Webs (2003)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Available for Rent

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 83:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David Wu
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Anthony Ashbee
Dylan Bierk
Craig Blair
Jeffrey Douglas
Maxine Dumont
Colin Fox
Kate Greenhouse
Richard Grieco
Jason Jones
David Nerman
Richard Yearwood
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Lawrence Shragge


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Czech
Dutch
Greek
Hungarian
Polish
French Titling
German Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    What was originally a routine building decommissioning job for Dean (Richard Grieco) and his electrical crew has just turned into a nightmare beyond imagination. While investigating an unknown power source that continues to feed a derelict Chicago building for years after it was disconnected from the power grid, Dean and his crew find a hidden command base located deep in the basement of the building. Opening its doors, they find a strange collection of old computers, unusual electrical equipment and some sort of platform that is connected to it all. Even more worrying is the radioactive symbol located on a small door. Further investigation leads the group to a small self-contained nuclear reactor that is the source of electricity that is supplying the abandoned building. The room contains numerous notes and journals and reading these leads to the understanding that the device is able to open a portal to another dimension. Not believing that this could be true, the crew tamper with the equipment and manage somehow to turn it all on. In a blinding flash, two people standing near the platform are transported away in an instant.

    Dean and his fellow worker find themselves in a strange place. Seeming to be Chicago gone wrong, they find about them a developed but abandoned city that features no obvious inhabitants, just an empty city covered in what looks to be spider webs...everywhere. While Dean is trapped in a strange place, his fellow workers continue to reactivate the machine and find out what has happened to their colleagues. Eventually they succeed, only to find just what kind of nightmare world awaits them. With the crew all through the portal, they quickly discover that something has gone amiss in this reality. The streets suddenly are filled with strange, mutant humans with weird exoskeleton hands and fangs for teeth. Running to evade these hybrid creatures, the group runs into a well-armed gang of seemingly normal humans who rush the dimensional hopping electricians to safety. While they just manage to evade the weird hybrid creatures, they catch a glimpse of a huge spider that stands meters tall and has an obvious taste for humans.

    Once in relative safety, Dean and his crew find that they have travelled to a parallel world, very similar to theirs. A scientist, Dr. Richard Morelli (Colin Fox), developed the portal that brought the electrical crew to this strange world, and it is this link between worlds that has caused the devastation of the parallel world. When a porthole is opened, another is also opened in another place and this has allowed the Queen to enter this alternate Earth and take over. Feeding on female humans and turning the men into super strong and super loyal soldiers for her, the Queen has all but destroyed humanity. Only a small band of survivors remains to keep the hybrid soldiers as bay and hopefully destroy the Queen. With hope that the portal can be reopened, Dr. Morelli and Dean have to work quickly if they are to reconnect the ravaged spider world to the normal world and make good their escape. Of course, in order to ensure the safe passage of the remaining survivors, the Queen must be killed...as she knows of the portal and wishes to go through to enslave another fresh new world!

    Worse than straight to video, here we have straight to U.S. Pay TV and then to video. Commissioned by the Sci-Fi Channel in America, this film was directed by the multi talented David Wu. Along with direction, David can also add editor, actor, writer, second unit director, assistant director, producer and composer to his list of abilities. He has a prolific career as a film editor and is credited for editing such diverse films as David Williamson's The Club and Brotherhood of the Wolf. He has also directed several features and acted in many Hong Kong films. As wide as his abilities are, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and this film stinks to hog heaven. Poor characterizations (you can see by my review that I haven't mentioned many character names...I can't remember any), flat dialogue, lack of tension and limited creature effects help make this film a very forgettable experience. I really get a kick out of monster spiders from outer space films, I really do, but this film lack so much of everything that it's very hard to find anything to give it positive marks for. A few interesting concepts are hinted at, such as the perhaps human influence on the Spider Queen to the differences between the alternate Chicago world and the 'real world'. These are only hinted at and not developed in any substantial manner. One might blame the limited budget for these failings, but budget has nothing to do with it. Instead, it's poor writing and sub par execution that let this film down. To even call it a film is perhaps giving it too much credit as any real cinematic attributes are completely overlooked here. Richard Grieco was once a star on the horizon, but it looks here as if it was instead a shooting star: a quick flash and then gone for good. This film won't help dispel that opinion and instead it reinforces it. Sadly, this film can only be recommended for those who have no expectations in regards to entertainment. If you are looking for a film that won't entertain than look no further than here. Dire.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer we get here is good and serves the material well.

    This film is presented on this disc in 1.78:1, which is probably very near to its intended aspect ratio. I hesitate to say 'theatrical aspect ratio' as I get the impression that this'll never see the inside of a theatre. Still, for a feature shot for television it's nice to get a decent aspect ratio and 16x9 enhancement, and this we have here.

    The image here is quite sharp and I had no issues with overall clarity or focus. Much of this feature takes place in darkened areas and sets and so shadow detail is reasonably important here. For the most part we get an adequate level of shadow detail and you can see most things going on without much difficulty. I had no problems with low level noise.

    Colour's use in this film is of a natural style with no unusual exaggeration. I found colour's commitment to this disc quite good with no overall problems.

    Despite this disc being formatted as a single layer, there isn't a problem with space for the data considering that there are only three language options and no extras. I didn't experience any MPEG nasties with pixelization and macro-blocking not seen at any stage. There is the very occasional aliasing shimmer visible from time to time, but I was looking for it (I had nothing better to do as the film wasn't getting my attention) so you might not notice it. This feature was filmed in Super 16 (yes, on real film) and the print used for this transfer is quite clean with very few nicks and flecks visible. You'll get some grain from time to time, but it wasn't distracting.

    We get subtitles in English, French, German, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian and Polish, with the English stream doing a reasonable job in conveying the on-screen dialogue without being word for word.

    This disc is formatted as a single layer, and as such there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    The sound here is adequate and serves the material well.

    There are three audio options here, these being English, French and German Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes running at a competent 384 Kb/s. I listened to the English track.

    The dialogue here is quite clean and understandable with no problems with clarity throughout. I also found the sync to be quite good and without any obvious faults.

    Music for this feature comes from prolific television score composer Lawrence Shragge. While not a household name, Lawrence was nominated for an Emmy award for his score for the 2001 television film Haven. His score here is simple and suits the material well. Not overly memorable, but neither is the film.

    We get a 5.1 mix that does a reasonable job for the film. There is just the right amount of rear atmospheric sound and although I thought that for this film a more 'gimmicky' sound mix would probably have suited it, what we do get is okay.

    The LFE content here isn't huge, but there is a bit during some of the more active portions of the film and what is there supports what is heard out of the main channels.

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

Extras

    Extras? No chance. The cupboard is bare, so don't even bother looking.

Menu

    After the normal distributor's logos, language selection and copyright warnings, we are taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:     The menus are static, silent and 16x9 enhanced. Not even a trailer here, can you believe it?

R4 vs R1

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

    It looks as Region 4 is 'lucky' enough to have this title all on its own for the time being. I am unable to find any reference to any release of this film anywhere else as yet. It does appear that it will be released in Italy and Spain in the next several weeks (February and March 2004), but no details are yet available as to how they will be presented.

Summary

    Man, you'd have to dig pretty much to the bottom of the barrel to dig up this one. I didn't get the full packaging with this disc for review (it was a test pressing only) so I'm not sure as to what the cover looks like, but whatever it is, don't get sucked in. This film is a disaster and worth avoiding. Not even as pedestrian brain-off entertainment is it any good. Even the substandard Arachind that came out about 12 months ago stacks up better than this. Truly nothing to see here, folks. Shockin'!

    The video is good and serves the material well.

    The audio is good and suits the film perfectly.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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