Storm Warning Blu-ray Review
PictureThe film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen format and is encoded using the SMPTE VC-1 codec. The image is full of contrast and the blacks are quite beautifully balanced. Detail strikes out in abundance and the clarity for the most part is astounding. There is plenty of shadow detail on offer and even in the darker scenes of which there are plenty in the latter half of the movie, the picture never appears murky. You will not be peering in to see the detail or the gore on offer. The depth in the visuals is always quite apparent and ensures that you also see the 3D-pop effect throughout the movie. Colours remain generally flat and the tones are very neutral resulting in very natural skin tones. During the initial part of the movie whilst on the boat in the lake the imagery reaches ultra photo realistic status and is simply amazing. It really does showcase high definition. Edge enhancement was not overly evident but if there is a cause for complaint it would be for a tendency of some shimmering effect to creep into scenes. There is also a strange flicker that reveals itself in some of the darker scenes but apparently this is due to the HD camera drawing in too much detail whilst filming.
SoundThere are three soundtracks on offer being Dolby Digital 2.0, DTS HD 5.1 and a Directors commentary. Dolby Digital 2.0 is merely a competent affair and the DTS HD 5.1 is the one to opt for. There are no subtitles and there are no other language options other than English. Dialogue is ultra clear and smooth and dominates through the front sound stage. I did feel that on occasion it sounded too smooth and clean to the point that it began to feel artificial to the movie. It almost sounded acoustically deadened and dampened. This is especially so when the couple are in their boat in the water. Sound effects on the whole are limited to the rain and thunder and the thuds and jolts throughout the movie. The audio aspects are very sparse yet efficient enough to create enough of an atmosphere when needed.
ExtrasThere are three options to choose from the special features menu and all are presented in 576P SD resolution. Additionally there is is the Directors Commentary which is by far the pick of the extras on this disc.
Behind the Scenes :Make up and SFX - (5mins 56secs) This is a series of behind the scenes snippets of some of the scenes of the film. There is no documentary or commentary to support it and it is simply an on-look from a studio perspective. It's not really pieced together in any particular format either.
Cast Interviews - (10mins 42secs) The interviews are with David Lyons, Mathew Wilkinson and John Brumpton. Unfortunately you only hear the cast talking about the movie and the questions have all been cut out. It all seems rather strange and choppy when you listen to the cast simply talk with lots of edits in between.
Theatrical trailer - (1min25secs) This is simply a short trailer for the film.
Directors Commentary - (84mins 40secs) Director Jamie Blanks along with Everett de Roche, Robert Taylor and a few other crew members talk about the movie, challenges, the original script and the CGI used in making the film. The commentary is actually quite entertaining and amusing to listen to. The team clearly had a lot of fun whilst doing the commentary and it shows with lots of laughing and joking going on between the guys.
VerdictHorror is a peculiar and quite unique genre in the sense that production budgets can matters very little. The likes of SAW IV and Hostel 2 just go to show that even with more lavish levels of spend the level of horror actually doesn't go up proportionately so. Sure, production values are improved and special effects benefit however more blood, guts and gore on offer doesn't necessarily mean you will be any the more horrified. Therefore making a horror movie is actually a great leveller in itself as long as you get the basic ingredients of tension, plot and suspense right.
Storm Warning is best classified as an Australian budget horror and for the main part it is fairly and squarely B-movie material. Surprisingly though production qualities remain high and it is actually a well made and put together film. CGI is sparingly and sympathetically used to create an atmosphere especially in the latter two thirds of the movie. The casting is robust for the most part and revolves around five characters and a dog. Nadia Fares' performance is the one of real note and she really does carry the role off. It may also be worth making a note of where this may take her in her future career.
Jamie Blanks had previously directed 'Urban Legend' and 'Valentine' and this film borrows on other horror films and you will immediately draw comparisons with many other films. There is nothing new to write about here and Storm Warning is a run of the mill cliched horror. Now as a B-movie I would generally only recommend it as a rental, though to be fair this script was written nearly 30 years ago by Everett de Roche and there may well be some ardent fans out there. The disc has an adequate soundtrack and a very entertaining Directors commentary. The extras otherwise are really quite poor, seemingly an afterthought and a rush job at that. The real standout feature of this disc for me was in its video presentation. The ultra photo realistic images right from the start of the movie reach blistering levels of high definition. There are a few bugbears with the odd shimmering and flicker revealing themselves but on reflection, it's forgivable. In summary, whilst Storm Warning is neither great nor a classic horror movie in any sense of the genre, I can think of far worse ways to spend 85 minutes.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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