Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Small Town Folk / Vanguard / Zombie Diaries (2006 - 2009)

Movie: 3.5/5
Video: 1/5
Audio: 5/5
Extra: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

"Standard Definition British Horror Invades France."

Small Town Folk: 3/5

A couple out on the English country side are lost and stop and ask a man and his companion (Warwick Davis, Leprechaun) for directions. They are told to stay away from a place called "Grockleton". The couple don't heed the warning and go to the quiet, empty residence. Once there, they discover that sinister beings run the place and slavery and murder are a way of life.

I'm guessing that the budget is close to nothing, or all of it went to Warwick Davis for his two minutes of screen time. The biggest problem which all will catch is that it will switch from filming on location to green screen. And the green screen work is pretty bad. The acting on the main couple was ok, I've seen better. I think Chris R. Wright as the main villain was probably the best out of all the actors. The story was not that bad either, but the green screen work will stand out. 3/5.

Vanguard: 4.5/5

Max is a deaf man who lives in the forest in a post-apocalyptic 2015. Max struggles to survive on a day to day basis in the forest with zombie-like creatures called Biosyns. Jamaal is a hunter who is searching for Max and quickly finds him when Max is attacked by a Biosyn. Max and Jamaal form an alliance and try to make their way through the forest. The duo find two other survivors and soon they all realize that the Biosyns may not be the only killers in the forest.

I really enjoyed the film. The silence in the atmosphere as we follow Max is a very nice touch to the zombie genre. The color spectrum that the film has is also a very nice touch as well. Almost like how the film Hobo with a Shotgun played with different hues. The acting was very good too. I can recommend Vanguard as a must for zombie fans. 4.5/5.

Zombie Diaries: 3.5/5

The Zombie Diaries is an eighty minute horror films from the perspective of three different groups of people during various points of the zombie outbreak. In the first portion, we have a group of journalists who are going out to the English countryside to interview a farmer. While waiting on his property, the farmer is nowhere to be found and the first zombie is found inside his house. We cut to the second story which deals with a couple looking for supplies to survive. The third group is holed up in a house who try to survive day by day.

For a horror film that is not as long, it wasn't that bad. I think it would have worked better if it was eighty minutes of just one group instead of three and kept a decent span of time throughout. The acting was very good and believable. The visual effects were good on the zombies too. I give The Zombie Diaries 3.5/5.


Small Town Folk: .5/5

At the end of the film, the film states that it was filmed on Canon XL1S and Canon XL2 cameras. I worked with XL2 cameras in my film classes in Germany and they're all SD cameras. Obviously, it means that this film is upscaled. But, I think this was shot in 4:3 or 640x480 and then cropped from 4:3 to 16:9, which is 640x360. Despite the fact that this film will never look good, it's visual presentation is better than say The Zombie Chronicles. .5/5

Vanguard: 1.5/5

I don't know if this was mastered in SD or if Emylia messed up on the transfer for this film. You can tell that portions of this film were shot on celluloid and then some was shot on digital. Whenever you do see scenes that were shot on film, you can see the print damage. However, there's scenes where you can see text on the screen and it's horrible looking! I give the visual presentation for Vanguard a 1.5/5.

Zombie Diaries: 1/5

Emylia has given Zombie Diaries a 1.78:1 presentation. In the making of documentary of the film, it shows the director with an old school 4:3 television behind him with the film playing. It seems as if this film was shot in 4:3 and cropped to 16:9 for the mastering process. The presentation looks better than Small Town Folk, but not as good as Vanguard. And there is a lot of post-production tinkering with the video to simulate damage to video source. 1/5.

Audio: 5/5

Emylia has given all of the films a DTS-HD HR 5.1 track for the English audio and French dubbing in DTS-HD MA 5.1. I think all of the audio sounds good for these films. No real complaints all around. Too bad none of these films were shot in HD to match the nice audio. 5/5.

Extra: 2.5/5

Small Town Folk and Vanguard do not contain any special features as they are on one disc. Disc two which contains The Zombie Diaries and has a collection of deleted scenes and an almost hour long documentary called When the Lights Go Out. The documentary had a decent amount of input from everyone who worked on it. Does it have much of a re-watch value to it after the first time? No. The deleted scenes do not have enjoyment to them either. You can see why they are cut. I give the bonus material 2.5/5.

Overall: 3/5

I managed to trade a sealed Canadian Alliance Blu-ray of Dracula 2000 from a nice person off the Blu-ray website. Considering it was about $10, it's worth it. I don't believe Amazon France is selling this anymore and you'll have to pick up the individual Blu-rays. It's region free, however, 1080/50i will stop you from getting past the Emylia studio screen. 3/5.

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