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Devil’s Mile (DVD Review)

Devil's-MileRoad horror movies aren’t super rare, but they don’t come incredibly often.  Normally they are the “killer is following us!” fashion.  Those like The Hitcher and Joyride.  But, I can’t seem to come up with any that deal with supernatural demons in a sort of ghost movie.  This premise did interest me a bit as it sounded sort of From Dusk Til Dawn with ghosts on the highway type thing.  Although, worry sets in when I see the director is also the guy who wrote Robocop: Prime Directives, which I attempted to watch but just couldn’t make it through.  Boredom City.  Maybe his hand would fare better as the “prime director”.

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Film 

On the run following a kidnapping gone all kinds of wrong, 3 ex-convicts find themselves lost on the road.  In their trunk are 2 teenage Asian girls they’ve taken hostage.  After a disturbing turn at a gas station shop they take to a long stretch of highway from which the attendant says there is no return.  The highway proves just that.  Haunted, and seemingly inescapable.

Devil’s Mile isn’t the greatest low-budget horror film in the world, but its an absolutely admirable one.  The film knows its restraints, but isn’t afraid to try and push the envelope with them.  It tells the story its able to and keeps things minimalist and has a sense of restraint.

Our setting is a deserted stretch of road, 2 vehicles and primarily 3 characters (5 but, 2 are brief).  Oh and there’s also a demon floating about.  Thanks to some CG visuals, this regular setting is given a very dreamlike and otherworldly vibe as if our characters crossed into another dimension.  The lighting and transparencies used illuminate in a surreal and haunting fashion.

For as low budget as this is, there’s some impressive effect work.  There are a lot of practical make-up going on with wounds and gashing that look quite lovely.  Many instance marry practical and CG together in a very cool fashion.  The demon in the film however was ever so slightly hit and miss for me.  At times it was cool looking, and then there were instances where it was distractingly bad and reminded me of that crappy thing in last year’s Mama.

Driving down the Devil’s Mile was an all right little journey.  Its very much a mystery/mindgame horror film using a stretch of open barren road as a sort of haunted house.  Some real talent was used to make this movie and I’ll be eager to see if anything else comes in the near future from this director.  There was a cool little homage to John Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness with the opening credits too that I got a bit of a kick out of.  As it is, its a pretty decent horror flick that can easily entertain.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a rather nice looking detailed image.  Closeups of the road lends to a nice view of its surface.  Also dents and dirt on the car and the van are visual.

Depth:  There is some solid distance in shots that show a character in the foreground comparative to the long stretch of highway.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and nighttime scenes soak up any kind of detail in the background and cover the image pretty good aside from lit characters.

Color Reproduction:  The bleached image kind of sucks a lot of life out of the color in the film.  Yell0ws and greens are standouts however.

Flesh Tones: Its a bleached looking image, so everybody’s skin is very white.  Detail is solid, especially easy to make out flesh wounds to the face.

Noise/Artifacts: None witnessed

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Surround

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  For a DVD presentation, its a solid track.  A lot of good loud moments to scare and the track tries its best to give you the feeling of being secluded in a vehicle.

Low Frequency Extension:  Some good enhancement to banging on doors, connecting of tire irons and gunshots.

Surround Sound Presentation: If you listen closely, aside from ambiance, there are some ghoulish sounds coming from the rear.  Also the car/van driving by gets some good right-left and front-back usage.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Clear, clean and front heavy.

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Extras 

Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Joe O’Brien, Producer Mark Opausky and actor David Hayter take us through the adventure of making this film.

The Visual Effects Of Devil’s Mile (SD, 6:02) – A step by step process of some of the visual effects shots in the film.  Its a very well done piece that shows the original footage all the way to the final product letting you see just exactly what was being done.  You then get to see a side by side comparison of the original shot and the finished one.

Trailer (SD, 1:30)

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Summary 

Devil’s Mile is a neat little road horror/haunted house movie that does a lot of good with what is obviously very little money.  The little extras this DVD has are very solid and the presentation is about as good as one could hope for when stepping down to the inferior format.  I definitely recommend seeing this film before making a purchase though.  But, if you like the film, this DVD has done well enough to own.

Devil's-Mile-DVD

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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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