Road Games (2015) (NTSC)

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Released 20-Apr-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 94:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Abner Pastoll
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Andrew Simpson
Josephine de La Baume
Frederic Pierrot
Barbara Crampton
Feodor Atkine



Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Daniel Elms


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, extra scene after the end credits

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

Plot Synopsis

     Jack (Andrew Simpson) has lost everything except his passport and is hitching across rural France trying to get back to England. Rides are scarce, however, as it seems that a serial killer is stalking this part of the French countryside. He meets Veronique (Josephine de La Baume) when she has a fight with a young man who drives off, leaving her, and Jack and Veronique decide to travel together for safety. Cars still will not stop for the pair until they are picked up by Grizard (Frederic Pierrot). As it is getting late he invites them to spend the night at his extensive house. Veronique is very reluctant but Jack is keen for a shower and some food so they agree, arriving to meet Grizard’s wife Mary (Barbara Crampton) who seems distracted by their arrival. After a rather tense dinner, Jack and Veronique sleep together but in the morning Veronique is missing and Grizard tells Jack that she has left. Jack cannot believe it and things quickly turn nasty.

     Road Games, by British writer / director / editor Abner Pastoll is not a slasher film as much as a slowly developing mystery / thriller / horror film. There are no credits at the start, not even a title card, as an unseen person dismembers and buries a body in the woods. The film then introduces Jack and the glorious rural countryside of yellow fields, verdant green trees and brilliant blue skies. This landscape is not dark and spooky but bright and luscious, a nice touch in a horror film although the film does struggle to impart much of a sense of menace. With glances and half sentences Frederic Pierrot and Barbara Crampton (no stranger to horror films with credits from Re-Animator (1985) to The Lords of Salem (2012) to We Are Still Here (2015) provide what they can but with a principal cast of only four people, with the addition of Feodor Atkine in a very strange role as Delacriox, it is difficult for the film to sow too many red herrings and the twist, when it comes, is really no surprise.

     Road Games does have a number of plusses. Josephine de La Baume looks good and her scenes with Andrew Simpson are suitably romantic while the photography of the countryside by cinematographer Eben Bolter, as noted, is luscious. The film also takes its time to establish the locations and the characters, which is not a bad thing. On the other hand Road Games is nothing original and it provides regular clues to the real situation, perhaps in this case rather too many, so one is pretty much prepared for the revelation when it arrives. Still, the film is entertaining enough and it does look great.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Road Games is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in NTSC and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a great looking print. Detail is firm and the colours glossy, rich and luscious; yellow fields, green trees and blue skies. The house, or rather mansion, set, interior and exterior, also looks great, skin tones are natural, blacks and shadow detail very good. There was some glare when the light source was behind the actor, such as through windows, and occasional motion blur against mottled surfaces such as trees but I noticed no other marks or artefacts.

    English subtitles can be selected which translate the substantial sections of French dialogue. They can be turned off for French speakers.

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

Audio

     The audio is English / French Dolby Digital 2.0 at a low 192 Kbps.

     The audio is mono so there is no surround or rear activity. Dialogue, which constantly switches from French to English and back again, often in the same sentence, is clear while the effects, such as engines or a body being dragged from a car boot, were quite sharp. The score by Daniel Elms was varied, using in places electronic, orchestral or a single piano, although it did signal what was going to happen a bit. My subwoofer did provide some boom to the thunder and music.

     Lip synchronisation seemed fine.

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

Extras

Trailer (1:42)

     The film’s trailer.

R4 vs R1

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

     Our Region All DVD of Road Games seems to be the only one around as it is not due to be released in the US until July and there is no UK release listed as yet on Amazon.com.

Summary

     After showing us that something evil is about in the opening sequence, Road Games spends the best part of an hour developing a sense of unease rather than menace before suddenly turning to the action. Fans of the genre will find little that is new and will not be surprised by the twist but with luscious cinematography and decent performances Road Games is diverting enough and well worth a look.

     The video is beautiful and audio fine, although mono. The film’s trailers are the only extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, May 11, 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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