The Row Blu-ray Review

Price: $14.89
Was: $21.99

Randy Couture Versus A Sorority

A serial killer terrorizes rush week when sisters of the hottest sorority on campus are murdered, turning their bodies into doll parts. As the deaths pile up, one freshman pledge will be at the center of a deepening mystery that engulfs the entire campus. Newcomer Lala Kent (Vanderpump Rules) and UFC legend-turned-actor Randy Couture headline this campus thriller cheekily titled The Row.

The Row is a quick, rather simple b-movie made on the cheap. Thirty years ago it would have contained ample nudity and far more gruesome murders. The movie doesn’t go quite far enough with its exploitation elements despite a few salacious moments of sorority hazing.

It’s a stretch to classify The Row as a pure horror film. The Row’s basic elements are closer in spirit to a thriller shown on Lifetime, albeit one on steroids with more graphic language and subject matter. The jabs at greek life on campus are nothing new and have been done a thousand times before. All that being said, the cast adds a certain charm to the fairly routine serial killer mystery. There’s enough satisfying entertainment from their energy and chemistry to get you through The Row’s nearly 90 minutes.

No one is going to be frightened by the oddly shot and mostly bloodless kills

Riley Cole (Lala Kent) enters school with her close friend, Becks (Mia Frampton). Riley becomes a pledge at Phi Lambda, a powerful sorority on campus. The fresh-faced college student tries to fit right in with the greek party life, meeting the handsome Carter. An older valet that works around campus also takes a shine to the attractive sorority pledge. Riley’s father is Detective Cole, played by Randy Couture. Their evolving father-daughter relationship over the course of the film is the thematic center of The Row.

Detective Cole is the classic gruff, overprotective father character, one that has been hiding things about the family’s history from his daughter. Riley’s mother passed away when she was young. Only now is Riley finding out about her mother’s life, including her mother’s history as a Phi Lambda sister. That may play into the murders now happening on campus.

The Row occupies an odd headspace for modern horror. It’s an R-rated flick with an attractive young cast of co-ed characters, but punches like it wants to be a PG-13 movie made for cable. The real failings are the lame serial killer and the poor murder choreography. No one is going to be frightened by the oddly shot and mostly bloodless kills. The killer is a generic hooded person that does nothing to heighten the mystery. Even the “dead” bodies don’t look that dead.

Only a few characters get any real development, mostly Riley and her father. It is to actress Lala Kent’s credit that she credibly pulls off the lead role. She’s more than a pretty face and the movie would not have worked with a lesser performance. Coming from a reality show background, Lala Kent has a charisma and presence that is definitely star quality.

Couture has been in a few movies over the years, mostly playing stereotypical roles in action franchises. He carries himself fairly well as an overprotective father. Interestingly enough, most of the actors playing college students actually pass being around that age. They didn’t cast actors going on 35 to play the sorority sisters. They all look like they belong in school.

This review probably reads harsher than I wanted to convey. The Row has some generic attributes. At times it feels rounded off at the edges for the sake of a tight budget. But the overall premise and characters are entertaining, if you don’t mind derivative genre fodder.

Video

Shot with RED digital cameras, The Row looks perfectly acceptable on Blu-ray with a few limitations. It comes courtesy of Lionsgate in a well-done transfer. Filmed with practical lighting on what I suspect was a tight budget, the 1080P presentation lacks that utterly razor-sharp video perfection often seen on RED productions.

It’s a tad softer than expected for a new movie released in 2018. The definition is mostly solid with decent depth. Clarity and contrast pop in daylight exteriors. Darker shots occasionally have limited shadow delineation. Black levels are stable and consistent, though they lack that inky quality of more expensive movies.

The 85-minute main feature is encoded in strong AVC on a BD-25. The Row is framed at 1.85:1. Detail can be erratic, depending on the shot and available lighting. Close-ups are generally generous with high-frequency content. There is no visible processing to the transfer.

The Row is a cheaply made thriller. It doesn’t offer overwhelming picture quality but merely steady, serviceable video on Blu-ray.

Audio

The audio design definitely embraces The Row’s tendencies as a horror movie. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack has a lively, active presence across the surround field. It offers an immersive audio experience with pleasing bass response.

If anything, the massive dynamics demand a fully calibrated home theater system to keep pace when the quiet dialogue passages move towards full-throttle action.

English, Spanish and English SDH are the three subtitle options. They appear in a white font.

Extras

The Row receives a perfunctory director’s commentary and one featurette. First pressings include an embossed slipcover with nice artwork.

Lionsgate does include a digital copy, but their digital plans are in flux since they dropped UltraViolet on their new releases over a month ago. Their movieredeem site will inform you which digital providers work for The Row when the code is entered.

Making The Row (06:09 in HD) – Director Matty Beckerman and cast go behind the scenes in this making-of featurette. Outside of Randy Couture, the inexperienced cast members look frightened to say anything but glowingly positive remarks on their experience filming the movie. Probably the most insightful comments on the actual production come from cinematographer Jamie Barber, explaining his preference for practical lighting.

Director’s Commentary – Director Matty Beckerman goes into a scene-by-scene discussion of his film that recalls working on the set and impressions of the cast. The solo commentary offers enough filmmaking information for aspiring directors, but it’s not the funniest or most lively discussion.

The Row Trailer (02:01 in HD)

Lionsgate Trailers (09:19 in HD) – The following trailers play before the main menu and are also playable from the main menu: Spinning Man, Bent, Future World, The Show, The Crucifixion

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray release was provided to us for review by the studio. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page to learn more about DoBlu’s editorial policies.

The Row
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

A sorority slasher that forgets to create a memorable villain, the leads are intriguing enough to make it a worthwhile rental.

Overall
3
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The 15 unaltered images below have been taken directly from the actual Blu-ray. For an additional 26 screenshots taken from The Row, early access to all screens (plus the 15,000+ already in our library) in full resolution, dozens of exclusive 4K UHD reviews and other goodies, support us on Patreon.