Wake Up and Die (Volver a morir) (2011)

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Released 17-Jan-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Trailer-over 30 trailers
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 80:39 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Miguel Urrutia
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Andrea Montenegro
Luis Fernando Bohórquez
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Alejandro Jaramillo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Camilla (Andrea Montenegro) wakes up in bed naked with a naked man who introduces himself as Dario (Luis Fernando Bohorquez). She has no memory of how she got there and is shy and embarrassed, but soon they make love after which Dario chokes her to death. Fast rewind. Again Camilla wakes up naked in bed with Dario, but with a memory that he will kill her. She tries to avoid it, but fails and is killed again. And then again she wakes up, and is murdered. Each time Camilla acquires a little more knowledge of Dario’s methods and she explores more of his apartment, but as she tries different things to avoid her fate each slightly different scenario turns out just as deadly. To survive Camilla needs to work out how to take control of the situation so that she runs the agenda, not Dario. Nightmarish games ensue.

     Wake Up and Die (original title Volver a morir) is a Spanish language film from Columbia written, directed and edited by Miguel Urrutia. It is a surreal take on the premise of Groundhog Day with sex, nudity, violence, horror elements and enough twists and camera tricks to make your head spin. The film is exclusively two people in a couple of rooms and to keep it interesting Urrutia uses numerous camera tricks and sound design to take us into this world, while at the same time disorienting and distancing us from the events.

     To this end, the film includes fast rewinds, close-ups with a moving camera, and varying focus, brightness, contrast and colour palate. The montage behind the opening credits is very grainy and some other scenes are also very grainy, such as the sequence around the 40 minute mark which also looks almost black and white. Other sequences are bright and natural. The look of the film has thus been manipulated, and I would need to watch it a couple of more times to be able to decide the significance of each look; are the grainy ones the real events, or a nightmare, for example. The sound design is subtle, the score often being utilised as sound rather than as music, while directional effects, such as footsteps, bird sounds or dripping taps provide an effective and intense atmosphere.

     Wake Up and Die is not totally successful, and although short at 80:19 minutes this is still two people in a room and the middle section can drag until the later horror elements kick in. However, the film takes no time to get started (Camilla is killed three times in the first 11 minutes) and at least the film does not seek to over-explain, or signal its shocks too obviously. There are certainly clues, such as the repeated motif of the framed picture of a woman and a special musical cue, and the end can be read a number of ways. The two actors are also very impressive and look good naked (which is the majority of the film).

     Wake Up and Die is sexy and violent, with horror elements and with an intriguing premise. The actors are good and the film is made well enough to keep it interesting. Something different and well worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Wake Up and Die is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I expect that the original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1.

     As noted in the review Wake Up and Die uses fast rewinds, close-ups with a moving camera, plus varying focus, brightness, contrast and colour palate. Some scenes are very grainy, others look natural. Detail in close-ups is good although due to the way the film was shot other sequences can be quite soft. The colour palate is quite dark, with a browny look which does affect the skin tones, and some sequences are almost black and white. Blacks are OK, shadow detail sometimes a bit indistinct.

     Other than the grain mentioned above, the print was clean and without artefacts.

     The burnt in white English subtitles are easy to read and do not contain any obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

     This is a good print which I suspect looks as the filmmaker intended.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 384 Kbps.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand. This is not a big action film but sound design is very effective. The score, by Alejandro Jaramillo, is often utilised as sound design rather than as music, while effects in the rear speakers, such as footsteps, birds or dripping taps provide an effective atmosphere. The subwoofer adds bass to the effects and music.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The audio track was subtle and very good.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

     On start-up there were trailers for Meat, Devil Seed, Q, Bell Flower and All Alone that collectively run 9:29 minutes. A total of 30 trailers of Accent Film Entertainment releases can be selected from the menu - some, but not all, of the start-up trailers are repeated and we do get a trailer for Wake Up and Die included. There is a “play all” option.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The only other version I can find of Wake Up and Die currently available is a Region 2 Dutch release, advertised as the “uncensored version”. The listed running time is 95 minutes, the audio listed as English and with Dutch subtitles. The running time suggests additional footage, but I cannot find any reviews or other details. There is not enough information to be able to make a recommendation.

Summary

     Wake Up and Die is sexy and violent, with an intriguing premise. It is well enough made and acted to keep it interesting and at least the film does not over-explain, or signal its shocks too obviously. Something different.

     The video is as the filmmaker intended, the audio very good. A mass of trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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