Pod (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 9-Dec-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 78:37 (Case: 76)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mickey Keating
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Dean Cates
Lauren Ashley Cooper
Brian Morvant
Larry Fessenden



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Giona Ostinelli


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† Brother and sister Ed and Lyla (Dean Cates, Lauren Ashley Cooper) drive to an isolated cabin in the woods of Maine to try to help their brother Martin (Brian Morvant), a paranoid war veteran who has isolated himself from the world. Ed is the eldest in the family, a professional and controlling person who disproves of Lylaís wilder lifestyle although he thinks that Lyla has a better chance of getting through to Martin. When they arrive at the cabin they find that Martin is raving and quite dangerous; he has a loaded gun and has blocked off all the windows and is very delusional and disturbed, believing that while he was in the army he was experimented upon and had a tracking devise inserted in his tooth. Martin also insists that the government has been attempting to create some type of super-killer entity and, as proof, he has one such Pod trapped in the cabinís basement. Ed is sceptical and does not believe a word of what Martin is saying because Martin had had delusions before and been institutionalised. Lyla is more inclined to ask ď but what ifĒ but is dominated by Ed. Until matters take a deadly turn.

†††† Pod is a low budget horror film by writer / director Mickey Keating. The film feels a bit like an episode of The Twilight Zone or The X-Files; it is short, at just over 78 minutes, there is very little set up, character development or explanation and the ending does not resolve or explain anything. I can understand that this open ending, and the fate of the characters, may turn some people off, but the film is worth watching because it is tense and chilling, contains more than a few surprises, the exterior shots of snow clad Maine are beautiful courtesy of cinematographer Mac Fisken and the acting is strong. Indeed all the small cast are good. Brian Morvant is just on the right side of crazy to be believable while Dean Cates is perfectly sure of himself and annoying as the elder brother who is in control and in charge, whatever his siblings may think. I had enjoyed Lauren Ashley Cooperís performance when I reviewed Jug Face (2013) on this site, a film in which Larry Fessenden, who has a small role in Pod, was also in the cast; Cooper is less effective in Pod which is due more to the writing of her role than the performance, although some of the brother / sister early scenes with Cates are nicely nuanced.

†††† Pod is quite bloody in places, none of which are gratuitous. Keatingís scripting is tight and there are surprises leading up to the conclusion, although as a director Keating is more ready to rely on many of the staples of horror / suspense films, such as a cut away to a black screen, jump cuts and sudden, quick pans accompanied by loud noise or music. Indeed, the score by Giona Ostinelli was somewhat intrusive and obvious in signalling scares. The creature also remains off screen until almost the end, which is perhaps just as well given that it is of the man in a suit variety and not all that scary, but this absence does allow the filmís chilly atmosphere and tension to build nicely.

†††† With strong acting from the tiny cast, beautiful scenery and a tight script, Pod neatly and with nice tension explores one conspiracy theory to good effect; just because you are paranoid, it doesnít mean they arenít out to get you.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Pod is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† Pod has a winter setting, with grey skies, a grey lake, silver / green trees and snow falling and the filmmakers have chosen to take much of the colour out of the film leaving an over-bright look which effects colours, which are very subdued, and skin tones. This also results in darkened interiors with detail that is indistinct although blacks in the basement scene are good.

†††† There was occasionally slight motion blur but otherwise I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

†††† No subtitles are provided.

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

Audio

†††† English DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the only audio option.

†††† I have no reservations about the audio which delivers the sound design a horror film requires. Dialogue was clear, centred and easy to hear, effects such as shots sharp. The surrounds and rears were often silent to increase tension which is then enhanced by sudden loud atonal sounds, music or the more chilling sounds of bushes rustling, a dog barking or a thump. The score by Giona Ostinelli was obvious at times, but was well represented in the mix. The sub-woofer added depth to ominous rumbles, scares and the music.

†††† There are no lip synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

†††† There are no extras. The menu offers only Play and Chapters.

R4 vs R1

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

†††† Amazon lists a Region 1 DVD of Pod but no Blu-ray seems to have been released in any other region at present.

Summary

†††† Pod has a short running time, not wasting time on background or indeed exposition, the acting is strong, the winter Maine scenery looks beautiful and the last reel heads off in unexpected ways. This makes Pod certainly worth watching for those interested in the genre.

†††† The video is over bright, the audio is excellent. No extras, not even a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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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