I Sell the Dead (Blu-ray) (2008)

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Released 3-May-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Effects
Audio Commentary-Director
Audio Commentary-Actors
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 84:45
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Glenn McQuaid
Studio
Distributor
Glass Eye Pix
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Starring Dominic Monaghan
Ron Perlman
Larry Fessenden
Angus Scrimm
John Speredakos
Eileen Colgan
Brenda Cooney
Daniel Manche
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music Jeff Grace


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

     It is 19th century Ireland (or somewhere quite fictional thereabouts) where a priest with a keen interest in the occult, Father Duffy (Ron Perlman), bribes his way into jail to interview grave robber Arthur (Dominic Monaghan) who is awaiting execution. His partner Willie (Larry Fessenden) having faced the chop earlier in the day, Arthur tells the priest of his history as a grave robber turned body snatcher, specialising in the acquisition and sale of supernatural corpses; zombies, vampires, aliens. At some point Arthur and Willie have sold them all and forged some particularly nasty rivalries in the process.

     I Sell the Dead is an indie period black comedy. As is frequently the case in indie territory, the film is a mixed bag. It is sporadically very funny, but the writing and direction in general are awful. The goodwill earned by a handful of hilarious scenes is offset by a complete lack of narrative flow and some clumsy character development. The film plays out like a string of loosely related scenes featuring the same characters heading in a fairly obvious direction. Some work, some don't.

     Any fans of the genre diving into the film with no real expectations will likely have a reasonable time with it (just take the "Better the Shaun of the Dead" claim on the cover with a grain of salt). Anyone who isn't immediately grabbed by the concept should probably avoid this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.

     The video is certainly a step up from DVD but is far from the best looking HD transfer you will find. The main culprit is that the image is hampered by coarse film grain. The image is sharp enough and reasonably well focused for the most part. The shadows are all quite murky and obscured by the grain, however, and blacks lack fine detail. The colour palette is highly stylised to accentuate browns and blues, which suits the general style of the film well and looks fairly decent. Very mild colour banding can be seen in the dark scenes.

     There is no sign of film artefacts or pixelation in the image at any point.

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

Audio

     The film features a choice of English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio and English 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks. This review focuses on the former.

     The dialogue is clear and reasonably easy to understand, although some of the "Oi-rish" accents leave a lot to be desired! Save for some obvious ADR the audio is well synchronised to the video.

     The film features a rompy score by Jeff Grace that is rather reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s work, particularly Beetleguese. It fits the film reasonably, although it sounds a tad over the top at times, even taking into account that the film itself is frequently quite over-the-top.

     The surround mix is reasonable, though occasionally a little clumsy. Some of the sound pans are a little too distinct and at other times sounds are balanced too heavily to a single speaker. The subwoofer gets used with reasonable frequency, but is a little lacklustre.

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

Extras

    The disc includes a reasonable range of extras presented in a mixture of HD and SD.

Making Of Featurette - SD (64:13)

    Overlong and rambling at times, but a genuinely interesting look at the independent filmmaking experience. This is one that film school wannabes will probably get more out of than fans of the film, provided they are willing to read between a few of the lines. The video in this featurette is rather murky and noticeably compressed.

Visual Effects Featurette - HD (13:05)

    A moderately interesting effects featurette that is driven by interviews with the primary effects artist who worked on the film.

Trailer - SD (1:02)

     A clumsy, but interesting enough trailer for the film.

Audio commentary by director Glenn McQuaid

     A fairly run-of-the-mill director commentary. The relatively inexperienced director sounds like he has planned the commentary fairly thoroughly, but still manages to keep things sounding interesting.

Audio commentary by actors Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden

     This commentary from the film's stars sounds a bit more off the cuff than the first. Dominic Monaghan mainly talks about on-screen goings on and his feeling towards the various actors in the film. Fessenden, who also co-produced the film, provides a little more depth but doesn't really have much to say that wasn't in the first commentary.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Australian Region B Blu-ray disc is identical to the US Region A disc, however some editions of the US Region A package include a bonus comic.

Summary

    A hit and miss indie black comedy. Taken for what it is it is entertaining enough for a look, but hire it before you think about buying it.

    The video and audio are decent without being particularly great. The extras are quite worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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