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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 100:45 minutes Other Extras Production Notes
Cast & Crew Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Albert Pyun

Magna Pacific
Starring Charles Sheen
Michael Halsey
Ivana Milicevic
Stephen McCole
Gary Lewis
Case Magna/Carlton
RRP $29.95 Music Tony Reparetti

Pan & Scan/Full Frame ?Pan & Scan MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0 
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio ?
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No

Plot Synopsis

    Postmortem is a valiant attempt at a thriller that, with some considerable polishing to the script, could have made a decent movie. Instead, this movie failed to find a theatrical release, and has gone direct to video. This, in itself, is not necessarily an indication of the quality of the movie, since an awful number of turkeys make it onto the big screen - Soldier, The Avengers and Double Team spring to mind, though admittedly Double Team falls into the "so bad it's good" category. This movie does have its moments of decency, but it is frequently spoiled by illogical plot progression, unlikely scenarios, and often simply bad dialogue. It also takes quite some considerable time to actually get going, with approximately 10 minutes at the start wasted establishing the drunken nature of Charlie Sheen - far too much time in my opinion.

    Charlie Sheen (credited as Charles Sheen - he must be a big boy now) is James MacGregor, an ex-homicide cop whose life has gone to drink after the publication of his book outlining his search for a serial killer in the US. One day, he receives a fax - an obituary - and the next day the deceased is found in his back yard. James is immediately a suspect, but the faxes and bodies continue to arrive, and it is clear that he isn't the killer.

    The Glasgow police ask him to help with their investigation, and the inexorable chase to the killer begins...

    Something that intrigued me about this movie was the fact that not a single gunshot was fired. Indeed, not a single gun was seen, which makes a welcome change from more typical Hollywood fare.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is pretty ordinary.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. This appears to be a Pan & Scan transfer based on the inappropriately cramped framing of some of the scenes, including some very odd looking artificial pans, but since this movie did not have a theatrical release, I do not know the intended aspect ratio. The end credits are squeezed horizontally, which to me implies that the intended ratio was probably 2.35:1 rather than 1.85:1.

    The transfer was variably sharp. The last 15 minutes were excellent, but the majority of the movie suffered from a considerable lack of clarity. The image was very soft indeed, and lacked definition. Indeed, it looked out of focus for the majority of the movie. Shadow detail was very poor, with some shots simply in almost total blackness. Surprisingly, there was minimal low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours were passably rendered. Generally, they were a little on the muted side, however.

    MPEG artefacts were occasionally noticeable, but were never prominent. Movement artefact was very distracting with this transfer, probably exaggerated by the blow-up from the intended aspect ratio. Film-to-video artefacts were not of great concern, with only some trivial aliasing here and there to complain about - there was insufficient sharpness in the image for there to be much in the way of aliasing! There were occasional artefacts present from the video element used to encode the movie (Digital Betacam), consisting of the typical "tearing" of a small part of the image at times. Film artefacts were rare, except for the odd burst here and there.


    There is only a single audio track on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded.

    The overall level of the soundtrack was quite low, but I made no adjustment to my levels.

    Dialogue was acceptable without being great. It tended to be a little soft at times, compared with the music, making some of it a little hard to make out. The Scottish accents didn't help in this regard, either.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The music was unremarkable.

    The surround channel had limited usage for music and for the very occasional special effect which seemed to find its way into the rear, either accidentally or by design.

    The .1 channel received a small amount of signal at times from my processor, but was otherwise silent.


    Only limited extras are on this disc.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    The Region 1 version of this disc is the same as the Region 4 version of this disc.


    The main menu is plain and functional, though with only four scene selections per page, it takes some time to look through the chapter list.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are of reasonable length.

Production Notes

    These are lengthy and worth reading.


    Postmortem is not great, but neither is it terrible either. Worth at least a rental.

    The video quality is very poor at times, and passable at other times, due in no small part to the Pan & Scan nature of the transfer and to the inferior source material.

    The audio quality is just acceptable.

    The extras present are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
19th July 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer