Soul Survivors (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 13-May-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 81:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve Carpenter
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Casey Affleck
Wes Bentley
Eliza Dushku
Angela Featherstone
Melissa Sagemiller
Luke Wilson
Case ?
RPI $26.95 Music Daniel Licht


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 Smoking Yes, mostly by Eliza Dushku
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

I didn't see this movie in the cinema, so I cannot tell you if the version on this disc is the one shown theatrically here in Australia, or if it has been cut. Compared with the Region 1 DVD, which is "the version you weren't allowed to see on the big screen!", this version is definitely cut. If this is the version shown theatrically, then that's a reasonable thing. The theatrical version of the movie was apparently rated PG-13 in the USA, while the R1 DVD scores an R rating, so there are definitely differences. According to IMDB, the theatrical version ran 84 minutes, which matches well (after PAL conversion) to the running time of the R4 disc. The Region 1 DVD runs 85:31.

The Region 1 DVD makes more sense to me. It includes a brief scene before the opening credits which starts a minor plot thread which is completely absent from the Region 4 DVD. The Region 1 has a different, somewhat longer, ending. And it has at least four added or extended scenes in the middle I only noticed four, plus the start and end, but I wasn't conducting a detailed analysis.

This film is billed as a psychological thriller. I think that horror is a little more accurate, although this movie walks a fine line between the two genres.

Have you seen Blade? Remember the opening scene in the meat locker rave, before things got a bit bloody? If you liked that techno music and dance scene, then you'll like some of the scenes in this film there are some that seem a bit derivative of that. Don't get the impression that this film is much like Blade, though there's no action content. We get to see Eliza Dushku dancing again, looking a lot like Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer that will be a plus for her fans.

Although there are lots of spoilers out there in the big bad world, I don't want to add to them, so I'm going to say very little about this film's plot you really want to let it unfold before you at its own pace. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) I don't even want to comment openly on the order of the cast listing, with Melissa Sagemiller placed fifth, even though she is in virtually every scene of the film. I suspect this is a deliberate misdirect, as is the shot on the menu, with Eliza Dushku at the front, flanked by Casey Affleck and Wes Bentley, with Melissa at the back.

This is not the most original of films, but it is interesting, not too confronting, and rather entertaining. Try not to anticipate things, and you'll enjoy it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so that's good.

The picture is fairly sharp, and quite clear. Shadow detail is excellent, which is good, because some important scenes take place in low-light conditions. There's no appreciable grain. There is no low-level noise.

Colour is marvellous. There are some deep rich colours on display, and they are rendered well. There are no colour-related artefacts.

I saw no film artefacts if there are any, they must be very very small. There's no noticeable aliasing, no moire, and no other MPEG artefacts. An impressive effort. I noticed a little bit of shimmer on an interlaced display that wasn't visible on my primary review equipment if your display is large and interlaced, you may see this light shimmer, maybe.

There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired, and that's all. They are accurate, well-timed, and easy to read.

The disc is single sided and single layered. There is no layer change, which is nice. The film is short enough that it doesn't need a lot of compression to fit onto the one layer, and there are no extras to compete for room.

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

Audio

There are two soundtracks, both English. One is in Dolby Digital 5.1, the other in Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded. I only listened to the 5.1. This is a good 5.1 soundtrack, and it is nice that they didn't need to tamper with it to support stereo down-mix (that's why the 2.0 soundtrack is present).

The dialogue is almost always comprehensible, and you'll miss none of the storyline if you miss a word or two of the less-than-clear pieces of dialogue. The only audio sync problem I noticed was a second or so at 59:19, when Eliza Dushku's mouth and voice are quite out (I'm not even sure it's her voice). This mismatch doesn't appear on the Region 1 disc, but the dialogue is somewhat different (definitely not PG-13 dialogue!) so it looks like the R4 dialogue is an overdub. This is clearly an ADR issue, not a disc mastering problem.

The score, from Daniel Licht, is classic horror movie material. It's effective. There are 15 songs included in the soundtrack, some techno, some metal they work well in context.

The subwoofer gets plenty to do, with some good throbbing bass. The surrounds are not neglected either the soundtrack is utterly immersive at times, and the surrounds are never completely silent.

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

Extras

The disc is totally devoid of extras.

Menu

The menu is static, but has music. It has only three items on it:

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.

As I mentioned above, the Region 4 disc is quite different from the Region 1. The Region 1 DVD is promoted as "The Killer Cut" it is a special edition, and a different cut from the theatrical release. The differences aren't large in terms of screen minutes, but I think it is more coherent. As for the extras, well, the Region 4 disc has none, and the Region 1 has:

There is a strange start to this R1 disc. When the disc is inserted, you get a choice of three options. As far as I can tell, this choice just controls the transition to the main menu, and the animation and music of the main menu nothing more. The three choices are:

An interesting difference is that the R1 disc has Spanish subtitles (only), while the R4 has only English. If you need subtitles, then that difference could be important to you.

One area where the Region 1 and Region 4 are equivalent is transfer quality both feature essentially reference quality video and audio transfers.

I strongly recommend the Region 1 disc over the Region 4 the version of the movie is better, and it has lots of extras. Maybe the retail Region 4 version will offer the better cut and lots of extras cross your fingers!

Summary

An interesting horror film, on rather a good DVD. Shame the Region 1 is so much better.

The video quality is reference level.

The audio quality is reference level, save for one piece of bad ADR.

The extras are, um, missing....

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS905V, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - John Z
Web Wombat - James A
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
AllZone4DVD - Frank D

Comments (Add)
Eliza Dushku. . .lesbian scene. . .must get. - Cardiff Giant (Must have the word 'bio' or 'biography' in it)
Cut Version? No thanks... - REPLY POSTED