Aftermath (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 20-May-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Suddenly and Morning Star
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 91:53 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Engert
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring CJ Thomason
Monica Keena
Jessie Rusu
Edward Furlong
Ross Britz
Christine Kelly


Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Austin Wintory


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

"It’s not the end of the World . . . It’s Worse"

     Young medical doctor Hunter (CJ Thomason) is hitch-hiking in rural Texas when the nuclear bombs start exploding on the horizon. Nearby in a car is Jennifer (Jessie Rusu) and her preteen brother Satchel (Kennon Kepper); Hunter realises that they will need to get underground quickly because of the radiation and fallout and they search for a place, on the way picking up Elizabeth (Monica Keena) whose car has been disabled. They arrive at an isolated farm house where they encounter Jonathan (Ross Britz), his grand uncle Wendell (Tody Bernard), his neighbour Brad (Edward Furlong) and Brad’s pregnant wife Angie (Christine Kelly). After initial hostilities, the group take food, water, medical supplies, batteries, a radio and guns down into the cellar of the farmhouse to wait until the radiation decreases. Five days later they are joined by Jonathan’s friend Rob (Andre Royo) who tells them that the outside world has gone mad, and the survivors with guns preying are on the others amid looting, rape and murder. And indeed, predators are gathering around the house waiting to break in to take the precious supplies stockpiled within the cellar. Can any of those in the cellar overcome the tensions within the group, the creeping radiation sickness and the enemy outside long enough to survive?

     Films and stories about the results of a nuclear holocaust are plentiful; many have a climax that offers some hope for the survival of humanity but not Aftermath, which paints a bleak picture of humankind. Right from the first frames, which reveal a single person shuffling through a landscape full of derelict cars and houses and human corpses, it is clear that this film is unlikely to have a happy ending! Aftermath then goes back one month to Hunter on the road but wastes no time on exposition (other than a few garbled and crackly news items on the radio about escalation tensions around the globe) as the nuclear weapons explode. From there the film remains sparse, claustrophobic and tense; the tension enhanced by a text screen showing “10 hours after first exposure” or “5 days later”, the increasingly obvious radiation sores on the faces of the characters as time passes, half seen figures moving outside in the darkness and the occasional use of a POV looking back to the characters through bushes or trees. Something is out there, the radiation and the predators being equally deadly to their chances of survival.

     Aftermath could have been clichéd, corny or histrionic; after all, as well as radiation sickness and things outside going bump in the night we have a pregnant woman, an elderly man with diabetes and a young boy, blinded and with pneumonia, but director Peter Engert, in only his third feature in 6 years, keeps things tight, low key and believable. Nearly the entire film takes place in the claustrophobic confines of the cellar or in darkness and each character is individually and economically drawn. Initially the Edward Furlong character with his aggression feels a false note but this passes; the rest of the cast provide natural and believable acting and the film does not divert anywhere to “speechifying” or romantic attachments: in fact this is one of the least romantic films I have watched in a long time!

     Aftermath offers very little praise or hope for the human race: outside of small pockets of people banding together to help each other the world is full of brutality and dog eat dog, from the governments who launched nuclear weapons to individuals with guns. The outlook for humanity in Aftermath is bleak, which is a depressing thought, but although the film is down beat it is not a depressing watch due to the tight script, natural acting, believable actions and the tense and claustrophobic atmosphere.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Aftermath is presented in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Filmed using Red Cameras, the detail in the print is impressive, with the dirt, blood, grime and radiation sores on faces clear. Most of the film is shot in the dark or inside the cellar, so it is just as well that blacks are rock solid and shadow detail impressive. The colours have been manipulated: in the exterior scenes which start and end the film colours have been washed out giving an overbright, teal tinted, look. The rest of the film is in monochrome greys with no bright colours, not even the blood. Skin tones look glossy, but fine, contrast and brightness is consistent.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     The audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.

     Dialogue was mostly clear and understandable although on occasion it was whispered so became difficult to hear. The start of the film featured warplanes overhead and the rumble of nuclear explosions rendered appropriately in the surrounds. During the scenes in the cellar there was little use of the surrounds except for music and occasional footsteps overhead. The later action, including gunshots, was deep and resonated. The subwoofer supported the early planes and explosions and later added some unsettling bass to increase the tension.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

    The score by Austin Wintory was simple, low key and melancholy, suiting the film.

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

Extras

Start-Up Trailers

     Trailers for Suddenly (1:21) and Morning Star (2:20) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

    There are no other extras.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region A US Blu-ray of Aftermath is the same technically as ours although it does add English subtitles for the hearing impaired. Other than trailers for other films it also has no extra features. Buy local unless the subtitles are important.

Summary

     Aftermath presents a bleak future for humankind. With millions dead, and radiation covering the planet, governments only say that we are striking back and winning while individuals revert to force to get what they want. What price civilization? Despite the bleak scenario Aftermath is a tense, well-acted and claustrophobic film that is well worth watching.

     The video and audio are very good, extras are only trailers for other films, although nothing extra is available in other regions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 22, 2015
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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