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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Big Bad Wolves aka 'Mi mefahed mezeev hara' [Blu-ray]


(Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado, 2013)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: United Channel Movies

Video: Magnolia Home Entertainment



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:49:43.577

Disc Size: 44,694,193,044 bytes

Feature Size: 36,498,493,440 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 22nd, 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Hebrew 3990 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3990 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB)
DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio English 3806 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3806 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), English (Narrative), English, French, Spanish, none



Making of Big Bad Wolves (16:17 in Hebrew with English subtitles - 1080P)

• AXS TV: A Look at Big Bad Wolves (2:57)

• Theatrical trailer (1:43)

• Previews from Magnolia





Description: A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: the father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.


The vengeful father of a young murder victim, a rogue police detective, and a religious teacher who's become the prime suspect in a brutal series of killings are drawn into a conflict that threatens to turn tragic as authorities race to capture an elusive killer.



The Film:

A foul tale foully told, the Israeli horror flick “Big Bad Wolves” begins on a dreamy, once-upon-a-time note with three children playing hide-and-seek. As a boy counts down, two girls, one dressed in red and the other in blue, enter a derelict building. One stays, the other leaves; one dies; the other, well, who knows, much less cares, what happens to her? Certainly not the writers and directors, Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, for whom murdered children are just an easy, conveniently blunt and effectively faceless (and headless) means to a self-satisfied, jokey and blood-slicked end.

In other words, there’s a serial killer loose, and he’s raping, torturing and decapitating girls, whose heads he then hides, mainly, it seems, to give this otherwise generic setup extra ick. As the police futilely chase clues, a motley triangle emerges: a suspended cop, Micki (Lior Ashkenazi); a religious teacher, Dror (Rotem Keinan); and a mourning father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad). In time, the three converge in an isolated cabin that turns into a chamber of horrors as they play a psychological game of no exit amid Jewish mother jokes, some noshing and one character’s — after taking a blowtorch to another man’s chest — sniffing the air and wistfully reminiscing about barbecue.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Aharon Keshales and Avot Papushado’s debut feature Rabies — an escalation-of-disasters shaggy-dog tale with a Coenesque vibe — marked out the Israeli writer-directors as talents to watch. That promise is more than fulfilled in their second film, which manages a tricky balance of horror and black comedy. Its premise echoes other movies, including the recent Prisoners, but Big Bad Wolves takes a fresh approach. The War On Terror subtext has a deeper, darker meaning in an Israeli context, where the filmmakers suggest everyone has learned torture techniques during military service.

Excerpt from Empire Online located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Big Bad Wolves was shot on digital (Arri Alexa) and looks quite good on Blu-ray from Magnolia via a dual-layered disc with max'ed out bitrate. The image quality has all the clarity and crispness we've come to expect from this production format with the usual thickness and minor smearing effects in-motion. Colors seem bright and true and contrast had no flaring instances looking very adept in the darker basement scenes. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark and there was no noise. This Blu-ray exports the film's video probably about as well as it did theatrically/ It is pristinely clean and provides a worthy presentation.

















Audio :

Audio is the Blu-ray's strongest suit, IMO. We get a powerful DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a resounding 3990 kbps in original Henrew and a similarly robust, but superfluous, English DUB. Effects are crisp but I was most taken with Haim Frank Ilfman's intense score that reminded me of Herrmann (strings). It's beautiful work supporting the film's darker moments building brooding drama and suspense. It sounds extremely effective via the lossless. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Magnolia offer a 16-minute HD 'Making of Big Bad Wolves' piece in Hebrew with English subtitles. It has the principals discussing the production - and offers some insight into the film's evolution. There is also a brief AXS TV: A Look at Big Bad Wolves advert running less than 3-minutes, a trailer and some Magnolia Previews.



I found Big Bad Wolves an odd, compelling but essentially hollow film experience. Yes, the much-talked about violence is gruesome but that didn't deter me. I did appreciate the intensity but the unusual, enigmatic, black comedic sequences left me puzzled. They seemed out of place and incongruous to me (perhaps their point?). The mix of realistic torture (sometimes centering on children) and humor was, certainly... unusual if not distasteful. I think it is a bold attempt - and for that I credit the filmmakers. The Blu-ray is solid offering a stellar way to view the film. I don't think I'll give a full recommendation here - I probably need to see it again to fully appreciate the finer points - but those keen to see the Big Bad Wolves in the comfort of their Home Theatres can rest assured the Blu-ray is the way to go. 

Gary Tooze

April 12th, 2014


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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