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directed by Scott Bates and Lee Alliston
UK 2011

 

In February 2008, several videotapes were found at the scene of a brutal crime. THE TAPES tells the story - with the consent of the families of the murder victims - of the fates of Gemma Baker (Natasha Sparkes, BURLESQUE FAIRYTALES), her boyfriend Danny (co-writer Jason Maza, FISH TANK), and his pal Nathan (Arnold Oceng, TV's GRANGE HILL). Gemma drags her boyfriend and his aspiring filmmaker pal on a road trip to put together an audition video for the reality show BIG BROTHER. While looking for picturesque locations, they have a run-in with a creepy farmer (co-director Lee Alliston, TELLING LIES) who - a barmaid (Mandy Lee Berger, ENDURING LOVE) tells them - is rumored to conduct swingers' parties every Friday up at his remote farm. Danny and Nathan decide to break into the farm, tape the "action" and make a quick buck off a few burned DVDs. They convince Gemma that the swingers' party escapade would make a good segment for her audition. They sneak onto the rundown property and discover various S&M accoutrement (along with some stray Tarot cards, creepy symbols painted on the walls, and animal skulls) and realize way too late that they have actually stumbled upon a cult of devil worshipers and they may be the next sacrifices. Conceived over six weeks and shot in six days (after a screening of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY), THE TAPES is well-made, but not very imaginative. The main problem with THE TAPES isn't the thoroughly unlikable trio of main characters, it is that there is nothing more to the logline of kids stumbling upon devil worshipers. Everything unfolds exactly as expected with no novel twists to really goose the "found footage" formula and the end result is just an addition to the the growing CV's of the on- and offscreen talent.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 23 September 2011 (UK)

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DVD Review: Exile Media Group - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Exile Media Group

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:17:33 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.58 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Exile Media Group

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Behind the Scenes (16:9; 8:47)
• Interview with co-director Scott Bates (16:9; 5:18)
• Interview with co-writer/actor Jason Maza (16:9; 7:06)
• Interview with actor Arnold Oceng (16:9; 4:02)
• Interview with actress Natasha Sparkes (16:9; 2:21)
• Slideshow (16:9; 4:11)

DVD Release Date: October 3rd, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Whatever one's feelings about the film, the DVD presentation is very respectful. The combined running time of the film and the extras is roughly 108 minutes and Exile could have fit it all onto a single-layer disc, but they've treated the feature to an extremely high average bitrate of 8.58. The 2.0 stereo audio is appropriate for a film purporting to be found footage from a pair of DV camera (it was actually shot with with an HD camcorder rather than the handheld Sony Handycams held by the actors).

All three actors answer the same series of questions (rendered on text screens) about the shooting schedule, the weather conditions, their cast-mates and the crew, and the challenge of improvising. As one of the writers, Maza has the most realistic grasp of his character (unlike the other two actors, he hasn't embellished his character backstory in the interview beyond what he conveyed onscreen). Co-director Scott Bates gets an interview to himself, while co-director Lee Alliston is given proportionate coverage in the behind-the-scenes featurette. A photo slideshow rounds out the extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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