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Over Your Dead Body (Blu-ray Review)

Over-Your-Dead-BodySCREAM FACTORY™ invites horror enthusiasts and loyal fans to another wild cinematic detour from prolific horror auteur Takashi Miike (AUDITION) when supernatural horror feature OVER YOUR DEAD BODY debuts for the first time on Blu-ray™, DVD, Digital HD, iTunes and available across all major On-Demand entertainment platforms.  This much-anticipated movie premiered in the Vanguard Section of Toronto International Film Festival and has since played in the Sitges Film Festival, Etrange Festival, and the Busan International Film Festival to press acclaim and great audience enthusiasm.  OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is a must-have for movie collectors, horror enthusiasts and loyal fans of Takashi Miike to complete their movie library.  Directed by Takashi Miike, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY is a modern take on one of Japan’s most famous ghost stories.  Taking its cue from the art of Kabuki, the terrifying tale unfolds within the walls of a theatre where a troupe of players are in rehearsals for a production of Yotsuya Kaidan, a 200-year-old tale of murder, betrayal, and phantasmagorical vengeance — and where life comes to imitate art in ultimately shocking ways. 

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Film 

A beautiful actress plays the protagonist in a new play based on a legendary ghost story. She pulls some strings to get her lover cast in the play, although he’s a relatively unknown actor. With the cast in place, rehearsals for the play, about an abusive relationship and a grudge, begin. But off stage, some begin to develop their own obsessions. Trapped between the play and reality, they are horrified to find that a real grudge can cross the blurred line between reality and fantasy. Will love flourish? Or has it already turned hideously dark?

I’m not the world’s biggest Takashi Miike fan.  I liked Audition, but checked out a couple others after and they weren’t connecting with.  Plus, every interview I saw on bonus features with the guy, he came across as an arrogant and super pretentious douche bag.  But, I understand he has or had a big following and I’m open to to liking a film from him, its just his past ones weren’t doing it for me.

Over Your Dead Body was yet again another one that didn’t do it for me.  The film looks really good, and oozes with plenty of style.  There are pretty frames, sets, costumes and scenes that play out.  But, more often than not with the film, I found myself both a little bored and a little lost at times.  Overall, I was just having a hard time jumping into the movie.

Miike does an interesting jump back and forth and the like with his narrative between characters, scenarios and such which is maybe where I might have been getting lost.  There are things that are meant to be this stage production but then aren’t and some are but don’t look like it.  I will admit that its very neat and done artfully, I just wasn’t caring for any of the story of characters through all this, thus my detached feelings on the film as  a whole.

Looking over to see where I fared amongst others who have seen this festival based film, I guess my opinion is kind of warranted as its shared with more than a few.  Overall, my thoughts are that this movie looks great, has a lot of artistic vision, but doesn’t know how to tell its story cohesively enough to make something accessible and enjoyable for the viewer.  It never feels super arthouse, but I suppose that’s where the abstract nature of its narrative would land upon.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a lovely looking picture overall.  It features some bold coloring on a sharp and detailed image.  Costumes feature their patterns and textures popping through as well as surfaces looking lifelike.  Its a romantic feeling image.

Depth:  Great depth work.  A real sense of space and distance with objects and environments.  Movements come across mostly cinematic and smooth.

Black Levels:   Blacks are deep and rich.  Shading and such is a strong suit.  No crushing witness, detailed detraction is minimal.

Color Reproduction:  Colors look pretty gorgeous throughout.  Red is very elegantly displayed as well as golds and bronzes looking quite strong too.  

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones look natural and keep a consistent tone throughout.  Detail is very high on facial details with wrinkles, scuffs and make-up looking fine tuned throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

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

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a solid track that captures the feel and horror of the film nicely.  Its not anything to wow someone, but it works for the film quite well.  Its also sort of a low key film, focusing on dramatic conversation and dialogue play scenes too.

Low Frequency Extension:  Not a lot to write home about here, its a very supporting player.  The movie doesn’t ask much of it though to be fair.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Front speakers capture the back and forth movements and placement of sound with a good delicacy.  Rear speakers primarily focus on ambient sound and score help.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.  Its a hair light in the mix, but its just fine.

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Extras 

Trailer (HD, 2:03)

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Summary 

Well, still not a Takashi Miike fan, though I could say maybe I like a some of his films.  This is not one of them.  Its a beautifully visualize, creatively told confusing bore of a movie.  The Blu-ray presentation is very good, though.  No extras is a bit of a bummer for fans, but you’re getting the film, so it should be good enough for the Miike collectors out there.

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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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