Doghouse Blu-ray Review
Doghouse is released simultaneously on DVD and Blu-ray, and is presented in the theatrically correct 2.4:1 ratio and in 1080P. Whereas the low budget origins do mean that this is not a reference disc, it still provides some moments that impress.
The first thing to notice is this is a deliberately muted transfer colour wise. If you are watching this expecting bright colours throughout then you will be disappointed. The blood is not crimson, and does not light up the frame with vivid splashes - but this is entirely the way the film is shot. Most of the action takes place in the dusk, or dark - or under fluorescent lighting indoors, and despite this the detail level is still very impressive. Facial textures are well realised, and the zombirds' make up is well served by a transfer which releases all the fine detail in the rotting faces and bodies.
The source, as would be expected in such a recent film, is pristine. There are no blemishes to blot the mayhem on the screen, and grain is minimal. The depth of the image is also impressive - whilst it doesn't rival modern blockbusters there is still a decent amount of 3D pop here.
Doghouse comes to Blu ray with a 5.1 Dolby Digital transfer which does seem rather disappointing in these days of lossless tracks. However, having said this apart from one rather glaring flaw this is rather impressive.
From the very opening shot where Vince wakes up at 1pm with the sounds of the city subtly sounding in the rears, this provides a surprisingly ambient mix. Whether it be the moaning of zombirds, or the sound of footsteps echoing through the deserted streets, the rears are used cleverly throughout and with suprisingly sensitive directionality.
The front separation is also nicely wide, with nice detail from the left and right. The dialogue is well mixed amongst the soundtrack and the sound effects with everything well balanced.
The caveat here, however, is that this soundtrack is STUPIDLY loud. I have no idea why it is like this, as the track is well mixed in every other aspect. This may just be a fault on our test disc, but if you are going to purchase this you may want to crack your amp down about 5db to be sure.
The disc is provided with a decent set of extras too, although they seem to vary from SD to HD sometimes in the space of the same featurette which is a bit bizarre. We start with a decent 45 minute making of documentary. This provides some interesting back story and behind the scenes footage and is refreshingly free of the usual studio puff pieces - although the participants do seem not far removed from their onscreen personas.
We are then presented with three deleted scenes, including where the phrase “zombirds” originated, the original trailer, an alternate trailer, a couple of TV Spots, and some stills galleries
Doghouse does exactly what you would expect it to do. It provides you with laddish humour, slapstick gore, and plenty of action. What you may be surprised to find is that underneath the obvious exterior beats a rather more subversive heart which hints at a little more intelligence than you might expect. It is taken as read that there is nothing here that is likely to trouble the awards season, but then there was never meant to be. Jake West simply aimed to provide an enjoyable Saturday night action comedy, to be enjoyed with mates and a few cans - and he has certainly delivered in spades.
The Blu-ray (region free on our pre release copy) presents the film with a pretty decent transfer and a surprisingly effective lossy soundtrack - although it is presented at a ridiculously high volume. A solid if unspectacular extras package rounds off the disc.
If this kind of movie floats your boat, then this is a superior example of the genre, presented on a very good disc and is likely to be a definite purchase. It may not be up there with Shaun of the Dead but if this kind of movie is not normally your style I strongly suggest you give it at least a rental. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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