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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


directed by Adam Bartlett, John Pata
USA 2012


On his day off, slacker Charlie Russell (Joe Belknap) receives a frantic phone call from his long-distance girlfriend Samantha MacReady (Mary Lindberg) about an attack on Minneapolis, and that she and her co-workers are going to attempt to get out of the quarantined city. Stuck in Toledo, Charlie hits upon the idea for them to find their way back to each other in Wausau, Wisconsin where they had their one year anniversary. An indeterminate amount of time later, Charlie has teamed up with Thomas (Aaron Christensen), Meredith (Michelle Courvais), Dustin (Sam Lenz), and Drew (Jess Ader) and is making his way to Wausau across treacherous terrain in which fellow survivors can be just as dangerous as the teaming "infected" (and even more vile). As Charlie recalls or reimagines the brighter days of his relationship with Samantha, it turns out that the other members of the group might have reason to be uneasy with him as the story he's sold them about Wausau doesn't gel with the arrangement he has made with Samantha, and he seems to have adapted to the violence required for their survival with alarming gusto. Could the other members of his team be the titular DEAD WEIGHT?

A surprisingly satisfying entry among the glut of low-budget DTV zombie/outbreak efforts, DEAD WEIGHT manages for the most part to come across as intimate rather than cost-conscious in its small-scale realization of a viral attack thanks to its desolate setting and characters who would realistically want to keep to themselves rather than join the mass-quarantined. Although the mid-ground seems to be missing in between Charlie's increasing ruthlessness in the story proper and his sweet slacker quirkiness in the flashbacks (which are unfold in reverse order), the filmmakers and the actor nevertheless leave us feeling conflicted about what Charlie has become and the fairness of his fate (in fact, the "infected" themselves are largely superfluous to the story and it's a bit of a disappointment when they do show up as we feel neither horror or pity for them). The end result is not groundbreaking, but it should make a satisfying viewing for zombie film fans who have seen it all.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 30 March 2012 (USA)

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DVD Review: Horizon Movies - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Horizon Movies

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:29:40

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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


Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Horizon Movies

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by directors Adam Bartlett and John Pata
• Audio Commentary by actors Joe Belknap and Mary Lindberg
• Extended Scenes (16:9; 13:31)
• Featurette and Outtakes (16:9; 54:17)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:03)

DVD Release Date: 21 January 2014

Chapters 10



Horizon Movies' dual-layer disc provides an okay progressive, anamorphic widescreen SD rendering of this 1080p high definition production (shot with the Sony PMW-F3 camcorder) with the present day scenes looking more washed out than the flashbacks which sport more saturated colors (I can't be sure if the edge enhancement was part of the DVD encoding or part of the camera's or editing program's post-processing). Although the sound design is not as layered as a studio production, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the recommended listening option since it does lend a more subtly enveloping sense of desolation to the body of the film.

Extras include two commentary tracks, the first of which features the two directors having a lighthearted but informative discussion of the production including some less noticeable touches and in-joke references, as well as some of the realities of low-budget filmmaking (spending two weeks to find a car whose owner allowed them to break a window rather than scrapping a shot/scene requiring a time intensive search as well as those times when they followed the advice of their crew to break away from the script when the weather conditions made things inconvenient or dangerous). On the actor track, Belknap and Lindberg get off to an awkward start but their chemistry here is similar to that of their characters and they are able to rattle off shooting anecdotes while discussing their onscreen motivations.

The deleted scenes are extensions of scenes all present in the film but wisely re-edited in the finished film (demonstrating that some conversations cut together in editing more succinctly than they do on paper, allowing the filmmakers a last surprise reveal that was given away in the dialogue of the last extended scene). The behind the scenes featurette also includes an outtakes reel. The film's trailer is the only other extra.

  - Eric Cotenas


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