Nine Lives (2002)

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Released 11-Oct-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Cast Sound Bites
Featurette-Crew Sound Bites
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 81:54 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andrew Green
Studio
Distributor
A & A Films
Imagine Entertainment
Starring Rosie Fellner
Vivienne Harvey
Paris Hilton
Patrick Kennedy
David Nicolle
Ben Payton
James Schlesinger
Les Schrapnel
Amelia Warnerin
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Edward White
Josh Grafton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Think of the last few horror films you saw; Ring, Fallen, Blair Witch Project, Scream, Ninth Gate - blend the stories together and set the scene in a rambling Scottish mansion in mid-winter, telephone lines down and cut off by snow and you've got the basis of Nine Lives, replete with spooky cellars and large kitchen knives. Nine school friends are invited to celebrate Tim's (played by Patrick Kennedy) 21st birthday. The inevitable formal dinner, lots of drinks and social swordplay ensues till an ancient book, complete with dust, clasp and engravings, is found in a secret hideaway in the library. The contents of the book concerns the unfortunate Murray, whose lands were stripped from him in ancient time by the marauding English (no not the Rugby Union team) after his eyes were plucked out and force fed to him. Opening the book liberates his vengeful spirit which then possesses its unfortunate victim and the killings begin ....

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this film is excellent and appears to have been encoded by Australian based Madman.

   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.

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

Audio

    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.

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

Extras

Menu

    1.78:1 aspect ratio and 16x9 enhanced.

Behind the scenes

    5:59 of hand-held video footage without commentary travelling around the mansion and grounds bumping into various cast and crew.

Sound Bites Cast

    Snips of conversation with the principal cast members, mostly mutual back-slapping and nothing of earth-shattering importance.

Sound Bites Crew

    Interviews with writer-director Andrew Green and two producers Nikolas Kordo and Giles Hattersley - nothing special.

Trailer

    Reasonable cinematic trailer for the movie lasting exactly 2:00.

R4 vs R1

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

    I couldn't find any evidence of an R1 release of this movie so it looks like a first for R4!

Summary

    Nine Lives was a rather hackneyed attempt at horror which didn't really cut the mustard. It is a bad combination of inexperienced screenplay and 'B' grade actors.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Sunday, November 30, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDEAD 8000 Pro, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE300E Projector onto 250cm screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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