Gruesome (Salvage) (2006)

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Released 4-Feb-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer-Gruesome
Gallery-Photo-15 images from the film
Teaser Trailer-Madman Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 79:41 (Case: 77)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jeff Crook
Josh Crook
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Lauren Currie Lewis
Cody Darbe
Chris Ferry
Maureen Olander
John P. Miller
Jessica DeLong
Sam Dahler
John Briley
Joseph M. Colombo
Adam Morris
Maureen Wagner
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Evan Wilson
Devola


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

Judging by comments made on certain internet forums, the title of this independent horror film seems to have caused some confusion. In the US the film is known by its original title of Salvage, while elsewhere in the world it is known by the rather auspicious title of, Gruesome. Any confusion is unnecessary, because despite the different titles, it is the same film.

Gruesome was written and directed by American brothers, Jeff and Joshua Crook. The film is their fourth feature as a filmmaking team.

Shot on mini35 DV and made with the restrains of a very small budget, Gruesome has developed quite a loyal cult following over the last couple of years. It also gained priceless publicity by receiving official selection for the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.

The film opens with a scene that will become even more familiar as the story continues. Early one morning, Claire Parker (Lauren Currie Lewis) finishes her shift at a local convenience store and waits to be picked up by her boyfriend, Jimmy (Cody Darbe). However, when his truck arrives, it isn't Jimmy driving, but someone claiming to be a friend of his. Duke Desmond (Chris Ferry) tells Claire that Jimmy was busy, so he asked Duke if he'd take his truck and pick her up in his place. While Claire isn't entirely comfortable with the situation, she sees no reason to doubt the story.

Staying true to the horror genre, when they arrive at Claire's house, there is nobody at home. She quickly realises that Duke is not a friend of Jimmy's at all - he's a psychopathic killer. With little means of defence, Claire is subsequently dealt with in a very "gruesome" manner.

Suddenly, we are back in the convenience store, with Claire finishing the same shift at the same time, on the same day. Has she dreamt her murder? As the "new" day continues, Claire begins to realise there is something not right with her world. She is reliving each day and no matter how differently she tries to live it, she will inevitably be confronted by Duke and be viciously murdered. As she endures the horrors that each day brings, she also edges closer to the confronting revelation of her living hell.

While I certainly don't rate this film as highly as some, I can see its appeal to lovers of the genre. The Crook brothers have done incredibly well on such a small budget and have created a promising reputation in the process.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The film is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced.

As previously mentioned, Gruesome was shot on mini35 DV. This is low-budget, indie filmmaking and as such, the limitations do show. Having said that, I'm confident this transfer accurately represents the source material. The degree of sharpness varies throughout the film, but generally, there is a predominate softness. Blacks were mostly clean and shadow detail was acceptable.

Colours appear to have been deliberately toned down to enhanced the mood of the film. Overall, they seemed to be well balanced.

There were no MPEG artefacts noticed. Keeping in mind the limitations, film-to-video artefacts were minor and film artefacts were not an issue.

Although the cover slick states the presence of English subtitles, they don't exist.

This is a dual layer DVD 9 disc. The layer change is poorly placed at 44:16 and was quite disruptive.

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

Audio

There are two audio tracks available on this DVD. The default track is English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kb/s). The supplementary track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s).

Dialogue quality sounded clear and there were no apparent problems with audio sync.

The original music is credited to Evan Wilson. This was reasonably good, but typical music for the genre. Far more annoying and intrusive was the music from Devola. Apparently they are a favorite band of the Crook brothers, but their brand of gothic rock is over used in the film.

The 5.1 mix was quite understated. I expected a full-on assault, but was surprised to discover a rather conservative mix. Even the subwoofer usage was moderate and only seemed to kick in each time the killer appeared.

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

Extras

Menu

The main menu is animated, 16x9 enhanced and features a looped audio sample from the film.

Theatrical Trailer

Gruesome (1:41)

Stills Gallery

A very basic collection of fifteen random images from the film.

Madman Trailers

  • Pulse (1:50)
  • The Grudge (2:07)
  • Death Trance (2:30)
  • Infection (1:36)

    R4 vs R1

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

    There is a R1 version of Gruesome available, which is obviously marketed under the title of Salvage. This edition was released by Echo Bridge in October, 2006. The R1 edition is presented in a non-anamorphic, letterboxed format, but features the welcome addition of an audio commentary by Jeff and Joshua Crook.

    The decision as to which version is better depends completely on your preference for a 16x9 enhanced transfer over an audio commentary - you decide.

    Summary


    Despite many clichéd moments, Gruesome is still an enjoyable independent horror film.

    All things considered, the transfers are quite good.

    The selection of extras is very basic.

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Tuesday, July 15, 2008
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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