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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Jake Helgren
USA 2014

 

It's the big Halloween game exactly one year after the principal's popular daughter Ginny died in an accident involving excessive alcohol consumption and a cheerleader pyramid. Head cheerleader Diane (Elle LaMont, MACHETE KILLS) has disappeared, but that doesn't prevent the rest of the squad from rallying the student body before skipping the school dance for a private party with the jocks at the old Williamson farmhouse with plenty of beer, cocaine, and dry humping. Someone wearing the school's politically incorrect Native American mascot costume starts picking off the cheerleaders and jocks with a bow and arrow and a hatchet, and there are plenty of suspects: the principal (Jeff Runnels, Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL) who blames them for his daughter's death, hunter Rick Youngblood (Chris Hlozek, ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES) who blames them for his son Ben's (Tyler Mann) nervous breakdown after his girlfriend's death, Ben himself who was a vegetable until the night before Halloween when he escaped the rehab facility, the bullied nerd who wears the mascot costume Herman (Vincent Giovagnoli), and even nice-guy towel boy Jeff (Wesley Scott, A TEACHER) who is pining for virginal new girl Hannah (Lexi Giovagnoli, 1 CHANCE TO DANCE) who has taken Ginny's place on the squad as well as her man Blaine (Blair Jackson).

A pseudo-follow-up to BLOODY HOMECOMING which written by this film's director Jake Helgren, VARSITY BLOOD is not particularly innovative as a slasher film but that may be one of its strengths. It's somewhere in between a throwback to eighties slasher films and SCREAM-era recursive slasher films rather than more recent attempts to re-invent the genre that emphasize the "white trashiness" of its unlikable characters. The character names are all nods to slasher actors (Bochner, Brophy, Barton, Saxon, Ironside, Paxton, Donaldson, and so on), the characters are relatively likable (even the jerkier ones), and the acting is uneven but not so much to be distracting (DTV scream queen Debbie Rochon [BLEED, DEAD CLOWNS] appears as Hannah's overprotective "stage mom" of a mother). The gore effects are thankfully practical and gooey, although the night scenes may be too dark to appreciate some of them (particularly since the look of these scenes seems to have been digitally retooled in post-production). While VARSITY BLOOD is ultimately forgettable as a DTV slasher film, one would hope that if Helgren continues on in this vein, he'll come up with a more ambitious script with more dimensional characters, a more novel twist on the conventions of the genre, and hopefully the budget to realize it.

Eric Cotenas

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 19 August 2014 (USA)

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DVD Review: Image Entertainment / RLJ Entertainment - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Image Entertainment / RLJ Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:23:09 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.45 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 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment / RLJ Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Start-up Trailers for 'Hunting the Legend', 'Club Dread', and 'The Invoking'

DVD Release Date: August 18th, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 6

 

Comments

Image's single-layer disc features an adequate bitrate for their anamorphic transfer of this digitally-lensed slasher film, so it is likely the fault of aggressive digital color correction and an artifical film grain filter for some video defects (particularly around blown-out highlights in which bits of said "film grain" outline and emphasize) while what edge enhancement is evident may be part of the original camera video compression. Audio is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes. The 5.1 has some atmosphere in the surrounds but mainly gives a bit more depth to the music (as such, the 2.0 track is also perfectly adequate for auditing). There are no extras except for start-up trailers.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Image Entertainment / RLJ Entertainment

Region 2 - PAL

 

 



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