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Nomads (Blu-ray Review)

NomadsIf you’ve never been frightened by anything, you’ll be frightened by this! Scream Factory presents Nomads, the chilling tale of supernatural evil, in its Blu-ray debut on August 18, 2015, complete with new bonus feature interviews.  Lesley-Anne Down (Sphinx, Death Wish V) “gives a riveting… performance” (L.A. Weekly) and Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye, The November Man) is top-notch in “the most stylish supernatural-themed chiller… since Carrie” (Variety)! Also starring Adam Ant (Slam Dance), Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000) and Frank Doubleday (Escape from New York) and written and directed by John McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October), Nomads is a “chiller thriller [that’s] brimming with menace and suspense” (Judith Crist)!

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Film 

They creep. They kill… and no one knows who they are or where they came from. But when these rootless, demonic spirits descend on a determined doctor, all hell breaks loose. Bitten by a dying madman named Jean Pommier, Dr. Eileen Flax becomes the vessel for his turbulent and insane thoughts. Thrust into his last days, she is shocked to discover the existence of mysterious and murderous demons on a quest for destruction… and begins her own quest to somehow stop them before she joins Pommier in his horrifying fate!

As I mentioned when I did the announcement for this one that it was one that seemed to be in the horror section of all the video stores I grew up around.  Being a Remington Steele fan, having Pierce Brosnan’s mug on the cover intrigued me.  Yet, I never got around to renting or ever viewing this one until now.  What I didn’t know is that it was Die Hard and Predator director John McTiernan’s debut.

And while Brosnan’s profile is all over the posters and press imagery for the film, McTiernan is the real star of this film.  He’s got a terrific craft going on and sense of dread, spook, jump and atmosphere.  Without him, this movie probably would have been a piece of junk, even though, yes he’s the writer of the film.

I really enjoy the heck out of this film’s structure.  We get to see the last week of Pierce Brosnan’s character’s life through a doctor that’s being haunted by it.  She’s sort of going through those motions and we’re seeing what’s actually going on with him.  It makes for some good twists, turns and surprises in the narrative.

Pierce Brosnan here is unfortunately playing a French man, and with such has to do an accident which at times sounds like someone who say a French character in a movie one time.  You get used to it, buts its not the best from him.  Our co-lead, Lesley-Anne Down is fine for the most part, but is unable to pull off some stronger, louder emotional moments that you almost giggle wondering if it was seriously the best take.  Its not all over the film, mind you, but it does happen here and there.

Overall, Nomads is interesting enough, a tale with an interesting structure.  What’s best about this is to see the strength of direction on McTiernan’s part as a first time director.  It was this film that Arnold Schwarzenegger saw and decided he needed him to helm Predator.  After that was Die Hard and we all know how well it went for him.  But, like many in Hollywood, one of the great action directors of course got his start in horror.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Like Brosnan’s French accent, this isn’t the greatest outing for Scream Factory.  This image is softer and features a solid but rougher looking image.  Detail is okay, but primarily good in close ups.  I don’t know the condition of the print, or if the master given to them was signed off on already being a done deal.  Its a fine watch, but it doesn’t have a terrific look to it.

Depth:  Solid.  Movments are cinematic and characters appears mostly loose and free in their environments.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and feature heavier grain in poorly lit scenes.  A lot of crushing happens, too.

Color Reproduction:  This isn’t the most colorful of films, but when its away from the blacks, grays and the like, color is represented decently.  The film has a sort of dingy look to it anyway.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Detail is okay.  Its really good in close ups with wrinkles, scratches and the like.

Noise/Artifacts: Lots of grain and some dirt/specs.  There is crushing and some blocking issues throughout.

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Audio 

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

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a solid presentation.  There are a few times where the vocals, music or sound effects steps on one another’s toes, but they are few and far between.  For the most part this track delivers and gives a good scary performance.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is a bit analog sounding, but clear and at an ideal volume.

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Extras 

Nomads features an additional promotional image on the reverse side of the cover.

Interview With Lesley-Ann Down (HD, 16:28) – The actress talks about a film having a cult following.  She also goes over how she got the part, “working, but not” with Pierce Brosnan and how the film was better than she thought it would be.

Interview With Composer Bill Conti (HD, 17:24) – The legendary composer goes into great detail on his work in the film and the uniqueness of John McTiernan.  He was actually brought onto the film before McTiernan was the director on it.

Radio Spot (HD, :33) 

Still Gallery (HD, 3:02) – Posters, promotional photos, test photos, lobby cards

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:06) 

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Summary 

Well, Nomads didn’t blow me away and its not some hidden gem film just being rediscovered on a Blu-ray release.  Its better than average, but what got me most is how well directed the film is, which makes sense when you see its McTiernan at the helm.  The presentation here is a bit middle-ground but for the most part fine.  I was impressed that it came with brand new extras let alone any.  Anyone picking this one up for the right price should be pretty pleased with Scream Factory’s release.

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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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