Warnings (Silent Warnings) (2002)
Gallery-Design Sketches,Turntable,Running Cycle,Disintegration,Shock
Listing-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Christian McIntire|
Universal Pictures Home Video
A J Buckley
Callie De Fabry
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
OK, no messing about. I'll just cut to the chase. Warnings is awful - just plain awful. Long before the film is finished you will be eagerly looking at your watch and praying for the pain to stop. This film fails to make it into the "so bad it's good" drawer, and settles comfortably amongst the "so bad all copies should be destroyed" flotsam of modern filmmaking.
Ostensibly a sci-fi horror flick, the movie opens with the over-utilised Stephen Baldwin hamming it up as scar-faced (presumably) ex-army vet Joe Vossimer, feverishly running about his Oregon farmhouse, talking to straw-filled soldier dummies and chasing what might be an alien he has locked in the attic. Fortunately, after about six minutes he is killed in a fiery pick-up truck explosion. Unfortunately, the film doesn't suffer the same fiery fate and continues on with another seventy-seven minutes of the most unadulterated hokum I have had the misfortune to watch in a long, long time.
Layne (A.J. Buckley) soon arrives on the scene, as the cousin of Joe, accompanied by a bunch of one-dimensional, stereotyped college friends: a jock, a blonde bimbo, a token black guy...you know the score. The intention is to fix up the farmhouse and sell it. All is not well however, with crop circles in the fields, an electric fence around the house and a pile of iron filings in the attic....perhaps these are Warnings? It becomes apparent that there are aliens about - and the first suspected alien sighting is deemed "too low to be a plane" - it is in fact(SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) glaringly, self-evidently a 4WD driving through the cornfield, despite the fact that these "University graduates" seem unable to pick it.
The remainder of the linear and blatantly predictable plot focuses on the thick students as they slowly unravel the mystery of the crop circles and why the electric fence happens to be there... The scariest part of the film is that it leaves itself wide open for a sequel!
The acting in this film is amongst the poorest I have seen. The dialogue is abysmal with endless repetitions of the same lines. "Oh my God!", "I don't get it" and "This doesn't make sense" seemingly feature every thirty seconds on average (perhaps these were actual unscripted comments by the actors rather than official lines?). There is an hilarious shot at 57:43 where I suspect the actor is wincing at the quality of the dialogue rather than performing. Maybe the dialogue in this movie could form the basis of a good drinking game? It certainly doesn't form the basis of any other kind of entertainment. Whilst the script is poor, the delivery is even poorer. There is not a decent performance amongst the entire cast. Miscasting is rife here. Whilst I never rated Stephen Baldwin terribly highly, Billy Zane showed that he was capable of putting in a decent performance in Dead Calm. He must have been desperate for cash to appear in this dreck. The character Katrina (Michelle Borth) is too ashamed of her body to take her shirt off for her beau (for about ten seconds), yet reads Tarot, wears ultra-sexy underwear and has a clearly obvious butt tattoo right above her hipsters in a later scene. There are some wonderful plot holes, with lovers kissing passionately whilst those next to them are loudly attacked by aliens, and discoveries (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) of alien body parts, drawings, footprints and videotapes in the attic which aren't deemed worthy of a mention by Layne. C'mon, give us some credit for at least basic intelligence here guys!
The special effects in the movie are pretty weak. When the aliens finally appear, they are poorly rendered and very derivative - surely there could have been some originality somewhere in this farcical story? My favourite effect is the magical appearance and disappearance of a shaving nick and accompanying toilet paper on Billy Zane's neck around 59:30. This continuity error is so glaring and recurs so many times that the director obviously just couldn't be bothered correcting it. However, this lack of attention to detail fits well with the sheriff's wearing of long-sleeved thermal underwear whilst the female bimbos are wandering around in hipsters and short cropped tops.
Warnings is D-grade made for TV style pap, complete with gratuitous breast shots. To make it through the thankfully brief running time, your disbelief not only has to be suspended, but hung by the neck until it is dead. It may be worth a rental if you have seen every other movie in the store, or want a bit of an unintended laugh, but for absolutely no other reason.
The video quality of this transfer is adequate, but fairly uninspiring - as indeed is the movie. It is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.85:1 which I assume is the original theatrical aspect ratio.
The overall transfer frequently appears rather soft, particularly in the backgrounds due to pixelization and low level macro-blocking. The black levels and shadow detail are acceptable with little low level noise evident, although graininess does creep in (for example in the attic at 31:24) from time to time. There does seem to be rather a disconnect between the night-time settings and the amount of light seen through the farmhouse windows most of the time - being charitable, this could be due to the security lighting however. Colours are fairly well rendered, with some nice primary reds cropping up in clothing, with no significant evidence of colour bleeding. Skin tones appear to be pretty natural.
The transfer has no glaring MPEG artefacts, but does break up a little on panning shots (for example at 18:20) with pixelization cropping up occasionally (for example on Katrina's face at 61:12 or the fireplace at 69:26). Edge enhancement was occasionally quite noticeable (for example as a bright halo on Katrina at 19:20, the bed at 22:25 or the house at 50:18) although not overly disturbing. Aliasing was frequently present although relatively minor, for example on the building at 8:28, the mountains at 18:10 or the windowsill at 19:36. Telecine wobble is apparent on the "day of the week" titles which crop up - for no real reason - during the film, and in the end credits, but is less noticeable during the main feature - although it is certainly evident on close inspection.
Film artefacts do crop up occasionally but they are brief and are not distracting.
The English subtitles are fairly well timed and generally close to the dialogue, although not perfectly matched, with some dropped words and the occasional spelling mistake (for example "to" instead of "too").
This disc is single sided and single layered (DVD 5) so there is no layer change to interrupt the (cough) tension.
The overall audio transfer is reasonably good, with no significant flaws noted.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (encoded at 384 kbps) is cleanly presented throughout, with no significant hiss, clicks or pops to be heard. Dialogue was always clear and audio sync was fine throughout.
The original music is not specifically credited, although additional music is credited to Eric Amdahl. It does however have a reasonable sci-fi / horror vibe, being vaguely reminiscent of the Halloween theme tune on occasion. This deep bass strings and light staccato percussion help to instil a feeling of suspense (unlike the screenplay).
The front speakers provide reasonable separation and some clear, clean dialogue. The surround speakers see some use in supporting the musical score and some minor ambient effects, almost by accident. There was little to be noticed in the way of localised surround effects. The soundstage overall feels rather frontal and is certainly not of reference quality.
The subwoofer is sporadically used and rarely draws much attention to itself. Whilst it does support some of the more dramatic sound effects in the final reel, this is certainly not a soundtrack to impress your friends with its LFE impact.
|Surround Channel Use|
Thankfully there are only a few extras on this disc. If you have bothered to read this far, you may be mildly interested in finding out what they are - so here goes:
The main menu is a silent, static photograph of a crop circle. It allows the choice of playing the movie, or choosing the "special features". Some of the special features are not that special, as the options include selecting one of twelve chapter stops, activating the subtitles, or choosing from a vast range of language options - namely one (English 5.1). The true special features are as follows:
A fairly lightweight collection as follows:
Four silent text-based screens, listing...you guessed it.
Running for 1:43, this letterboxed 1.78:1 trailer is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film, entitled Silent Warnings, is presented in Region 1 as a fullscreen (1.33:1) transfer with English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks. The extras appear to be the same as our rental release. On the basis of the widescreen aspect ratio, I would suggest you buy your mother-in-law the Region 4 version, provided she doesn't get to see this rental version first.
Warnings is poor stuff indeed. The acting is awful, the script is laughable and the special effects passé. It is amazing that this film has made it to our shores to be honest. Do yourself a favour, save your time and money and give it a miss...that's one of the best Warnings you will get this year.
The video quality is adequate.
The audio transfer is reasonably good but unremarkable.
The extras are anorexic - but at least they are present.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|