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Case Number 24547: Small Claims Court

Buy Coffin at Amazon


MTI // 2011 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // September 23rd, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum wonders how any box could hold the mighty Hercules.

The Charge

The clock is ticking.

The Case

Coffin's premise is a simple tortuous scenario set up to play out in real time during the film. A cheating wife (Sunny Doench, Downloading Nancy) is locked in a coffin with her lover (Kevin Sorbo, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), and her spooky kidnapper (Johnny Alonso, Serial Mom) demands a high ransom from her husband (Patrick Barnitt, The Waiters). They have seventy-five minutes before their oxygen runs out, and it is up to the scorned hubby to cough up the cash in time. To describe the plot any further might take out some of the fun, but it's one of those thrillers that likes to twist and turn several times over before hitting the conclusion.

The whole film has a "straight to DVD" feel with a cast of mainly unknowns and then Kevin Sorbo and Bruce Davison (X-Men) making brief turns in pivotal roles. It looks cheaply made, and the set up has a "been there, done that" feel that Saw fans will recognize. It's a clumsy production, but the idea of the coffin trap works well despite it being "done to death" elsewhere. Basically this is an okay enough feature that, if you are a fan of Kevin Sorbo or this genre, it makes for an okay hour and a half. Yet there is no real reason to seek this one out when other flicks do it better. One interesting side note is that Sunny Doench was a first choice to play Xena Warrior Princess until she lost out to Lucy Lawless. So this feature gives you a chance to see Sorbo and the woman who could have been his love interest if things had taken a different turn.

There 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer has nice black levels and color saturation. Details are nicely rendered, and there are not any problems with artifacts or aliasing. The Dolby 5.1 Surround track provides enough oomph when it is called for. The DVD is pretty tricked out when you look at the supplements. Co-directors Kipp Tribble and Derik Wingo provide commentary over their feature, and even get to comment their own performances as they appear as police detectives on the case. The only drawback to their discussion is one of them is on using Skype, and the sound cuts in and out now and then. Also levels are not always consistent on the commentary. There is also a featurette that explores the "making of" Coffin including a lot of on set footage of how they pulled off the signature sequence. Lead actor Patrick Barnitt gets to share his video diary from the filming, and it's cute enough. All in all there is a lot here for a small feature.

Shot on less than a dime, Coffin is a standard thriller that doesn't go anywhere new. It's one of those "we're caught in a trap" movies which have been all the rage for the last decade or so. Still, it has Kevin Sorbo, looking good in a pinewood box. That might offer a small thrill for his fans, and others will just think this one is a passable enough experience.

The Verdict

Guilty of doing the same tricks as many other thrillers, it's a by-the-numbers film that finds itself in an all too familiar trap.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 68

Perp Profile

Studio: MTI
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Crime
• Horror
• Independent
• Mystery
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Video Diary
• Cast Bios


• IMDb

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