy May.  Going to stay with her sister (Sarah Paulson), she continues to be haunted by mental illness and disturbing memories of her unsettling time spent living in the commune led by the sadistic Patrick (John Hawkes).  As the film quietly grows more terrifying, there is a very real possibility that Martha will never be able to leave behind her old life in the cult.

With a looming sense of claustrophobia and dread hanging over every scene, Martha Marcy May Marlene is an impressively edited film in the way that it cuts back and forth between the past and present, revealing more and more dark secrets of the cult.  Elizabeth Olsen is haunting in the leading role, with an eery and unblinking sense of calmness juxtaposed with moments of disturbing agitation.  John Hawkes is quietly terrifying as the sadistic leader.  Put simply, this is an intrinsically disturbing psychological thriller that is worth seeing for the smart filmmaking and strong performances, but I’m not sure that I could handle a second viewing.

The Blu-ray includes several interesting featurettes as well as a haunting music video of John Hawkes singing “Marcy’s Song.”

Martha Marcy May Marlene is 102 minutes and rated 14A.

-John C.

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