Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Mystery > Murder > Ireland > Horror > Supernatural > Demons > > Terror > Science Fiction > Jap > Dead Still (2020/Acorn DVD)/Possession (2008*)/Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films Of Shinya Tsukamoto (1989 - 2018/Arrow/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Survive The Night (2020/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

Dead Still (2020/Acorn DVD)/Possession (2008*)/Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films Of Shinya Tsukamoto (1989 - 2018/Arrow/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Survive The Night (2020/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

Picture: C+/Blu-rays: B+ Sound: C+/Blu-rays: B+ Extras: C/C+/B/C+ Main Programs: C+/C+/C+ (Films: C+/C/C/B/C/C/C+/C+/C/C+)/C

Here's a wide-ranging look at different thrillers...

We start with a new TV series that might be a mini-series or become a longer multi-season affair. Dead Still (2020) is about a still portrait memorial photographer named Brock Blennerhasset (Michael Smiley from the Luther series, in Charles Dance mode) making his living many decades ago in Victorian Ireland. Business is good because he is very good in an ear of plates and before roll film becomes common, but a series of murders starts to take place and some wonder if his camera is capturing 'ghosts' or the like.

A detective (Aidan O'Hare) steps in to investigate, with Irish mobsters of the time also afoot and it will take more efforts from he and his two assistants Connal (Kerr Logan) and niece Nancy (Eileen O'Higgins) to figure out all that is going no, no matter what.

The series is not bad and well cast, looking convincingly period for the most part, should it play this as all serious drama, be an outright comedy or a bit of both? In this case, it chooses a little more comedy than I thought it should and that undermines both its period feel and the development of its own more mature style. You might like its approach more if you find yourself interested, but I was a little disappointed.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has a little softness, but looks good color wise and is not badly shot throughout, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is passable, but suggests there is more sound here should a lossless version ever turn up.

The only extra is a behind-the-scenes featurette, but it runs over an hour.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) stars in Possession (2008), which has received a new 1080p Blu-ray release on the MVD Marquee Collection label. Gellar is quite good in the film and plays a more dramatic role than she typically does. The film was a big flop in the box office and came out in the dismal 2008 year where Gellar had just come out with those awful Grudge remakes so it's not a shock it didn't captivate too many audiences then.

The film also stars Lee Pace, Michael Landes, and William B. Davis (The X-Files). It is directed by Swedish filmmakers Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist.

Gellar is newly married woman whose husband and cruel brother end up in a car accident and comatose. When her husband wakes up, he is in his brother's body. Soon, Gellar comes to grips with the fact that her husband was involved in some kind of bizarre body swap... but is he who he thinks he is? Or is there something more sinister at play?

Possession is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio in 2.40:1 with audio mixes in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit) and English: LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit) lossless mixes. The film is beautifully photographed and has a highly cinematic look.

Special Features include:

Making of Featurette with star Sarah Michelle Gellar

Deleted and Alternate Scenes

Original Theatrical Trailer

and Reversible Artwork

Next, if you're into nightmarish Japanese-based body horror and bizarre fusions of man and machine then you may want to check out the new Arrow Films boxset of the works of controversial Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto. Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films Of Shinya Tsukamoto is a packed set that is a must for lovers of this type of obscure cinema.

Films featured in the set include Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) / Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992) / The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo (1987) / Tokyo Fist (1995) / Bullet Ballet (1998) / A Snake of June (2002) / Vital (2004) / Haze (2005) / Kotoko (2011) / Killing (2018).

You can see an interesting arch in Tsukamoto's work in this box set, from the more experimental and hellish visuals of the Testo films to a more natural and modern world in Kotoko and Haze.

This set is definitely for cult film fanatics with a strong stomach as the graphic nature of some of these films may be unsettling. However, Arrow has done a fantastic job of presenting the work of this cult auteur in a comprehensive manner.

The films are all presented in 1080p on Blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC codec with varying aspect ratios in 1.85:1, 1.81:1, 1.78:1, 1.34:1, and 1.33:1.

As for as audio mixes they are mainly Japanese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono lossless sound or different for the following:

Original lossless PCM 1.0 Mono audio on Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and Tokyo Fist

Original lossless PCM 2.0 Stereo audio on Bullet Ballet and Haze

Original lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 on A Snake of June, Vital, Kotoko and Killing

Optional lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 on Bullet Ballet

Special Features are vast in this set and include:

Audio commentaries by Japanese cinema expert Tom Mes on all ten films, including brand new commentaries on Tetsuo, Tetsuo II, Tokyo Fist, A Snake of June, Kotoko, Killing, The Adventure of Denchu-kozo and Haze

Brand new career-spanning interview with Shinya Tsukamoto

An Assault on the Senses, a brand new visual essay on the films and style of Shinya Tsukamoto by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp

Multiple archival interviews with Shinya Tsukamoto, covering every film in the collection

Shooting A Snake of June, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette on the film's production

Archival The Making of Vital featurette

Archival behind-the-scenes featurette on Vital's world premiere at the Venice Film Festival

Archival featurette on Vital's special effects

The Making of Haze, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette on the film's production

Kaori Fuji at the Locarno Film Festival, an archival featurette focusing on Haze's lead actress

Archival Background to The Adventure of Denchu-Kozo featurette

Tokyo Fist, Bullet Ballet and Vital music clips

Multiple trailers and image galleries

Limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx, Gary Pullin, Ian MacEwan, Chris Malbon, Jacob Phillips, Tommy Pocket, Peter Strain and Tony Stella

Double-sided fold-out poster

and an illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger, Jasper Sharp and Mark Schilling.

Finally, Bruce Willis' career continues to fall into obscurity with another tired home invasion thriller with next to no relatable characters. Survive the Night (2020) centers around Willis' son in the film, a failed doctor and his family, who are held hostage by a gunman and his brother, who are both fresh from a killing spree and several robberies.

Willis plays a dry father in the role and doesn't really stand to action until about midway through when he finally snaps. Unfortunately there's a lot of screaming, bad dialogue, and bad acting that will likely put you to sleep before that point.

The film also stars Chad Michael Murray, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson, and Shea Buckner.

Survive The Night is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a MPEG-4 AVC codec and an original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.00:1 and paired with an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix. The film is shot like an action thriller with a nice color grade and a majority of the scenes shot at night. The presentation is fine for Blu-ray disc, with a digital copy also included.

Special Features:

"The Making of Survive the Night" Featurette

Director/Cast Interviews

and Trailers

- Nicholas Sheffo (Still) and James Lockhart



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com