The Demented (Blu-ray Review)

DementedEverybody seems to want to get into the zombie business these days.  And if you want to be different or above that, you go and call them “infected”.  Back in the early 1980s, everybody wanted to cash in on the slasher genre.  They were cheap to make and could win you a healthy profit at the box office.  In this last decade and still going now, the zombie film seems to be the modern day slasher in those terms.  With the advent of being able to do CG or easily seclude people and bloody up some extras, every seems to have a story to tell.  And the zombies do sell very well.  So why not?  Anchor Bay brings us another example of this with their new release, The Demented.  It’s a film that has a solid finish, but pitter patters on its way there.

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In The Demented, six college friends are planning a weekend of debauchery at the home of one of their parents in Louisiana.  All of a sudden a terrorist attack happens nearby.  Suddenly animals and people are acting possessed, full of rage.  They are attacking, killing and eating people.  The friends must band together and find a way out of town.

Within eight minutes of this film I was introduced to six characters.  Six characters whom I’d have to spend most of the 90 minutes with.  I hated every single one of them.  For the first 30 minutes of the film, nothing is really happening.  Its just the friends hanging out and trying to increase their level of annoyance.  Finally something appears to happen, but its rather misleading.  Stuff does occur, but none of it happens on screen.  And when we do get a character swinging an axe/bat/whathaveyou, the film cuts away.  And when there is danger looming outside, we never really see it.  We only just see the friends sitting around acting scared in the room.  This is pretty much the first hour of the film.  Its very mild and for zombie/infected horror its weak.

Toward the end, this thing finally kicks in and becomes what it should’ve been the entire way.  The violence is visible, there’s blood, there’s chases.  There seems to be a sense of suspense and action.  Why were they holding back the entire time?  This film actually works and is entertaining for its final 20 minutes if you’ve actually not shut it off by then.  I completely forgot how much I loathed these people and was enjoying seeing them in the thrill of the chase.  The film actually looks like it has some production value too.  While they are stuck in the house I felt like they had three people they kept trying to make look like multiple hordes of zombies.  In the end, there’s plenty of different people and in large chunks too.

Ultimately this movie is cheap and kind of feels it.  It tries to hard to save its budget early on and stretch it to a feature’s length.  The last 20 minutes a pretty entertaining and a reward, I suppose, for sticking around.  But it’s a steep climb to get there and I’m not sure many would have the endurance to wait around.  Its got an interesting idea of freezing still zombies, but it never relishes in it or explores the concept very far.  The characters are completely obnoxious and hard to get behind, they keep holding back on the action and showing us some good effects.  What it ultimately gets to is solid, but not worth the wait to get there.

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Anchor Bay delivers a stellar 1080p MPEG-4 AVC to infect your screen.  Detail runs very high throughout every step of the 1.78:1 picture.  Facial texture is extremely detailed and comes across as very real.  The film even shakes around cuts rapidly, but this picture manages to keep its head on straight.  The surfaces of the road and walls provide lifelike texture creating a very 3 dimensional picture.  The colors in the film are very strong and well defined.  If this release gets one thing right, its this window-like picture quality.  It’s pretty flawless.

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The Demented tells its story through a front-heavy DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that is lackluster in comparison to its video counterpart.  The dialogue’s audio gets muffled and blends in too much with the score and sound effects.  During heavier action scenes, there’s no real balance between effects, music and character’s voices and its all one monotonous sound.  There’s no real interplay with the speakers either.  It’s a track that just merely passable and doesn’t enhance the feature in any way.

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The only extra provided is a DVD copy of the film.  Before the main menu there is a trailer for The Amazing Adventures Of The Living Corpse.

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If you’re really in need of a quick zombie-fix, The Demented may be your route.  Anchor Bay brings the infected to life with a perfect video clarity and a murky audio track.  There’s no bonus material present, but I’m not sure anyone would be interested in learning more about the film.  The film’s 3rd act is its strongest, but its something many might not have the patience to get there.  The film dilly dallys and brings no character development or any depth to the film while waiting to bring its intensity.  The characters are unidentifiable and highly unlikable.  I found myself rooting against everyone in this film for a good hour.  I recommend this to zombie fans desperate for some new zombie stuff.



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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