(2011/Well Go USA
DVD)/Jersey Shore Shark Attack
(2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Penumbra
(2011/IFC/MPI DVD)/Piranha 3DD
(2012/Weinstein Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D and DVD)
Picture: B- 2D Picture: C/C+/B-/C+/B-
& C Sound: C+/C+/B/C+/B- & C+ Extras: C-/D/C-/C-/C- Main
our latest slate of Horror releases….
Wallin’s Area 407 (2011) has a good
idea done badly and with more and more illogic.
A group of unsuspecting airplane passengers become part of a secret evil
government experiment, having fun in their flight until they have to crash
land, killing some of them, then they are in the title locale which has a dirty
secret of its own. The result is
laughable, however (I guess LOST
figured into this when they were piecing the script together) and the plotholes
are more massive than the holes in the wrecked jumbo jet.
instance, how did the “government” know when they would crash, how would they
crash and how could “they” make sure that there would be any survivors? That’s just the beginning. Then you got the shaky camerawork (allegedly
the passengers recording the events for fun before they take off, though
haven’t airlines banned such cameras?) and it just gets more and more
had done this more seriously and thought this one through, this could have been
fun and not dumb, but the makers choose the latter and this dud is the
result. A trailer is the only extra.
worse is Neil Mackay’s Battleground
(2011/aka Skeleton Lake) which
starts as a heist film where four robbers steal a small fortune and are on the
run, but they pick the wrong abandoned house to seek refuge in because a
stereotypical, angry old Vietnam vet who hates everyone, loves to torture
people, is perpetually bitter and loves to kill. It revives every ugly, cheap-shot stereotype
Right Wingers had manufactured about men who served in the actual conflict (if
they were no so “weak” and “damaged” that “we” would have “won”) and just gets
worse and worse.
time the biggest slap in the face happens (a super-stupid variant of the
Russian Roulette sequence in Michael Cimino’s masterpiece The Deer Hunter (1978, reviewed elsewhere on this site) happens,
you know the makers have zero idea of anything about Vietnam, suspense, writing
and how to portray human beings.
one of the worst releases of the year!
are two very similar tales inspired by the success of Piranha 3D (also reviewed elsewhere on this site) issued in 2012:
John Shepphird’s Jersey Shore Shark
Attack and John Gulager’s official “sequel”, Piranha 3DD. They both have
much of the same structure, same jokes, same murders, same killings, some name
actors and same formula. Though on one
from MTV’s horrid Jersey Shore
series shows up in the former, actors have been hired to impersonate rip-offs
of them and the result is a lame release that is still better than the awful Piranha 3DD, which should have been fun
but is just a totally stupid cash-in.
Shark has Paul Sorvino, William
Atherton and Jack Scalia, while Piranha
has David Hasselhoff. A returning Christopher Lloyd and what’s left of Gary
Busey. They’re both dumb
“teens-getting-killed” flicks, but at least Shark has some amusing moments,
though it is a one-note comedy. Both
also have more blood than needed.
we have Arnaldo Hernandez’s Penumbra
(2011) in which bad people seize yet another house, but this time, it is the
old family mansion now owned by a stuck-up female businesswoman in Buenos Aires. In this case, the potential renters are
Satanists and because she is an independent woman, she must suffer!?!
We do to
with the sexist, cynical side of what is semi-torture porn and a very stupid
work overall. This had potential
(especially coming from overseas) and some of the actors are interesting, but
the result is a zero-suspense would-be thriller that can be borderline
offensive and junk overall. A trailer is
the only extra.
anamorphically enhanced DVD images (1.78 X 1 image on Area, 2.35 X 1 on the remaining three discs) are all on the soft
side, sometimes form ill-advised style approaches, but Area and Piranha are
especially soft and hard to watch, though Piranha
fares better in its 1.78 X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital
High Definition image and 2D 1080p presentations, though one is not better than
the other. The 3D shows the makers going
for the “throwing things at the audience” approach to the format and none of
the three versions leave much of a visual impression.
the 1080p versions of that release plus the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High
Definition image transfer on Jersey are the best performers on the list as
expected. However, they both have motion
blur, obvious digital work and both color and detail limits that hold them back
from anything we would call demo material.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Piranha and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on Jersey represent the best-sounding releases on the list, but once
again, with limits including some bad recording moments, a lack of consistent
soundfield and limited fidelity at times.
The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on all the DVDs are poorer as expected, but Area and Piranha (again?) are the weakest of all.
- Nicholas Sheffo