Blu-ray Review: Constantine: The House of Mystery
Directed by: Matt Peters
Written by: Ernie Altbacker
Starring: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Ray Chase, Lou Diamond Phillips
Reviewed by: Eric Joseph
Thanks to WB for the free review copy.
Matt Ryan (Constantine, Legends of Tomorrow) reprises his live-action and animated role as the Hellblazer himself in Constantine: The House of Mystery. In the all-new short, John Constantine wakes up in the eerie House of Mystery with no recollection of how he got there. Fortunately, Zatanna and his friends are all there. Unfortunately, they have a bad habit of turning into demons and ripping him to shreds, over and over again!
Similar to Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam and Batman: Death in the Family, Constantine: The House of Mystery serves as an anchor of sorts for the latest collection of DC Showcase Shorts in one home video package. Clocking in at nearly a half-hour in length, this macabre adventure headlined by the charismatic demonologist is very much an epilogue to 2020’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. So, if you really dug the New 52-inspired line of animated films, you’re going to want to check out this bad boy.
Not meaning to spoil much, I’ll say this short flick sees our beloved John Constantine swept up in a Groundhog Day-esque horror story in the titular House of Mystery. There’s a, um, mystery to be unraveled very early on in the picture, and it’s ever more impactful thanks to Robert J. Kral’s haunting score.
Truth be told, this may prove to be a divisive film among fans, but that may actually be a testament to the creative team for taking chances. We’ve seen so much of John Constantine across various forms of media in the past decade that it’s time to subvert the expected and surprise viewers with something such as this. Really, I thought I was in for John investigating a weird case in a spooky house, and I got this. Not bad at all!
If anything, Constantine is put through the physical and emotional wringer in this piece. After seeing what he endures – and for how long – his conviction and resilience are items to be discussed. There’s a twist at the end, of course, but all the pieces assembled really do fit in line with what we know to make John Constantine, John Constantine.
Elsewhere on the Blu-ray are three other shorts that had been found as supplemental content on recently released DC animated movies, those being Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, The Losers, and Blue Beetle. Of those, Blue Beetle is easily my favorite, what with its homage to ’60s superhero cartoons – and the Question’s urologist quip gets me every time.
There’s a lone special feature in this package, and it’s called “DC Showcase: One Story at a Time.” I expected it to encompass all DC Showcase Shorts to this point, but it covers only those collected on this particular release. I guess that’s fine, but I was hoping for something more definitive. After all, how could we ever forget the likes of The Spectre, Jonah Hex, Phantom Stranger, and especially Catwoman?
Constantine: The House of Mystery is recommended for fans of the eponymous exorcist and those who just plain dig lesser-known DC characters. This Blu-ray is the home video equivalent of buying a comic book grab bag, so have at it, boys and girls.