Evil Angel (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 24-Aug-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Animation-Minimal fade-out/fade-in demonic face.
Gallery-Photo-68 blow-ups from film, slide show, 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-1:33 King of Fighters 1.78:1, 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-1:22 Black Death 1.78:1, 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-3:01 Wild Cherry 1.78:1, 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-1:56 Lingerie Football League 1.78:1, 576i
Featurette-Making Of-The Making of Black Death (11:39) 1.78:1, 576i
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 123:50 (Case: 119)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Dutcher
Studio
Distributor
Main Street Movie Co
Eagle Entertainment
Starring Kristopher Shepard
Ving Rhames
Ava Gaudet
Richard Dutcher
Marie Westbrook
Jontille Gerard
Bart Johnson
JJ Neward
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $29.95 Music John Frizzell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (1920Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (1920Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Mood setting female solo erotic sequence.

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

Plot Synopsis

     The opening credits of Evil Angel initially filled me with dismay. A young woman with an admittedly gorgeous body caresses her naked self extravagantly while the credits appear over her glowingly writhing sensuous body. I was prepared for yet another lesbian oriented blood bath when a very clever joke appears just before the final couple of credits. This is a signal that what we are about to see is perhaps not what it first appears. Evil Angel turns out to be a superbly made film, from its writing through to the final editing.

     When the young woman, Emma Carillo (Rachel Emmers) is stabbed five times, paramedic Marcus Galan (Kristopher Shepard) tries desperately to resuscitate her, but without success. Meanwhile, in the same hospital near death patient Caroline Kurtz (J.J. Neward) awakes, kills two people and escapes from the hospital. When Marcus arrives home he finds his suicidal wife, Carla (Ava Gaudet), cheating on him with an unknown man. The next morning Marcus has to attend a hearing into the death of a prostitute, Elizabeth Markham. Private detective Carruthers (Ving Rhames) is assigned to investigate the case. Meanwhile Caroline visits Carruthers’ son Vic and the plot of this wild ride of a movie is hell bent underway. Our "heroine" has the ability, upon her demise, to hop from her old body into a newly vacated soulless corpse.

     The plot of this beautifully crafted film is inspired, if that is the correct word, by the legend of Lilith. Lilith was a female demon of Jewish folklore who tries to kill newborn children. In the Talmud, Lilith is the first wife of Adam, dispossessed by Eve and thereafter wandering the land wreaking havoc. Obviously Lilith is not good news! However it is not the substance of the material here that makes Evil Angel a captivating two hours of horror, but the handling of the material. At the helm is Richard Dutcher, who produced, wrote, edited and directed the film. In fact, Dutcher even plays a minor character, Martineau, who at one stage is consulted by the hero. Dutcher was originally known as "the father of Mormon cinema" and created such films as God's Army (2000), Brigham City (2001) and Falling (2007). Dutcher then pursued wider themes in his work, and now we have this film which has received some esoteric film festival success. Dutcher’s writing is terse with pithy and frequently very funny dialogue. His editing is exceptional, with excellent photography from Bill Butler (Anaconda), and his direction is faultless. The use of music is brilliant, and also frequently funny, with some of John Frizzell's original spine tingling passages reminiscent of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Also take note of the clever use of catalogue music, as in the opening credit's use of composer Ray Noble's original recording of the old standard Goodnight Sweetheart and the occasional piece of vintage film seen on TV in the course of the plot. This is a film maker who really knows his art and its craft.

     Performances are excellent, with spine tingling turns from the evil women and sympathetic reality from the victims.Ava Gaudet is outstanding, with her major prior credit being five episodes of TV's Ugly Betty, while the performance of Marie Westbrook as Marcus's co-worker Jenny can only be truly assessed once the film is over. Ving Rhames performs with subdued strength and really impresses as the bereaved detective who gives comfort in unexpected places. Despite the absence of his name on the cover of the disc, top-billed in the film's credits and at the core of the immediate success of the film is the performance of Kristopher Shepard, who has previously appeared in TV's CSI : Miami and The L Word, each for one episode. Never clichéd and always human, this young man deserves to become a star. Winner of the 2009 Freaky Award for Best Actor, Shepard is ridiculously handsome, a combination of Tyrone Power and Ricardo Montalban, and performs with sincerity and believable intensity.

     This is a way above average horror film. Gory and frightening, with flawless special effects and a couple of extremely bloody set pieces that will satisfy those who are watching for these scenes alone. For others who may ask for more, it is here in generous helpings. Interesting characters, sane dialogue, excellent photography and sound, and occasional lashings of humour which really add spice to the overall flavour. Very humorous use is made of a blonde Christian family driving in their family vehicle, especially considering the Mormon roots of the director. Richard Dutcher's next film will be worth seeking out, as will anything featuring Kristopher Shepard. Until then make sure that you do not miss Evil Angel.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Evil Angel looks very, very good on Blu-ray, though without the sharp detail that is rapidly becoming the norm for that format. Looking more like a brilliant standard DVD the image just falls short of the best the format can deliver. Perhaps this is most noticeable in the extreme close-ups of Kristopher Shepard. The disc looks great, but not a knockout.

     The original 2.35:1 image is presented beautifully, with superb camerawork and image composition. The colour palette is wide and diverse, ranging from the bleakly realistic, to the saturated nightlife scenes. Mostly skin tones are extremely good, although there is the occasional scene where the orange people take over once again. The frequent darker evening scenes are excellent, filled with detail.

     There was no noise or edge enhancement with a beautifully clean image presented throughout.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     There are two audio streams on the disc, DTS - HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital 5.1, both encoded at 48 KHz.

     The audio cannot be faulted, as is the case with every technical aspect of this fine film. Dialogue is superbly recorded, with no sync problems. Full use is made of all channels, with plenty of movement across the front, directionality and enveloping surrounds.

     There are auditory surprises which give greater impact to what we are seeing on the screen. Excellent and frequent use is made of the subwoofer for overall impact and oomph.

     Thrilling is the only word to describe the power of John Frizzell's score, roaring at us at times from all channels. In particular, the Carmina Burana flavoured themes are totally overwhelming. There are moments, which I would not spoil, that bring plot, dramatic image and music to a tumultuous climax, creating a level of excitement very rare in film today.

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

Extras

Apart from the slideshow, there are no extras on the disc which relate to Evil Angel itself.

Main Menu

The main menu uses a colourful graphic with music from the original score. The minimal animation has a demonic female face fading in and out in the red skyscape.

Image Gallery

     Accompanied by a section of the original score we have a slideshow of sixty-eight framed blow-ups from the film, presented 1080p.

Trailers

    King of Fighters (1:33) - presented at 1.78:1, 1080p, with excellent picture quality, Black Death (1:22)- presented at 1.78:1 (not 2.35:1 which the making of featurette would indicate is correct), 1080p and again excellent quality, Wild Cherry (3:01) - presented at 1.78:1, 575i and very good quality, Lingerie Football League (1:56) - presented at 1.78:1, 576i, and poor quality but the film itself should be abysmal.

Featurette :The Making of Black Death (11:39)

    Presented 1.78:1 in good quality SD 576i, this is a pretty ordinary making-of about this black death picture. Director Christopher Smith praises Sean Bean a great deal, and everyone has nice things to say about everyone else. The snippets from the film itself are presented at 2.35:1.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

     There is no Region 1 release of this title and the Region 2 release is a standard DVD release. Region 4 is particularly fortunate with this title.

Summary

     If you are an admirer of horror flicks, or simply well made cinema, snap this one up if you are able to find it in stores. The quality of the high definition image could be better, but what we have looks like an excellent standard DVD. Nevertheless, the content more than makes up for this. A terrific little excursion into the macabre, with excellent performances and technical skill of the highest order. This is an exceptional horror film, brimming with intelligence, wit and film knowhow.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Friday, October 08, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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