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The Dead Room (Blu-ray Review)

Dead-RoomStep inside The Dead Room, where something sinister guards a home’s horrifying secrets.  This moody supernatural thriller makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut September 6, 2016 from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight.  Fans of this chilling film can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.

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Film 

Inspired by a 1970s urban legend, this atmospheric nerve shredder follows two scientists and a young psychic as they investigate mysterious occurrences at a remote farmhouse. Skepticism quickly turns to terror as the researchers’ visit unsettles a seriously angry demonic presence possessing the home. Upping the white-knuckle suspense with visceral camerawork and unsettling sound design, The Dead Roomcreates a sense of palpable danger lurking in every corner and hallway.

In modern horror cinema, especially ghost stories and haunted houses, we’ve sort of seen this aspect of checking out a haunted house or following “ghost hunters/researchers” as they discover some real evil based upon some true story/legend.  The Dead Room is not remaking the wheel here, nor does the film ever want you to think that.  Its the basis they have to set up their scares and tactics.  And all really doesn’t matter at the end of the day, its how well you execute that means the most.  Its why we can both have and praise two films like Insidious and The Conjuring within a year or so of one another.

What makes The Dead Room more impressive is how much fun and jumpy it is with, what I’m guessing, is little to know money.  And the other thing is; the film looks a lot more expensive than it probably was.  There is some definite talent here behind the camera.  I couldn’t believe how well down and attention getting a lot of the film’s scares were.  It mainly equates to just unseen forces crafting some hell within a given room of a run down haunted house, but man does it work so well.  Because the action beats work so well, it mounts the tension for many of the film’s quieter scenes as you are a little on edge wondering if you’re about the enter another crazy storm or if you’re just getting some more story.

I hope I’m not overselling the film, but its just a well put together popcorn ghost story flick.  The cast here, by and large, sells this things quite good and manages to have a good chemistry with one another.  There really isn’t a whole lot of bad going on around here.  The film never tries to go above what it is, while at the same time able to deliver above and beyond its call of duty.

The Dead Room finds itself being a low budget film with a plenty of talent to it, bringing a large sense of craft and execution to it making it not even feel the least bit marred by its limitations.  Its a film that plays hard on sensory feelings with not a whole lot of “showing” and is incredibly effective and able to pull it off.  Don’t be fooled by the crappy cover artwork on this release, its nothing like the type of film that is trying to make you think it is.  Its not a great film, but it definitely is a fun exercise in some spookhouse terror.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  The Dead Room has a nice, living, breathing image.  Its a very crisp and sharp one that boldly features a strong picture to varying degrees of color.  Detail is abundant as witnessed by the rotted up, broken down house and being able to see every bit of wood splintering, rust and damage done to the walls.  Its a terrific modern picture that plays a little bit above what you’d expect.

Depth:  Some really solid 3-dimensional work here.  Where it plays great is during some “windy” sequence with people floating or getting thrown across a room.  Movements are smooth and natural with no sign on of blurring or distortion.

Black Levels:  A good deal of beautiful shading and some great displays of darkly lit scenes make to help a beautiful looking image.  No crushing witnessed and detail on dark hair/clothing/surfaces is maintained well throughout.

Color Reproduction:  Colors hang on a natural look with a a more blue-filter look on some the really dark scenes in the film.  They pop to a good and restrained degree without overtaking the picture and keeping things looking bold.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones for the most part are natural, but some scenes provide filtering that can make it a hair colder.  Facial details on wrinkles, dimples, make-up, lip texture and more are appealing from most degrees of distance from the camera.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  What makes viewing this movie so damn fun is the 5.1 mix attached to it.  Its almost at a amusement park ride-like quality.  This film is predicated on playing with sound and your sensory reactions and feelings on the audio beats.  This mix is loud with its effects and harnesses a face smacking, edge of your seat experience when shit hits the fan in the film. Keep honest and on your toes during this one.

Low Frequency Extension:  A big, prime time player in this mix.  Slamming of doors, crashing of boards and all out freaky as hell loud ghost sounds all rock your room and shake it with great, deep use of the sub woofer.  It’ll pop you from your seat.

Surround Sound Presentation:  There is plenty of crazy stuff happening in the house that takes us 365 degrees of your viewing space.  Front speakers whip back and forth with poltergeist-like unpredictable fashion.  Rear channels get their due too, surprising you hear and there while bumping up the spooky ambiance.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is at a lower bit than the effects, but its done by design.  Its clear, crisp and fills the room nicely. 

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Extras 

Trailer (HD, 1:43)

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Summary 

The Dead Room is a nice, fun blast of jump scares and haunted house terror.  Part of what makes that great is this Blu-ray’s terrific audio and video presentation.  While I’d love to know more about this film’s production, the extras leave us completely in the dark; only a trailer is present on this disc.  This one is a pretty high recommendation for a rental and if you dig it that much, its worth a purchase at suitable price point.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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