Diary Of The Dead (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=120729&d=1222435759
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

81






Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 96 Minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: Michelle Morgan, Tatiana Maslany, Amy Lalonde, Shawn Roberts, Joe Dinicol
Written & Directed by: George Romero
Music by: Norman Orenstein
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 21, 2008







"Shoot the dead"



Film Synopsis:

Legendary frightmaster George A. Romero continues his influential "Dead" series, this time focusing on a terrified group of college film students who record the pandemic rise of flesh-eating zombies while struggling for their own survival.




My Take:

Zombie films have been around some 40 years now and I think it is safe to say that George Romero is the undisputed king of the genre. While I am not a true fan I have the utmost respect for their place within the horror genre. Diary of the dead seems to revert back to Romero’s roots and is reminiscent of his first zombie film classic, Night of the living dead. This film surrounds a group of University of Pittsburgh film students that are making a horror film of their own. Late one night while filming in a wooded area near the campus, they discover via a news broadcast that something is taking place in the surrounding area. Dead people are coming back to life and are feeding on the living. The student film is Jason’s (Joshua Close) project and after seeing what is happening he decides to document it utilizing his friends and camera equipment. The story follows them as they and one of their professors make it back to the school to find that everyone is gone or dead. They take off in an old Winnebago and head for each of their homes and of course run into a multitude of zombies and situations along the way.

The use of handheld camera work was never intrusive with respect to the telling of the story. There were quite a few references to the media and how it is used only to show the public what it wants us to see rather than what is factual. The effects that stress and the continued insistence by Jason to record every aspect of what was happening had on the characters was interesting, especially early on. As things progress it becomes apparent that perhaps his instincts were correct but the question of whether or not anyone would be around to see his creation loomed. There were few surprises and I didn’t find the film to be particularly frightening. The special effects were vintage Romero and I liked the freshness of the young cast as well as the updated aspects of the plot. There was an appealing rawness to the story’s portrayal that overcame its unoriginal idea of using the handheld first person camera perspective. In the end I thought the film had merit and I suspect that Romero fans will appreciate its nostalgic feeling that harkens back to his earliest work.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong horror violence, gore, and pervasive language.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 80



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 82


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Diary of the dead comes to Blu-ray Disc from TWC featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.

The video has a stylized look that utilizes a de-saturated color scheme and slightly scaled back contrast which gives images a flatter less dynamic appearance. Blacks are fairly strong and detail in dark areas and shadowy backgrounds is excellent. Grain is present in fine even layers during bright scenes. Grain structure becomes more pronounced during many but not all dark sequences. Resolution was good overall however due to the nature of the photography definitive sharpness and fine detail perception ebbed and flowed. These instances didn’t completely inhibit the ability to visually resolve the structure of objects within the frame but did slightly diminish it. Conversely there were times when images had excellent three dimensional depth and sparkling clarity. I noticed some minor digital noise in a few backgrounds but it wasn’t problematic. I thought that the look of the film mated quite well with the nature of the story.

The lossless audio presentation had no trouble conveying the elements present in the sound recording. Dialogue reproduction was strong with clear intonation and fair room penetration. The mix did a nice job of handling the various directional cues associated with the hand held camera’s perspective and near field simulation. Atmosphere creating sounds mixed to the surround channels created a neatly balanced rear soundfield that seamlessly blended with the front soundstage. This generally consisted of spatial ambience however discrete effects were present and appropriate based upon the events transpiring onscreen. Dynamics were potent enough that sound effects such as gunshots had crispness, solidity, and well defined bass. The presentation as a whole was solid.



Bonus Features:


  • Feature commentary with Director/Writer George A. Romero, Editor Michael Doherty, and Director of photography Adam Swica

  • Character confessionals - Actors in character with adlibbed dialogue

  • The first week: Shooting begins in Canada

  • The Roots – 3 minute documentary featuring George Romero

  • Familiar voices – Short segment that features (celebrity/special guest) telephonic voice recordings used in the film

  • For the record: 5 Making of featurettes
  1. Master of the dead – George A Romero
  2. Into the camera – The cast
  3. You look dead – Makeup effects
  4. A new ‘spin’ on death – Visual effects
  5. A world gone made – Photography and design
  • Myspace contest winners – 5 short zombie film contest finalists




Final Thoughts:

Diary of the dead marks the return of Director/Writer George A. Romero to his roots. The film features first person camera work and fresh talent that potentially sparks a renewed interest in Romero and the genre for fans. The Weinstein Company has brought this film to high definition Blu-ray Disc in a respectable package that includes competent audio/video quality and all of the bonus supplements from the earlier DVD release. Fans can feel free to pick this up. Casual viewers might want to give it a rent first.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 01:54 PM
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How bad does the CGI blood look Ralph? It was already bad on the dvd and another member stated it looked worse on Blu-Ray.

Thanks.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnikirk View Post

How bad does the CGI blood look Ralph? It was already bad on the dvd and another member stated it looked worse on Blu-Ray.

Thanks.


Greetings,

I looks typical of the fake blood used in these types of films..


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post #4 of 9 Old 11-04-2008, 02:33 PM
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"Diary of the dead comes to Blu-ray Disc from TWC featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps."

Mr. Potts, you might want to correct this. The video is encoded in VC-1 and the average video bitrate is 30.52 Mbps. Just passing info along...
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-04-2008, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

"Diary of the dead comes to Blu-ray Disc from TWC featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps."

Mr. Potts, you might want to correct this. The video is encoded in VC-1 and the average video bitrate is 30.52 Mbps. Just passing info along...

Greetings,

Great catch PS..I had VC-1 indicated in the specification section but inadvertently typed AVC in my narrative. As far as the average bitrate goes 29 mbps was what I arrived at. The two are close enough that they are in the same ballpark.

Thanks again.

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post #6 of 9 Old 11-10-2008, 02:59 PM
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I really enjoyed the movie. Great story line (for the genre) and well acted throughout.

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post #7 of 9 Old 11-30-2008, 02:04 PM
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I liked this more than I thought I would.

Being a sucker for trendy shakey cam movies, and a zombie lover, it's a good match

Pretty good flick.

I'd recommend at least renting it if the premise interests you.

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post #8 of 9 Old 12-01-2008, 01:00 AM
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I wasn't as disappointed with this as some people were, but it still was lacking in some areas. Specifically, it needed more zombie action. I liked the filmography, plot, and characters (even though the acting wasn't so hot), but I wish it had something similar to the massive zombie carnage at the end of Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-06-2008, 09:20 PM
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Unlike Kamspy, I'm not a big fan of the shakey camera but I do love just about any movie with zombies. Once the shakey camera thing settled in for me, I was fine with movie.

IMO, I thought the video was just average and although the dialogue was quite clear, with some decent ambient sounds from the rear surrounds, I felt the audio was average as well. I thought the effects were terrific but like jd213, I would have liked to have seen more zombie action.

I rented this and for a rental, it was an enjoyable enough 98 min.

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