Choose the Out Crowd
Hoping glib, smug, arrogant rich people off one another is standard cinema fare. The In Crowd makes sense in that context, set entirely in a preppy golf club playing host to beautiful but awful people. A soap opera, essentially, which is all The In Crowd becomes.
After Wild Things in 1998, 20-somethings sex thrillers broke free, unfortunately leading to insufferable dreck like The In Crowd. It’s never interesting, only slightly sexually charged, and plodding toward a routine and obvious climactic act.
The In Crowd shows there’s nothing worse for the elite class than being exposed for who or what they are
Attempting some color, The In Crowd involves broken people, star Lori Heuring’s character recently allowed to leave a mental institution, gaining employment at the club, and trying to find friends. Instead, Heuring is led into a one-of-us cult, where everyone judges looks and lovers trade one another for pleasure. Gross, as intended, because there’s no means to feel empathy for any of these miserable characters, nor do they share any for others unless there’s benefit for them. It takes far too long to see these garbage humans offed.
A meandering story deals with people discovering who they really are. Those running from their past find it catching up. A yawner premise, made no better by the stock characters. The In Crowd shows there’s nothing worse for the elite class than being exposed for who or what they are; keeping that stuff hidden – or just keeping their money – is worth murdering people over. Society lured them in, and it’s Heuring as the hero only because she won’t give in. She leaves The In Crowd happy, middle class at best, and satisfied with that outcome.
When released in the UK, The In Crowd added 12-minutes. Originally, this was R-rated in the States, but trimmed for PG-13, surprising given the openly aggressive sexual banter and topless nudity still here, both usually no-nos for the MPAA. No matter the content, another 12-minutes sounds unbearable. Being among the 1% and their high school-tier relationship drama (despite hovering near 30) feels gross even with a screen separating cast and audience.
Watch the bottom right corner as The In Crowd begins. It’s hard not to see the bright white, flashing dot, possibly a guide to account for overscan or ratio correctness. Whatever the dot is, it comes back routinely, usually 20-minutes at a time.
More than an annoyance, the spot is the cleanest thing on this pitiful transfer. The print itself goes through erratic damage/dirt, coming and going, and scene dependent. Mastering looks ready for DVD, not Blu-ray, lagging in resolution and souring on detail. Look for discussion on fidelity elsewhere because there’s nothing here.
Egregious compression crams two other movies on the same disc, all hovering around two hours. Corners were cut, and then cut again. Large artifacting chunks swarm the screen, leaving The In Crowd smothered, as if smashed by a DNR hammer. But no, some grain does stick around, if rarely seen.
Flat contrast causes problems late. Nighttime sequences lack in visibility, too dim. Only in the brightest light does The In Crowd bring some dimension, a real shame considering the beach side location. Pale color isn’t much fun either.
The case says DTS-HD, and so does the player. The output sounds like a first generation Dolby Digital track however. Lifeless range delivers no low-end. Pitiful, scratchy dialog is more akin to something from the ‘40s. Even the (very) 2000s soundtrack suffers limited clarity.
If there’s a plus, stereo effects stick out a few times, confirming at least this isn’t a mono downmix.
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The In Crowd
Insufferable people in an insufferable story, The In Crowd fails in even the tiniest ways when trying to pare down the sexual thriller to PG-13.
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