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Big Bad Wolves (Blu-ray Review)

Big Bad Wolves -www.whysoblu.comA series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: the father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings – a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder. Quentin Tarantino called Big Bad Wolves the best film of the year (2013) . Okay, I’m in!

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Big Bad Wolves - www.whysoblu.com

Film 

With the moniker of “Quentin Tarantino’s favorite film of the year” clearly displayed on every bit of promotional material there was advertising Big Bad Wolves one would think that it would be overshadowed by false hype. Boy, I’m glad I can dispel that with this review, because Big Bad Wolves was certainly a surprise for this reviewer. Brutal murders have plagued a small city where young girls have been found raped and mutilated and a suspect has been taken into custody. The suspect is later released due to a technicality. Soon thereafter another victim of the killer is found in the woods and the police officer originally assigned to the case is dismissed due to incompetence. That police officer is Micki (Lior Ashenazi) and he was the officer that initially arrested the suspected killer (Rotem Keinan) but went overboard and beat him. Micki didn’t know that a kid out in in the same abandoned building he was in was filming him. The video of the beating goes viral and Micki is dismissed and the suspect is released.

To make matters worse, or more interesting, depending on your point of view, the suspect is also a schoolteacher. When the latest murder victim is found, killed the same exact way as the rest, the grieving father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad), takes matters into his own hands by coming up with a plan to kidnap, torture, and ventrally kill the suspected murderer. The rub in that master plan is that Micki has already thought of the same thing, so it looks like a little cooperation is in order. Once they kidnap the teacher and hold him captive in Gidi’s secluded cabin out in the middle of the forest the duo turn into “bad cop, bad cop” and proceed to extract the information that is needed. I may have mentioned that the victims had all been mutilated and to be a bit more specific: they were decapitated. The heads were never found. Gidi wants the location of his daughter’s head. Only then will he grant the abductee a quick death. On the opposite end of that spectrum if he does not comply then a slow and painful death will be handed down.

The initial synopsis of the film is intriguing enough as it is but it’s even crazier once you start seeing it play out on screen. Big Bad Wolves is laced with scathing humor, brutal violence, and Brothers Grimm flourishes. It’s literally an adult fairy tale about murder, revenge, and retribution, with some hearty laughs thrown into it. Yeah, you might wonder where the laughs come into play on a film that doesn’t seem to play off of humor. Well, I would suggest watching the trailer. The laughs aren’t played as comedic beats or slapstick. They’re used more in the way of customs and they’re more situational and ironic, as well.

I believe the strong performances are what keep Big Bad Wolves from turning into a typical “torture porn” type of flick. You have the gritty cop who tends to always get his criminal by using not-so-traditional (or legal) means of persuasion. You have the baby faced “normal” looking teacher who is suspected of heinous crimes, who swears he did nothing wrong, because he has strong familial ties just like Micki. The same goes for Gidi – what would you do if you had the person you knew was guilty of killing your daughter right in front of you and you could do anything to this person? Gidi doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions, because he is past all of that. It’s time for revenge.  Big Bad Wolves navigates through dark terrain that will leave you out of breath by the end of the film. It’s a harrowing journey into madness and into the hearts of men and the lengths they would go to for closure in the death of a loved one.  If you have a pulse then you will be riveted until the very end. I can honestly say that Quentin Tarantino was right. Big Bad Wolves deserves your attention.

 

Big Bad Wolves - www.whysoblu.com

Video

Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Big Bad Wolves on Blu-ray has a very natural picture quality. You can tell from the opening scenes that the filmmakers did not go crazy with over processing or boosting of any kind. That’s very appreciated in this day of lens flare galore.

Depth: The level of depth in Big Bad Wolves is staggering in that the scenes located inside of the cabin are very welcoming and are enhanced by the low light levels. Assuming you don’t visit the cold basement of course.

Black Levels: Black levels were steady and I only detected very minimal crush – nothing to drag the video score down with.

Color Reproduction: Color levels were great and you could actually tell that they went for a more natural look as opposed to boosting them up a bit during postproduction. The colors pop but they don’t venture into rainbow-brite territory. I detected zero instances of banding.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones were natural even during the torture scenes.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not detect any noise or anomalies during BD playback.

Big Bad Wolves - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

Audio Format(s): Hebrew DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (dubbed)

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Big Bad Wolves on Blu-ray is near reference in terms of quality. There are several scenes in the film that contrast each other like one in particular where a real estate agent is used to test out how quiet the basement is with regards as to whether you can hear screams from downstairs into the rest of the house upstairs. The sound design in those scenes was grand. Even during the scenes of torture and violence the lossless track handled the chaos really well.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel kept it nice and tight with the low-end sonics. The subwoofer only enhanced the wonderful bass levels that came from the front speaker.  The LFE channel was absent of distortion.

Surround Sound Presentation: Big Bad Wolves is a front heavy film in terms of sound, which was really neat to hear how much the rear channels opened up and included plenty of ambience sounds during the scenes taking place outside. You could hear birds and critters in the day and nighttime sequences as if you were right there.

Dialogue Reproduction: When people aren’t screaming they’re talking in an almost hushed and civilized manner. The center channel brings clear depth to the spoken word in Big Bad Wolves. No complaints here.

Big Bad Wolves - www.whysoblu.com

Extras 

Big Bad Wolves is limited in extras and only contains a short featurette with cast and crew, a repackaged AXS TV featurette that contains footage and interviews from the original featurette, and the theatrical trailer. All are presented in HD.

  • Making of Big Bad Wolves (HD, 16:17) – This featurette is presented in Hebrew with English subtitles and features the cast and directors as they talk about filming Big Bad Wolves. It’s an entertaining featurette.
  • AXS TV: A Look at Big Bad Wolves (HD, 2:57) – AXZ TV tends to be redundant and create a streamlined featurette that takes footage from the original featurette and compresses it for those that don’t like details. It’s a crib notes version of the first featurette presented.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:43) – The trailer that highlights the disturbing journey that you are to take while watching the film. It’s presented in high definition for your viewing pleasure.

 

Big Bad Wolves - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

 Big Bad Wolves is an extremely dark film that is filled with more than enough comedic moments broken up by scenes of ultra violence. All of this with a great Tim Burton-esque musical score makes Big Bad Wolves one of this year’s great amazing discoveries. It’s now available on Blu-ray and with very light extras topped by stellar video and audio specs I suspect that mystery-thriller-horror-comedy fans will have their fill. Big Bad Wolves on Blu-ray definitely huffs and puffs and will blow your house down!

 

Order Big Bad Wolves on Blu-ray!

Big Bad Wolves - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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