Undead (Imagine Ent) (2003)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 23-Jun-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Crew
Audio Commentary-Cast
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Toronto International Film Festival Screening
Featurette-The Zombies - Internet Featurette
Featurette-Camera And Make-Up Tests
Featurette-Homemade Dolly Construction Video
Featurette-Animatic To Film Comparison
Deleted Scenes
Teaser Trailer-2, Including Internet Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Gallery-Production Stills, Artwork And Design Sketches
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 99:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (87:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
Studio
Distributor
Spierig Film
Imagine Entertainment
Starring Felicity Mason
Mungo McKay
Rob Jenkins
Lisa Cunningham
Emma Randall
Dirk Hunter
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Cliff Bradley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Hailed by critics everywhere as an extraordinary feature film debut, Undead is a triumph for the Spierig brothers Michael and Peter, the production of which was a huge undertaking. The film itself was made for just under one million Australian dollars and of over 300 special effects shots, only two were outsourced to another company - leaving the two brothers to complete the majority of the CG work on their laptops.

    The result is superb entertainment, with plenty of gore and nail-biting action - not to mention many hilarious moments throughout the film. Emerging Aussie talents Felicity Mason and Mungo McKay each give excellent performances as the reluctant heroes of the story, as do the remainder of the Australian cast.

    In this classic spin on the typical Zombie yarn, meteorites begin falling in the secluded town of Berkeley, turning the inhabitants into the walking, brain-eating dead. A group of survivors are forced to make a collective stand against the apparent invasion in an effort to escape the town, the group consisting of a constable on her first day of duty, her manic partner, a charter pilot and his pregnant wife, a local beauty queen and an alien abductee. When forced to work together the locals conflict with each other as much as the Zombies, and soon find that escaping the town is much more difficult than they thought.

    Each of the characterisations are so unique they could individually carry their own film, particularly the insane police sergeant Harrison (Dirk Hunter) who cannot seem to string two words together without inserting an expletive. Mungo McKay's character Marion is also well scripted, an enigmatic who has been outcast from the community for declaring his abduction experience. With such a rich assortment of characters and the relative success the film has enjoyed, the production of a sequel is assured.

    Undead has a timeless quality and succeeds in overlapping many genres, including horror, sci-fi, comedy and thriller - and as such should appeal to a great many movie lovers.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Given its very low budget, I was surprised to find that this transfer is surprisingly clear and a pleasure to watch. The picture is clear and sharp, albeit with a mild degree of intermittent grain throughout the film. This level of grain is consistent with a theatrical screening I experienced last year. A large portion of the film is set in the night and I'm happy to say that black levels are solid and consistent, with a good degree of shadow detail. There were no instances of low level noise during the transfer.

    As is discussed within the director's commentary on this disc, the film has undergone significant colour grading to create a convincing contrast between the normality of the film's opening scenes and the onset of the Zombie invasion. As such, there are absolutely no issues with colour oversaturation or bleeding in this transfer.

    The transfer is very clean indeed - there are no film artefacts to be found and MPEG artefacting is also thankfully absent. Aliasing is also remarkably well controlled, in fact I did not note a single occurrence during the entire feature. There is a blurry spot on the lens at 2:26 during a slow pan, but this was only visible for a few seconds and was not overly distracting.

    There are no subtitle streams provided on this disc, however several lines of translation are burned into the video stream during the film's climax at 82:58.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer transition occurring towards the end of the film at 87:20. The brief pause only mildly interrupts some ambient noise and is certainly not too obtrusive.

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

Audio

    There are three audio options, two of which are feature commentaries. The default stream is English Dolby Digital 5.1, encoded at 448Kb/s.

    The dialogue contained in the film is a mixture of location audio and ADR work and is generally problem free. The film's ADR process is touched upon several times in the extra features of this DVD, and makes for interesting viewing. There are no issues with audio sync at all.

    The soundtrack score is grand and orchestral, in the vein of the great action-adventure composers such as John Williams. Although it has a programmed and electronic feel in places, it manages to maintain the perfect mood throughout the film without drawing too much attention to itself.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track utilises the surround channels brilliantly for a totally encompassing experience. The rear surround channels deliver an array of sounds, from door knocks to actual dialogue such as at 4:32 and 20:20. Considering the relatively low budget of this production I was pleasantly surprised by the immersive nature of this soundtrack.

    The subwoofer was used very well, building tension and accentuating gunshot thuds and the like. It even added some deep rumblings to the engine of a parking Volvo at 8:53, a neat gesture.

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

Extras

    These are a decent collection of extras, covering most aspects of the production. All of the additional material is 16x9 enhanced and accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Menu

    The menu system includes 16x9 enhancement and is animated with scenes from the film. The main menu also features audio accompaniment.

Crew Commentary - Peter & Michael Spierig; Cinematographer Andrew Strahorn; Make-up artist Steven Boyle

    In what is a fascinating insight into the low-budget filmmaking process, the Spierig brothers discuss all facets of the production, including the time consuming special effects, budgetary constraints, casting and illness on the set. The four gents seem to get along well and share many laughs, making this commentary a breeze to sit through.

Cast Commentary - Mungo McKay (Marion); Dirk Hunter (Harrison); Emma Randall (Molly)

    There are some genuinely good laughs to be found in this commentary as well, as the three actors share a lot of great experiences they had during filming. Of particular interest is their pointing out the differences between the original script and the final cut of the film.

Featurette - The Making Of Undead (35:48)

    Focusing on cast and crew interviews, this featurette details the intense commitment and the long hours that were spent making this low budget project look like a big budget studio film. We join the brothers on their first day of filming and witness first hand the trials of everyday production, including ADR work and the scoring of the film, all the way to the first screening.

Featurette - Toronto International Film Festival Screening (9:23)

    In the Toronto Film Festival of September 2003, Undead was the final film to be shown at the packed Uptown Theater. The Spierig brothers were in attendance and fielded questions from an enthusiastic audience.

Internet Featurette - The Zombies (1:43)

    This short featurette covers the zombie training that the many extras had to endure, including physical activity and make-up tests.

Featurette - Camera and Make-up tests (2:11)

    Prior to beginning production on the film, extensive tests were carried out on the effectiveness of colour grading and alternate frame rates to create the appearance of unnatural movement. We also see early drafts of the sickness make-up and smoke effects.

Featurette - Homemade Dolly Construction Video (2:02)

    This featurette covers the various stages of construction that were involved in manufacturing their own camera dolly, complete with crane arm.

Featurette - Animatic to Film Comparison (11:58)

    This is an interesting picture-in-picture comparison of the original twelve minute animated climax of the film and the finished product.

Deleted Scenes

    Here we have three slightly extended scenes and four short deleted scenes, along with an alternate title sequence.

Internet Teaser (0:21)

    This is a very brief trailer with only a couple of flashes of imagery to give an idea of the mood of the film.

Teaser Trailer (1:32)

    Focusing on short bursts of action from the film, this teaser does a great job of selling the film as an action/ horror effort.

Theatrical Trailer (2:29)

    The theatrical trailer goes a little further into the plot of the film and introduces us to a couple of the characters. A few of the most humorous lines from the film are included, but outside of their context they are not done their full justice.

Production Notes

    There are five pages of info about how the project came to fruition, and the many challenges that the Spierig brothers had to face. A lot of the information presented here is already touched upon in the other extra material.

Production Stills (28)

    These are a collection of photographs, taken during filming.

Artwork and Design Sketches (14)

    Among the various sketches and drawings of the set design are some great concepts for the creature faces.

Cast and Crew Biographies

    These are your average bios, covering six of the main actors and the Spierig brothers. One particularly good read is the story of the Spierig brothers' journey from a few humble short films to making their first feature film.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of writing, this title is only available to rent in Region 4.

Summary

    Undead is a classic zombie-horror-gore-comedy that will surely gain notoriety equal to that of other renowned zombie films such as the Italian classic Dellamorte Dellamore and Night of the Living Dead. Shoot them in the brain!

    The video transfer suffers from a little grain, but is easy to watch.

    The audio transfer is imaginatively mixed, creating an absorbing experience.

    There are plenty of valid extras included in the package, covering most aspects of the filmmaking process.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Friday, January 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Dead Alive RIP off -
Great movie, good fun, waiting for the DVD -
Possible correction - there is smoking in this movie -
RE: Dead Alive RIP off - Sum Whan
RE: Dead Alive Rip Off -
RE: Dead Alive RIP off -
This is a great movie! -
entertaining -
Undead review -
Undead review -
Braindead Rip Off PLAIN AND SIMPLE -
some comment whatever -
What are these people talking about? -