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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Monster > Australia > War > Japan > Supernatural > German > Comedy > Virus > Beast (2022/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Black Water (2008/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Hansan: Rising Dragon (2022/Well Go Blu-ray)/Premutos: The Fallen Angel (1997/Unearthed)/Satan's Little Help

Beast (2022/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Black Water (2008/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Hansan: Rising Dragon (2022/Well Go Blu-ray)/Premutos: The Fallen Angel (1997/Unearthed)/Satan's Little Helper (2004/Synapse/both MVD Blu-ray)/The Spore (2004/Lionsgate DVD)

Picture: B+ & C+/B-/B+/B+/C+/B- Sound: B+ & C+/B-/C+/B+/B-/B- Extras: B/C+/B/C+/B/C+ Films: B/B/B/C/C-/C

PLEASE NOTE: The Black Water Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can play on all 4K & Blu-ray players and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for more horror thrillers and one that sounds like it, but is not...

Idris Elba stars in Beast (2022), which is an Africa set film where a man and his two daughters go to Africa in this beautifully shot and produced thriller from Universal. Having lost their mother to cancer, going to Africa where she lived at a time, makes this trip particularly important to the two teenaged girls and their father Elba (who was in the midst of a divorce with their mother before she died), who tries to make the best of a tricky situation. Once there, they end up encountering Lions on several occasions, but eventually end up prisoner to a particular beastly one: putting their lives at great risk.

The film also stars Sharlto Copley, Iyana Halley, Leah Jeffries, and Mel Jarnson.

Beast is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix. Also includes is a lesser quality, anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD that leaves much to be desired, but is fine and of a high standard for the aged format. The soundtrack is fantastic and really helps make the film look epic. The cinematography and editing is also top notch in this production. The only weak link is the look of some of the digital lions, which appear a bit fake looking at times, but what are you going to do. It's not the 1970s where films like Day of the Animals (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) took risks by actually filming with real animals in potentially dangerous scenarios!

Special Features (pet the press release):

DELETED SCENE: Watch an exclusive unreleased scene from Beast

MAN VS. LION: THE FINAL BATTLE: Go inside the epic final battle between Nate and the beast himself as Director Baltasar Kormakur, star Idris Elba, and key members of the VFX team walk us through putting it all together.

CREATING THE BEAST: The vicious title character of Beast is no ordinary lion. He's bigger, he's meaner, and he's got an axe to grind against humanity. Sit down with director Baltasar Kormákur as he explains what he envisioned for The Beast.

MAKING IT REAL: THE WOUNDS: Sit down with prosthetics supervisor Clinton Smith and prosthetic assistant Daleen Badenhorst as they walk us through all the gory details of creating realistic looking slices, gashes, and tears caused by a massive, predatory lion.

FILMING IN THE BEAST'S TERRITORY: Visit Limpopo South Africa where the cast and crew of BEAST travelled to capture all the vistas, planes, and mountains of Africa authentically on film.

FAMILY BOND: THE CAST OF THE BEAST: Meet the family at the heart of this story as director Baltasar Kormakur and cast members Idris Elba, Iyana Halley, and Leah Jeffries take us inside their characters' journeys as they come together and heal in the direst of circumstances.

and A LION'S PRIDE: Learn the tragic truth of lion poaching with this factual piece that takes viewers inside the fight to protect the big game of Africa.

Beast is a good film and has some smart filmmaking despite a few cheesy digital lions.

Black Water (2007) is an effective Australian killer crocodile thriller based on true events and that takes place with minimal characters in one primary location. The film follows a man, his girlfriend, and her sister who leave home to go on a cross country trip. When they go out on a boat to check out a reserve, they end up attacked by a huge croc that has a taste for human flesh. The first act of the film has some pretty strong character development before the croc comes out to play, and the film doesn't take itself too seriously and actually crafts a story that isn't completely predictable.

The film stars Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermody, Andy Rodoreda, Ben Oxenbould, and Fiona Press.

It is presented in 1.78 X 1, 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a fair bit of grain in the image that is apparently when viewing on a 4K resolution TV, that can be a bit distracting at times, and a few shots that look a bit soft, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is not bad. Otherwise, the presentation is up to standards.

Special Features include:

Audio Commentary with filmmakers Andrew Traucki & David Nerlich

The Making of BLACK WATER

Deleted Scenes / Theatrical Trailer

Black Water is a fun watch and quite well made.

Before The Admiral: Roaring Currents, Hansan: Rising Dragon (2022) is about the Battle of Hansando. The year is 1592, Admiral Yi faces off against the Japanese armada. Outnumbered, out gunned and already fighting a losing war, Admiral Yi is tasked in stopping the Japanese Navy. The Japanese only fear is Admiral Yi's 'Geobukseon' the Dragon headed ship a heavy armored battleship built for ramming.

Admiral Yi is asked to the impossible, to stop the Japanese Navy, if they fail Japan will not only takeover Korea but invade China as well. Both Admirals have spies in each other's camps, finding weakness, secrets, enemy tactics and tracking their movements. The Korean's one advantage is their 'turtle ship', heavily armored ships with a dragonhead battering ram at the bow, however they are slow. Yi must come up with new tactics, the crane formation but it requires them to bait out the Japanese ships to attack. In the end, it begins a new era of battling on the high seas and having a 'fortress on the sea.'

This was an early historical fiction of early naval battles. It plays out more like it's an Admiral's job is to predict and counter attack the enemy forces. The difference between good and evil is do you fight for your country or do you fight to protect it's people?

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a pretty vivid and impressive HD shoot and presentation, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is a little off and uneven at times and I was a little disappointed. Extras include character highlights, secrets of makeup, staff commentary and trailers.

Olaf Ittenbach's Premutos: The Fallen Angel (1997) gets a deluxe release on disc from Unearthed films that also includes the CD soundtrack. The wild gore soaked German horror film isn't for the church going crowd, and instead is a nightmarish decent to Hell and back.

Premutos is the first of the fallen Angels, even before Lucifer. His goal is to rule the realms of the living and the dead. According to ancient scripture, his son should pave the way for him to return. A young man begins to suffer from visionary flashbacks of the past lives he lived. On his father's birthday, a case containing an old book is found in their garden, which was hidden by a Warlock in 1943. When the young man touches with the book, he mutates into a monster and soon awakens an army of zombies, ready to bring back the fallen Angel Premutos!

Premutos: The Fallen Angel is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and German LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit) with English subtitles. There is the original dubbed English version on the disc as well as the German language mix based on your personal preference.

Special Features:

Making of Featurettes

Olaf Ittenbach - The Early Years

Photo Gallery


and a Soundtrack CD.

Satan's Little Helper (2004) is a horror comedy or sorts with a confused identity. It feels like a young adult horror movie in some respects (a little harder than Goosebumps and more in like with a Creepshow one-off), and then it goes into scenes with pretty graphic violence (with some iffy effects at times), and then sort of tries to be a comedy too. This mix didn't really work.

The film is about a kid whose obsessed with a video game called Satan's Little Helper to an annoying degree and he's even dressed up like Satan for Halloween. After his older sister (whose he's in love with) comes home from college with a boyfriend to spend time with the boy and his kooky Mother (played by Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction)). The little boy runs off and comes across a real life serial killer wearing a devil-type mask and costume. The little boy thinks it's all a game and joins up with this serial killer on actual murder sprees. From here, the movie just gets sillier and sillier and the realism goes out the window. Parts of the film are kind of cute whilst others are groan inducing.

The film stars Alexander Brickel, Katheryn Winnick, Stephen Graham, Amanda Plummer, & Wass Stevens and is written and directed by Jeff Lieberman (Squirm, Blue Sunshine).

Satan's Little Helper is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo mix. Other all, the transfer isn't the sharpest and some shots have obviously been zoomed in during post and appear compressed. Seeing at this was made in the awkward year when digital filmmaking was still in growing pains and this was made independently, it's passable. The shots of the video game, which the film cuts to in full screen several times, is laughable and horrible dated. They would've done better to give the game a 8-bit original Nintendo look than the half assed animation they went with.

Special Features:

Fully uncut presentation of the film

Audio Commentary from Director Jeff Lieberman

Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

The Devil in the Details: Making Satan's Little Helper

Mr. Satan's Neighborhood: A Tour of the Filming Locations with Director Jeff Lieberman

and a Promotional Trailer.

Satan's Little Helper needed a kid that's more lovable and relatable than this little brat as its central character. The concept would've likely been better suited as a short film or something in an anthology akin to Creepshow than being a full feature.

The Spore (2021) is an interesting virus based horror thriller that tips the hat at classic Romero films like Romero's The Crazies, but seems to be missing something at its core. The film starts out with a contaminated area that's been overrun by a sort of mutating fungus and a lone man in a bio-hazard suit comes in contact with a contaminated zombie in a tent. From there, the film intersects off into various stories that revolve around this contamination. The concept is pretty strong and for the budget the film has some decent effects, but the characters aren't too intriguing and some aspects feel a bit amateur despite a shiny exterior.

The film stars Jeannie Jefferies, Haley Heslip, and Peter Tell and is directed by Matt Cunningham.

The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD disc with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. The transfer leaves much to be desired when watching on a high resolution TV, but is fine for the format. The overpowering electronic soundtrack of the movie helps create an unnerving atmosphere.

Special Features:

Filmmakers Commentary

Making of Featurette

Random Acts of Filmmaking Featurette

and a Trailer.

The Spore isn't a terrible low budget horror film and has a decent enough concept, but maybe needed some more likable and engaging characters set against its virus ridden backdrop.

To order the Black Water Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link:


- Ricky Chiang (Hansan) and James Lockhart



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