Slash (2002)

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Released 9-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 90:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:50) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Neal Sundstrom
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Adam Woolf
Danny Keogh
Milan Murray
Guy Raphaely
Anton Vorster
Brett Goldin
David Dukas
Nina Wassung
James O'Shea
Zuleikha Robinson
Craig Kirkwood
Neels Clasen
Nick Boraine
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Neill Solomon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
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
Italian
German
Spanish
Portuguese
Czech
Hungarian
Polish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    There are times as a reviewer when you feel like taking a punt on a certain title, and hope for the best. I had very few expectations of this DVD, having never seen the film or even heard of it for that matter. Some quick research on the net told me that it was a horror-thriller made in South Africa, following the travels of a struggling group of musicians. 'Rock band, murderous killing sprees and South African accents' I thought to myself with eager anticipation. Oh, dear was I wrong.

    Directed by Neal Sundstrom, there is very little for me to recommend in this silly, pointless film. The music is crap, the acting is wooden and as a whole it's plainly unmoving. I was neither scared nor humoured by this film and found it boring and tiresome in general.

    Our story involves Slash, an emotive rock band struggling to make the big step from amateur nobodies to famous professional act. On the night that they receive an important offer to perform a showcase gig for a major record label, the bandleader Joseph MacDonald is given the sudden news that his aunt has died. He is neither upset nor overwhelmed, so we cut to the band arriving at a farm owned by Joseph's Dad (MacDonald's farm - get it?). It seems Joe's parents split up when he was very young and since then he has had no relationship with his father. After attending his dear aunt's funeral, the band find it difficult to leave the farm and end up staying on the property to rehearse for the important gig. In the meantime, Dad is acting a little weird and dropping comments hinting that the farm needs some 'new blood'. Keeping the band together proves to be a challenge only some of them will endure.

    During the time of black slavery there was a legend or thereabouts referring to the harvest of blood, a time when blood was spread over farming land to revitalise failing crops for the coming year. Grandad MacDonald had an elaborate irrigation system set up for this very purpose and after many years it appears to be spurting the red stuff once more, just as local teens start to disappear. Is Joe's dad the culprit or is the long-departed grandad still up to his old tricks?

    I am really struggling to find any redeeming features within this film. The dialogue is bad, the accents are worse, the pace is tedious and the finale is wretchedly disappointing. The most glaring example of hideous lameness within this excuse for a film comes from the awfully mimed live performances from fictional rock band Slash - the actors obviously have not the faintest idea of how to hold an instrument, let alone play one, and the result is laughably sad. With all the negative aspects to this film there is thankfully one stand-out performance from Zuleikha Robinson who plays bassist Suzie. Her good performance aside, I would hesitate to recommend this film to anyone.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Slash has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    The transfer itself has a good degree of sharpness present and is pleasant to watch. Facial shots exhibit fine details such as wrinkles and stubble, while more dimly lit scenes struggle to deliver any clarity at all. I couldn't see any low level noise present in the transfer.

    Colours are a little washed out in this transfer, but remain consistent without bleeding or oversaturation of any kind. Skin tones appeared fleshy and true.

    I didn't note any film artefacts at all during the feature. The only noticeable issue arose during dimly lit scenes which created a mesh of MPEG grain (36:00). This only occurred in a few scenes, but was irritating all the same.

    There are nine subtitle streams included on the disc, one of which is English for the Hearing Impaired. I viewed the whole film with the English stream activated and found that it omits the odd line here and there but is generally spot on.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer transition placed during the feature at 45:50. The pause is noticeable and only briefly interrupts some ambient noise.

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

Audio

    There are five audio options available on this disc. The default audio selection is English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448Kb/s, while dubbed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in French, Italian, German and Spanish are also included.

    The dialogue of the film is comprised of a significant amount of ADR and comes across rather patchy in places. Lip-sync visibly falls out of place on many occasions, such as at 16:47 and generally becomes annoying by the mid-point of the film. Other portions of dialogue sound unnaturally clear for the surroundings of the particular scene and make the film feel a bit cheap and nasty.

    The soundtrack score doesn't pose any great problems. It provides shock value at the right moments and does its job without drawing a lot of attention to itself. On the other hand, the musical segments "performed" by the fictional band Slash are laughable and corny.

    There was a great deal of surround activity in this soundtrack, from mild atmospherics to dedicated sound effects. Various slashing and violent tearing noises can be heard in the rear channels during the assorted murderous scenes, and some great examples of directional effects are evident. At 36:20 there are distinct chicken clucks in the rear channels and also at 64:25 music can be heard in the background. Altogether, this soundtrack is very well produced and effective.

    The subwoofer is used to good effect, adding some nice bottom end to assorted effects such as thunder and the like. There are also countless deep rumblings that act to build tension in the right places.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu is available in nine different languages, but is static and 16x9 enhanced. If left for a minute the feature begins playback automatically.

R4 vs R1

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

    A Region 1 release exists but is hardly worth mentioning - it is a pan & scan transfer on a single layered disc. A European Region 2 release also exists with the following additional features:

    Clearly the Region 2 release would be the ideal purchase.

Summary

    Slash is a woeful film, deservedly presented on a bare bones DVD.

    The video transfer is adequate.

    The audio transfer is surprisingly active.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital 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.

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