Nine Lives (2002)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Cast Sound Bites
Featurette-Crew Sound Bites
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||81:54 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Andrew Green|
A & A Films
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
What sets apart a great actor from a competent one is their ability to deliver a credible characterisation and I'm afraid that this young cast, bar one (and she dies first!) didn't do it for me. The screenplay is just too ambitious, we're introduced to the characters as per The Big Chill and just when the inter-personal play becomes interesting, we're off on a tangent to the horror bits. Then we're exposed to an attempt at humour - (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) "Why's Tim trying to kill us?, perhaps he's p***** because we cut the bobble off his designer cap one time or got Fat Fanny, The Tranny Granny as a stripper for his 18th". Maybe it's inexperience on the part of the actors or the inevitable 'C' grade movies that an embryo director, such as Andrew Green, has to generate during the learning curve to greatness, but the end result is a 90 minute feature that lacks the intrigue of Ring, the compulsion of Blair Witch or the craftsmanship of Polanski's 9th Gate.
The film does have some genuinely creepy moments, helped by the sudden scene flicks characteristic of the genre and this can largely be credited to the expertise of cinematographer Robin Vidgeon of Hellraiser fame. The mansion house is quite interesting and those with a penchant for visiting English stately homes will probably enjoy the grand staircase, sumptuous furniture and works of art. There's almost no CGI to entertain us here (except for the 'eyes') and the special effects are nothing memorable, save for the fake snow which is just about the most unconvincing I've ever seen - if you can't do it properly, why bother doing it at all? As to entertainment value, if you're a fan of kitsch horror then you'll probably enjoy the badness of the movie, but if you want a well-crafted production I'd suggest you check out some of the movies mentioned above first.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced
The movie is well detailed but has a softness about the transfer probably related to the compression necessary to fit it onto a DVD-5. Shadow detail is average and a little lacking in some of the darker scenes - notably the cellar. There was no low level noise.
The colours were rich and well rendered in keeping with the splendour of the decor of the mansion.
MPEG artefacts were very few and far between - all I could really note was some mild posterization in some of the rooms' red backdrops. Aliasing was absolutely minimal and the transfer was from a very clean source without noticeable film artefacts.
There were no subtitles.
The disc is a single sided, single layered DVD-5 so there is no RSDL transition point.
Just like the video transfer the audio is excellent.
There is just the one track; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. This is very atmospheric, well recorded and has excellent Foley effects.
Dialogue is crisp and clear and is directed, like most of the ambient sound, to the centre channel. The front mains are largely used for effect from the excellent musical score. I didn't spot any lapses in audio sync.
The music is credited to Edward White and Josh Grafton and is very well suited to the nature of the film. The quality of the score leaves the quality of the acting way behind and lends some credibility to the film.
Surrounds were well used in tandem with the front mains but at a lower volume to lend ambience rather than distraction.
The subwoofer was very well utilised to lend weight to the ghostly bumps and crashes forming an essential part of the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
Snips of conversation with the principal cast members, mostly mutual back-slapping and nothing of earth-shattering importance.
Interviews with writer-director Andrew Green and two producers Nikolas Kordo and Giles Hattersley - nothing special.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality, although a little soft in detail, was generally good.
The audio quality was excellent and probably the best bit of the feature.
The extras are not up to much, save the trailer, and the space would have been better devoted to a higher video bitrate.
|DVD||EAD 8000 Pro, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic PT-AE300E Projector onto 250cm screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie|