Long Time Dead (2002)

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Released 16-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Featurette
Featurette
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Back To The Future Trilogy
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 90:03 (Case: 94)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Marcus Adams
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Joe Absolom
Lara Belmont
Melanie Gutteridge
Lukas Hass
James Hillier
Alec Newman
Mel Raido
Marsha Thomason
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Don Davis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 Smoking Yes, normal cigarettes, and illegal drugs.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Long Time Dead is a little bit of a strange film to put a finger on. It is at once quite good, and rather bad. It is good, because as a slasher/horror/ghost film it works well, and delivers some genuine chills. It is bad because it is so completely unoriginal as to be almost mind-numbing - as one of the cast says during their interview, "this film is different because it's British" - and that is about the only thing that is different. If a list of all scary movie clichés were made, it would be possible to tick almost every single item off while watching Long Time Dead. It is like the writers went and saw Scream and said to themselves "now this would be really scary if it wasn't trying to be so funny!"

    The story of Long Time Dead surrounds a group of dead-end, no-hoper young Londoners (apparently "your average London kids") who one day decide that they are going to try a Ouija board session. At this point, it should be noted that it seems no-one ever told the writers that the Ouija board went out with Abba, and unlike the latter, has yet to come back in - a minor quibble, I know, but as these are supposedly "hip" young Londoners, it seems strange they would do something like this. Anyway, back in the story, the Ouija board "goes wrong" - the glass starts moving rapidly, spelling out "Djinn", then one of the members around the table freaks out, smashes the glass and runs away. Shortly thereafter, a member of the group is killed, and the body is covered in horrible burns. As the members of the group are slowly killed, one by one (well, apart from the times when it is two, or three...but I digress), they must try to band together to discover the perpetrator, and stop them before it is too late - but is it a human or a demon that is pursuing them?

    This film creates some genuine jumps and frights, and towards the end when the identity of the killer is revealed, the judicious use of CGI effects creates very creepy visuals indeed. The problem is that everything around these is just so, well, clichéd. It doesn't matter how well they pull the material off, the fact that it is so utterly unoriginal is its downfall. The longer the movie goes on, the more clichéd and obvious it becomes - a poor effort on behalf of the film makers. There are the stupid people - crawling around in the dark, at night, alone, while all your friends are being killed, really isn't that smart. There are the dark and creepy houses, there are the bumps in the night, and there are the wild chases with the ambiguous killer following. It is so obviously clichéd that it would not be out of place if one of the characters from Scream came around the corner and explained the rules of slasher movies to the Long Time Dead characters.

    The performances are also quite good, if not spectacular, although the total lack of any real character old enough to think that going to raves every night is not actually a good idea does give the film a very immature feel. The young actors do a good job with the material, but it is probably quite safe to say that based on these performances at least, none are destined for super-stardom.

    This movie, as devoid of ideas as it is, cannot be recommended in good conscience to any but genre fans. Those that are looking for a good scare, and to get the hairs on the neck rising (as opposed to the hackles that rise when the clichéd nature becomes apparent), may find it worth checking out.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Somewhat surprisingly for such a small title, this is a very good video transfer. While aliasing is a problem, it still looks considerably better than the battered old theatrical print I saw at the local cinemas.

    Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is excellent - the detail, whether fine or not, is vibrant and easy to see. There is nothing hidden in this transfer, and it presents a wonderfully clean image. There is absolutely no visible grain at all, improving matters further. Shadow detail is equally as good. The lighting is superb, and the night time sequences that comprise the majority of the movie really have a life of their own. There is no low level noise.

    The colours are not quite as good as the shadow detail, but this seems to be a deliberate choice, as they are not as vibrant as could be expected. Highlights are muted, while the dark and neutral colours are heightened. The end result is a very atmospheric look that really adds to the nature of the film.

    There are absolutely no compression artefacts at all in this transfer, and the only film artefacts are tiny and extremely rare. The only problem with the transfer is aliasing. It is present in most shots, and on many occasions is not limited to a single item. Some of the worst examples include the railing from 17:53 to 18:20 and the cigarette (joint) from 46:40 to 46:56, but they are only a mere sample. It is quite distracting, and is even more disappointing given the top of the line nature of the rest of the transfer.

    The subtitles are generally accurate, but do change words on a semi-regular basis. They are nicely paced, and easy enough to read, if not exactly attractive.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change occurring at 49:38 between Chapters 13 and 14. It is well placed on a fade of both video and audio, and is considerably harder to detect than most (although once again, the drop in audio does pin-point it).

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

Audio

    While not in the same league as the video, the audio track is nonetheless impressive.

    There is only a solitary Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps) audio track present on this disc, and it is of the original English dialogue.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. There are no issues with the mixing, and the music and sound effects all combine well. Audio sync is spot on throughout, and never causes a problem.

    The music is a combination of club music and a traditional score, composed by Don Davis. The score is about as clichéd as the movie, and so fits in well, while the club music is generally restricted to the club scenes, making it quite appropriate.

    The surround channel use is sparing, but very effective. There are only a very few instances where the surrounds are really brought into play (supporting the score), but it is this selective use that makes it so effective. When they are used, the effect is all the creepier, and they really help to set the atmosphere for the movie.

    The subwoofer is also very well used. It backs up the club scenes, and any other necessary sound effects, but is not overused at all.

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

Extras

    Despite the seemingly large number of extras, they are all brief and rather uninteresting, which makes them all the more disappointing.

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, animated, themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Featurette 1 (2:47)

    This extremely short piece features interviews with the cast and a crew member (there are no labels, so it is difficult to know who) who all seem to think they have created the next great thing in horror. Sorry guys. Presented at 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette 2 (3:29)

    Running a whopping 42 seconds longer than the previous featurette, it follows almost the exact same format, and contains the cast and crew (there are two this time) saying the same things as before in a slightly different way. Presented at 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Behind The Scenes

    Following the lead of the other menu options by being what it is called, the behind the scenes section presents four short clips taken by a video camera from behind the film cameras as the Ouija scene is filmed. The clips are 0:31, 0:42, 0:24, and 0:16 in length, are presented at 1.78:1, are 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Teaser Trailer (1:24)

    Presented at 1.85:1 (well, there is video footage that is 1.33:1, but it is stretched to fill the 1.85:1 window), 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer is only mildly effective, being a little too much on the gritty side.

Theatrical Trailer (1:40)

    Presented at 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this is a more energetic and interesting trailer. It also shows in just 1:40 that the movie is quite clichéd.

Back To The Future Trilogy Trailer (1:34)

    Presented at 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced (the only non-16x9 enhanced material on this disc), featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer is advertising all three movies in the Back To The Future trilogy, and their DVDs.

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 version of this film available, however a Region 2 version exists that appears to be identical to ours.

Summary

    Long Time Dead is an effective, but extremely clichéd, horror movie. The only thing that sets it apart from all the Hollywood slasher and horror movies is that it is British.

    This could have been one of the best transfers out there. Unfortunately, a plethora of aliasing prevents that, although it is still a very nice transfer.

    The audio quality is very good, presenting a very restrained soundtrack that follows the "less is more" approach, and works well to enhance the movie further.

    The minimal and short extras have almost no interest value at all, and are really not worth bothering with.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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