Friday, May 9, 2014

Dead Shadows Blu-Ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Produced and directed by French filmmaker David Cholwa, Dead Shadow starring Fabian Wolfron, Blandine Marmigere, John Fallon and Rurik Salle, tells the terrifying story about a young man, Chris, whose parents were brutally killed 11 years ago, on the same day that the Halley’s Comet could be seen from Earth.  Tonight, a new comet is going to appear and everyone in his building is getting ready for a party to celebrate the event.  There’s even an apocalypse theory going around.  As the night falls, Chris starts to discover that people are acting strange – and it seems to somehow be connected to the comet.  People are becoming disoriented and violent and it doesn’t take long before they start mutating into something from beyond this world.  In a fight for survival, Chris has to try to escape from his building with the help from some other tenants – but will they make it out alive?

Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
On the night a comet is visible in the sky; a small boy, Chris, is awake and afraid.  His father opens the door to check on him and seeing he is awake starts to get angry.  His mother defends him and they close the door and go downstairs.  Chris hears them arguing over him and gets out of bed to investigate.  As he approaches the kitchen, he hears his mother pleading and when he gets to the door, his mother has been stabbed and his father just looks at him and smiles before shutting the door.

Many years later, Chris has grown up and is a computer technician who lives in a Paris apartment.  He hears commotion outside his door and peeks out the peephole where he sees his beautiful neighbor, Claire, throwing her boyfriend out.  After a strange trip to the local market, where he sees some strange happenings and is almost attacked on his way back, he returns and sees Claire’s door is open. He goes in and she invites him to sit down.  After chatting, she invites him to a party later that night.  That night, there is another comet passing by Earth and the neighboring building is having a party to celebrate.

Chris, still afraid of the dark, almost backs out, but sucks it up and goes.  Once there, he has a drink that makes him sick and he passes out in the bathroom.  Claire finally finds him and together, they go into a quieter room and talk.  He confides in her that he has anxiety and is afraid of the dark.  Claire leaves him in the room and tells him to turn all the lights on.  He leaves the room and sees strange things happening to the people at the party.  

He quickly runs home and locks himself in his apartment, but something is already inside.  As he tries to escape, he realizes the door is stuck and some men break it down from the outside. They enter his apartment and they turn out to be the same men who attacked him earlier.  They fight and Chris is saved by another man.  He leaves with the man and they try to make it out of the building.  Once out, they see the streets in chaos and the man, realizing he’s been infected with whatever the others have, sacrifices himself and Chris escapes.

He finds Claire and a little boy and they make it through the streets and are rescued by the army, but not before Chris is injured in an attack.  Chris realizes that something is wrong with him and leaves the truck.  As the sun rises, Paris is levels by explosions.

I had high expectations for this film.  However, it did not live up to them and I was really disappointed.  I wasn’t disappointed that the film was entirely in French, or that the creatures shown were super cheesy; it was that the story just wasn’t that good.  It had a lot of potential and I was hoping it would be better than it was. 
Video (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p High-Definition widescreen (2.35:1) presentation of Dead Shadows is alright.  The film is dark… too dark in some parts.  In many scenes, the black overwhelmed what little color there was and it was hard to see what was happening or what was coming up.  Much of the film was also a bit grainy and some of the scenes were too blue to compensate for the night.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The French DTS-HD master audio 5.1 is good. The film is also available in 2.0 French DTS-HD master audio, English 5.1 DTS-HD master audio and 2.0 English DTS-master audio and also has English subtitles available. The English dubbing was not bad, but I felt like the voice over actors were just reading off the script. There wasn’t much emotion to the dialogue when listening to it in English. The sound levels were good and I didn’t need to adjust the volume at all. I watched the film in French with the English subtitles and I could hear everything clearly, even if I couldn’t understand it.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The special features provided weren't that interesting, but the featurette of on the special effects was most interesting. 
  • Making of Special Effects Featurette – A look at how the special effects were put together and the use of computers to create the movie effects.
  • Deleted Scenes – There were only a few deleted scenes and none of them brought anything extra to the film.
  • Interview with Director David Cholewa – This is a 33 minute interview with the director.  It talks about the film, his career, how he became interested in horror films, etc.  This interview looks like it was a webcast interview.  It’s very informal.
  • Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer – The trailers for the film.

Summary (2 out of 5 stars)
Dead Shadows was a disappointing film.  The synopsis was interesting and lead me to think it was going to be a better horror film than it was.  I am a fan of foreign films, but this was a “no go” for me.  I don’t see myself watching it again. The Blu-ray itself was also disappointing with poor video and audio quality and extras that weren't that interesting. This isn't a release that I can highly recommend.

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