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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > After Dark Horrorfest Double Features To Die For (2005-2009/Borderland/Broken/Butterfly Effect 3/Crazy Eights/Graves/Gravedancers/Wicked Little Things/Zombies Of Mass Destruction/Lionsgate Blu-rays)

After Dark Horrorfest Double Features To Die For (2005-2009/Lionsgate Blu-ray)


Picture: C    Sound: C    Extras: C    Films: C

The After Dark Horrorfest has been giving theatrical releases to eight films each year as part of their annual film festival, 8 Films To Die For. They range in quality, but typically serve up more filler than they rightfully should. These Blu-ray sets showcase eight of these films - two on each disc selected from the four fests they have done from 2006 to 2010.

Part of the initial lineup of films, Gravedancers doesn't prove to be particularly great, but at least feels like a semi-competent horror film, especially when seen next to what was to follow. It is shot well enough, and you can tell that there was some care put into making it appear professional, but the story is slim, leading to more boredom than anything frightful.

Wicked Little Things takes a long time to get running, but it should be enough to hold interest for those who think having some undead kids on hand is the mark of a quality scare film. These children were buried alive in the early 1900's when the mine they worked in collapsed on them. Now they are now back, eating up anyone who happens to not be a relative. It's a shame they couldn't have made a more pronounced appearance earlier in the film, as it doesn't get rolling until later on, once their appearances become more pronounced.

Borderland has a familiar setup - young travelers in a foreign setting, being captured by bizarre natives and then killed. It has similarities to films such as 2000 Maniacs and Hostel, treading no ground that hasn't already been covered by either of those films and countless others.

By the time we get to Crazy Eights, things just might start to run together. This is a typical haunted house movie, and in the second year of this festival, you can see than any spark of originality is already dimming.

Having not watched the original Butterfly Effect, or its first sequel, for that matter, I cannot compare the quality of this entry to the others in the series. Seeing as it is part of an established franchise, its inclusion here seems unusual, especially when considering that it is not even a horror film. Surprisingly, The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations looks the most professional of all the films here, and while still not great, it does manage to overcome the blandness of the other titles.

The Broken, as well, strays from being a strict horror film. There are certainly elements of the genre, and the story revolves around the doppelganger, but overall it has the feeling of a paranormal thriller. Judging only by the collection of titles presented here, it would seem that the festival was looking at expanding its focus in an effort to pull in new viewers with this year's entries.

The Graves, is a film directed by comic artist Brian Pulido, and as with the other films here, average is the best descriptor for this Hills Have Eyes meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre knockoff. Horror convention regulars Bill Moseley and Tony Todd are among the cast, and genre fans will appreciate seeing them here. Sadly, their appearances here are nothing special, as they have been abundant in other productions of this type. Both actors deserve better than this, and I wish there greater outlets for their talents happened with more regularity.

A pretty standard (and boring) zombie flick, Zombies of Mass Destruction, tries, as many other productions do, to use zombies as a vehicle for social commentary. It is my opinion that if you're a filmmaker without something to say, don't shoehorn it in just because some of the best ones out there do it too.

Unsurprisingly, picture and sound carry on being little more than average on just about every film here. The earliest ones are also the better looking of the group, excepting The Butterfly Effect 3, which surprises by being the title I would have pegged to be among the worst. Aspect ratios vary from film to film, but all are presented in 1080p digital High Definition widescreen. Sound isn't anything to write home about for any of the titles, but all are at least presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which is a significant upgrade over the audio on the previous editions of the films.

It seems that Lionsgate has carried over all of the special features from the previous DVD releases, so that is a plus. Unfortunately, most of the movies are so painfully average, it's doubtful anyone will want to stick around for the bonus content. These extras are plentiful for about half of the films, with Borderland, Gravedancers, The Graves and Wicked Little Things all at least having a commentary track. The first three of these also have many more behind the scenes features. The only disc to not feature much of anything at all would be the one featuring the third year entries, with very little in the way of added content.

A recommendation for any of these sets doesn't come easily, but looking over the films they've released in this series over the years, other titles stand out as more interesting choices. Why these weren't selected as first in line is odd, but I'm sure that they'll come along in future waves. Perhaps those would present better opportunities to get your feet wet with as far as this series goes.


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David Milchick


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