Viking Berserkers (Blu-ray) (2014)
|Category||Action||Trailer-Other Eagle releases x 3|
|Year Of Production||2014|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Antony Smith|
Amber Jean Rowan
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Saxon Britain, 835 AD. Raiding Vikings attack a farm and capture Wade (Sol Heras) and his much younger brother Atelic (Alex Clarke) after killing their father. They are taken to a Viking encampment on a hill and thrown into a cage with other Saxon captives. Five captives, Wade, monk Ingwald (Freddie Hutchins), Greeg (Harry Felton) and his sister Leah (Lily Stanton) and feisty blonde Aldan (Amber Jean Rowan) are selected to participate in a bizarre ritual and brought before the Priestess (Kezia Burrows). The five are released into the woods; the Priestess gives Viking warriors a drug which makes them berserk and sends them after the captives to track them down and, while the victim is still living, cut out their heart and bring it back to the Priestess. Can Wade turn the tables on the pursuers and return to the camp to save his brother?
Viking Berserkers (called in the IMDb and the film’s title card Viking: The Berserkers) is the first feature film of writer / director Antony Smith, although he has a number of credits as a producer including A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day so there is a bit of a theme here. Viking Berserkers is a very low budget film. The Blu-ray cover promises “an all-action, gore-soaked Viking Hunger Games” but the script is predictable and could have been written on a postage stamp while the action is clumsy. Sure, there is a lot of blood and grime smeared on faces but the action is shot up close with a very wavy camera so while the sound effects do sound brutal very little is shown on screen. For example, the cutting out of the hearts is not shown, only the bloody heart being held up by the Berserker afterwards. The Vikings are also rather unusual, mostly being hulking, shaven headed brutes with make-up from a KISS concert on their faces so they look more like orcs from The Lord of the Rings than any Vikings I have ever seen, although for all I know this could actually be more authentic than other portrayals on screen and in books.
Viking Berserkers is what the film’s title promises, and what you get! Good to see truth in advertising!
Viking Berserkers is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code. I am pleased to see that this distributor seems to have stopped presenting films in a cropped ratio.
Viking Berserker is not a Blu-ray to show off your system. The print has been manipulated to take out a lot of colour resulting in a dull looking film with a silvery tinge, which could suit a British winter but it is not done consistently meaning that sometimes a scene looks overbright, with very light skin tones and contrasts, other times quite dark. Close up detail of the blood and grime on faces is good, but with the constantly swaying camera backgrounds can look unclear and shadow detail indistinct. Blacks are solid.
There is a motion blur with movement through the trees but marks and artefacts are absent.
There are no subtitles.
Audio is an English DTS-HD MA 5.1.
The audio is fine. There was not a lot of dialogue in the film; some of it was unclear although I doubt anything vital was missed but the Viking grunts came though nicely. There was a lot of atmospherics in the surrounds, including thunder, rain and wind effects, plus music while the thuds of hand to hand combat sounded deep and brutal. The subwoofer added bass to the thunder, the combats, the music and added rumble during chase scenes.
The score by Andrew Jones was effective in both the action scenes and quieter interludes, supporting the visuals well.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
Trailers for A Good Marriage (1:51), Survivor (1:36) and Goodbye World (1:49) play on start-up. These trailers cannot be selected from the menu.
There are no other extras.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is not currently a Blu-ray Region A US listed of Viking Berserkers. Region B has UK and Danish releases, and a Danish 3D version; except for the film’s trailer there are no extras listed.
Viking Berserkers is nothing new, the fights are clumsy, the acting negligible, it throws in a contrived love interest and the ending is predictable. Hey, but if you like the idea of people running around in the woods while high on an elicit substance, covered in white makeup and blood while killing each other in various ways, this is diverting enough.
The video is distracting due to the queasy hand held camera but the audio is fine. No relevant extras, only a few trailers for other films.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 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 Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|