DC has released their next direct-to-video animated venture, with CONSTANTINE: THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY. More specifically, it’s a part of the DC Showcase, in that the main feature runs nearly half an hour, and then three previous DC Showcase shorts account for the rest of the runtime.
Admittedly, my knowledge of John Constantine and other magic/dark figures (Zatanna, Etrigan, The Spectre) of the DC universe is rather slim. Therefore, I entered this feature without any strict attachments and with a pair of fresh eyes.
The Constantine movie was pretty damn good.
Imagine the setup: following the Apokolips war, Earth is left in shambles. John Constantine finds a way to reset the universe, which has dramatic repercussions for him. Mainly, he lives in a Groundhog Day of death, inside a haunted house.
I don’t want to give any more away because it is only 25-ish minutes long, and there are some effective surprises. I thought Matt Ryan did an excellent job voicing the main character, who has a great way of facing this new, trippy, scary reality. Again, without knowing much history, he provided some good, genuine reactions to the horror he continues to face over and over again.
Speaking of the horror, I really enjoy the animation here too. While it seems like a DC animated film, it’s also different from what we’ve seen before. I’ve enjoyed these movies but always look/hope for them to go a little different, and experiment. While this didn’t take it too far in that direction, we did get some surprising content and created a really cool atmosphere that I was all in on.
The rest of the disc provides three previously-released shorts involving KAMANDI, THE LOSERS (written by friend of BOF Tim Sheridan), and BLUE BEETLE. When you view all of these movies together, you can see the differing approaches to animation and I applaud the team for branching out with these new styles.
This DC Showcase disc is a good bundle for DC and animation fans, headlined by this cool Constantine main feature. For modest fans, it’s definitely worth a viewing.
For the diehard, you’ll probably want to pick it up. – Ryan Lower