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The River: The Complete First Season - 2-Disc DVD

Joe Anderson , Paul Blackthorne    G (General Audience)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Embark on a thrilling journey as Oren Peli, Director of Paranormal Activity, and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg bring chilling legend and lore to life. Paranormal thriller The River follows the story of world-famous wildlife expert and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), host of the beloved series "The Undiscovered Country." After Cole goes missing deep in the Amazon, his family, friends and crew set out on a haunting and treacherous adventure to find him. Led by his wife, Tess (Leslie Hope), and estranged son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), the rescue mission will lead them deep into the unexplored regions of the Amazon River - a place where nature is cruel, magic is real and nothing is what it seems. Uncover the ancient secrets of the Bouina in the heart-pounding first season of ABC's The River, and dive even deeper into the mystery with never-before-seen bonus features. The shocking truth is waiting to be discovered. . . if you dare.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Jamie MacDougall TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
When a famed wildlife explorer and beloved TV personality (Bruce Greenwood) goes deep in the Amazon in search of magic, he soon disappears without a trace. When his beacon is activated 6 months later, his wife and son (along with a TV crew) go in search of him. The recently ‘found footage’ of their search makes up the 8 episodes of The River, which aired as a midseason replacement on ABC and was created by Oren Peli and Michael R. Perry. Steven Spielberg also served as one of the executive producers on the short-lived series.

The River is basically ‘Lost’ meets ‘The Blair Witch Project’ with a dash of ‘Paranormal Activity’ thrown in. If shaky handheld footage makes you nauseous you might want to skip this one altogether. But if you’re a fan of the “found footage” genre there are definitely a few scares in the pilot and subsequent episodes of the series. Unfortunately, the show begins to veer into too many directions as it progresses and it soon becomes apparent that every episode is going to offer up a different supernatural element that will be resolved by the end of that episode. This leads to a sort of predictability that takes the scare factor down quite a few notches.

For viewers wondering if it’s worth the time investing in the series’ first (and only) season, you can rest assured that the series comes to a close with a somewhat satisfying resolution. Although there is a cliffhanger in the final episode, it’s the type of twist that most horror fans will be accustomed to as many horror flicks over the years have ended with similar sorts of open-ended nonsense.

The River arrives on DVD in a 2-disc set with solid video & audio and a handful of special features.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best one-season series you can ever buy! Aug. 6 2012
Format:DVD
Intriguing. Unique. Fascinating narrative style. Creepy. Engaging characters. Jungle lore. What more can you ask for in a show meant to entertain? It also features some great casting. Highly recommended. It's tragic that the show wasn't renewed for a second season, but it provides a satisfying close in the season finale.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Network Television Excursion Into The Horror Genre: Love It Or Hate It, But At Least It's Different March 5 2012
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
In the primetime TV landscape, the usual program options have become increasingly formulaic, predictable and safe. With more than half of all network dramas being variations on the crime procedural, something that bucks the trend really has the potential to stand out. Even riskier is trying to adapt a horror offering within the strictures of regular TV in an era when audiences seem to clamor for more explicit and graphic thrills (see FX's delightfully loopy and crazed American Horror Story for something that really pushes the boundaries of conventional fare as it has much more freedom on cable). So I commend ABC executives for greenlighting the interesting eight-part experiment by filmmaker Oren Peli (who made a name for himself with Paranormal Activity). He shares the creator credit for this show with Michael R. Perry (he was also a writer on Paranormal Activity 2), a TV veteran who has dabbled in the horror genre before penning episodes of the underrated and short-lived "American Gothic" and Chris Carter's "X Files" follow-up "Millennium." While not always perfect, therefore, "The River" certainly has the distinction of feeling different and that's undeniably a good thing.

The idea behind "The River" is a good one. Bruce Greenwood plays a popular TV naturist who disappears while on an expedition in the Brazilian wilds. He and his crew are presumed dead. His wife (Leslie Hope) and estranged son (Joe Anderson) put together another documentary crew in an effort to find, and hopefully rescue, the missing men. Trying to piece together what happened through found footage, this new team faces increasingly strange and deadly obstacles the deeper they go. And it becomes abundantly clear that this voyage will have a body count as they seem to be pursuing a location known ominously as the Source. Will it hold the answers they desire? Is Greenwood alive? And will all the random horror elements be pulled together to make sense within a greater plot overview?

The Good:
Setting: For me, the best thing about "The River" is its unusual premise. ABC was so quick to try to brand this the next "Lost" that it overlooked that the two shows have very little common ground. The unexplored jungles and the claustrophobic confines of the river boat lend an unusual backdrop to the unfolding drama. Also, it just looks great.
Style: While the found footage genre has been a bit overworked since the "Blair Witch Project" confirmed its commercial viability, it is effective and different to see it employed in series television. As the horrors are unraveled through quick and random camera shots (either through the crew cameramen or through stationary cameras on the ship), the quick glimpses of danger can make things quite unsettling.

The Bad:
Poor Research: For a show that takes place in Brazil, someone might have noted that they speak Portuguese there as opposed to Spanish. Conveniently, everyone they meet on this jungle excursion into Brazil speaks English or Spanish so don't worry about language barriers!
Ambient Sound: When strange things are happening, the program ramps up the sound effects and music to overwhelming proportions. Call me crazy, but I'd rather the dialogue was louder than the lapping of waves while characters in the river are conversing.

The Indifferent:
Rushed Beginning: The show takes but a few minutes to establish the characters before setting them adrift. It takes a while before we know anyone, much less care about them, and this lessens the impact of the earlier episodes. Stick around, though, things get better.
Horrors: The show aims for creepy more than scary, and that it achieves. Network TV is not a great place for in-your-face monstrosities, and within those limitations, the format does a good job providing some jolts. But our crew experiences such a diverse collection of nightmares, it seems like the creators just wanted to throw everything but the kitchen sink at us and see what stuck. Monsters, possessions, spirits, curses, natives: the mysterious and mystical horrors encompass just about everything you can think of. It's almost too much. And, of course, the mechanic's daughter is the requisite character that seems to know ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about these supernatural occurrences so that they can be "logically" explained to the TV audience.
Hit or Miss Ending: The 7th episode explains Greenwood's fate, but raises more questions than it answers. The screenplay and the characters are content to let most things go down without much contemplation. I did, however, like the finale's (8th episode) turn of events before the take-it-or-leave-it final scene.

I know people that both love "The River" and hate it. I can fully understand either position. But taken for what it is, it provides something different on television and that is an invaluable commodity in the land of cookie-cutter TV. At eight episodes, it isn't a huge time commitment and I was pleased enough to go along for the ride. I don't know that ten years from now that I'll be remembering the show as a classic, but for the moment--it was something that I enjoyed and would recommend for the right audience. About 3 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 3/12.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspensful, intriguing and different May 22 2012
By Nancy P. Beach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Don't believe the negative reviews. This is a suspensful series that needs to be explored in more depth. There is nothing out there like The River, including Lost, which I was a huge fan. I hope this series is picked up by another network that is willing to give it more time to develope.
20 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars for fans of lovecraft and other influences. March 20 2012
By lack of good t.v. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
look i get that this show is familiar. but what i find the most intersting about this show is it's use of tropes in new ways. the best thing to me about this show is that it's typical horror t.v. monster of the week use doesn't preclude the progress of the search. it all has connection and keeps your interest. some eps. are better than others but the adult reaction with the colorful language and behavior for me makes this one of the better shows on t.v. i especially enjoy the relationships of the characters. this show keeps the viewers interest and to me it's better than celebrated shows like american horror and walking dead. why? because it seems to be less using the form of the genre while respecting the predicesors of horror. kind of in the way battlestar galactica did in the early millineum. i recomend this show for watchers looking for more depth in their scfi. especially if you are a reader of lovecraft and alan moores swamp thing - american gothic. it's everywhere if you open your eyes to it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hit or miss niche Nov. 2 2013
By Jes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The River is a niche "series". One of those you'll love it or hate it type of thing. And, I quoted "series" because it says season 1, but it is basically a closed story arch with a cliff hanger. So, while there is an opening for a follow up season, or more than one, if they don't carry on, it still ended fairly well.

The short and ugly of this product is this:

1. Wild life expert, and film crew, lost in Amazon.
2. Expert's family, with film crew, head to Amazon to find lost people.
3. Hand-held, shaky cam mixed with fixed angle security cam, occasional clips from earlier periods of time.
4. Various legend and and folklore of the Amazon touched upon.
5. Some questions just won't be answered, so... be ready for that.
6. Deaths do occur, but gore and bloody effects are minimal at most.

If you enjoy suspense, supernatural, or lost footage type films, give it a shot. It is surprisingly well done for a "series" designed for cable t.v..
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great show Oct. 16 2013
By jgray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Fantastic show, too bad it had to compete with dancing with the stars.. I hope another network picks it up
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