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post #1 of 8 Old 06-25-2014, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Rigor Mortis (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review



Check out our review of this eerie, contemporary homage to Chinese vampire movies of the 1980’s from director/co-writer Juno Mak and Well Go USA.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

86



Details:

Studio and Year: Well Go USA - 2013
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): Cantonese/English (Dubbed) DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English
Starring: Chin Siu-Ho, Kara Wai, Nina Paw, Antony “Friend” Chan
Directed by: Juno Mak
Music by: Nate Connelly
Written by: Philip Yung, Juno Mak, Jill Leung
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 8, 2014


"Evil has come"


My Take:

Drawing on a range of influences from Hong Kong and Japanese horror-film tropes, pop singer-turned actor and first-time director Juno Mak references vampire myths worldwide for Rigor Mortis. The story follows a depressed actor (Chin Siu-ho) who moves into an even more depressing apartment complex and attempts suicide, only to be rescued by Uncle Yau (Anthony Chan). Unfortunately, the suicidal actor has imbued the dark spirits who haunt the apartment with strength. And to add to their worries, one of the building’s residents has brought a man back from the dead … and he’s about to wake up.



This homage to the classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980’s from co-writer/director Juno Mak is an eerie, contemporary horror film that features light elements of martial arts action and fairly decent special effects. It’s most definitely a moody horror flick which works well enough but the script is on the abstract side. By that I mean it almost feels as though its wink and nod elements require some level of prior experience to be fully gleaned. As I watched there were times where I felt like I was on the outside looking in rather than being able to become fully immersed in the story. This impacted the film’s ability to elicit responses to both the type of physical and mental stimuli that work in tandem when watching a good scary movie.

I found the characters to be likeable but not especially well drawn within the narrative’s construct. At 101 minutes there was plenty of time to develop the supporting subplots associated with them rather than the scattered fragments we’re given. With that being said there is still something eerie and mildly entertaining about Rigor Mortis. The visuals/effects and thematic interplay enhance the middling nature of the storyline which is similarly aided by solid performances by the cast who as I understand it reunites some of the cast members of the classic “Mr. Vampire” series.

At the end of the day Rigor Mortis may be a film that would appeal more to genre fans that can appreciate the subtext found within. For me I was only able to take it at face value which while not bad places it in the mildly entertaining and ultimately unremarkable category.


Parental Guide:

This film contains graphic violence, including a scene of rape, disturbing images, and 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.**



Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): [img] [/img]


Video: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


Rigor Mortis comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.

This is a solid high definition presentation that offers gratifying image quality that appears faithful to the director’s vision. The color palette is deliberately subdued and held to primary use of black, grays, whites, and blues that give it a cooler emphasis. Colors are rendered well with realistic looking depth and detail. Resolution is excellent which translates positively to images onscreen as the video is plenty sharp with appreciable refinement. Visible texture in the surfaces of objects is apparent and provides tangible and lifelike perspective. Close ups reveal varying levels of detail that allows subtle variations in the complexions of the cast to be perceivable. Black levels and contrast are well balanced and detail within dark backgrounds/shadows is apparent. Other than a few noisy backgrounds the video has a blemish free quality that appeared to be devoid of distracting anomalies and artifacts.

The lossless audio mix (I utilized the Cantonese version) capably accentuates the soundtrack’s creepy moments while providing realism and high level clarity to its dramatic elements and eclectic music. I had no trouble discerning the differences in the various effects and sounds that went bump in the night. The subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low frequency and dynamic impact associated with active moments and jump scares. This is an engaging and high quality soundtrack that adds to the overall effect and enjoyment of this film.

** CIH users should note that the subtitles appear within the picture area.

Bonus Features:
  • Theatrical trailer



Final Thoughts:


Drawing on a range of influences from Hong Kong and Japanese horror-film tropes, Rigor Mortis is a mildly entertaining horror film that could be hit or miss with western audiences. It comes to Blu-ray from Well Go USA featuring solid technical merits and disappointingly no supplemental material. If you’re a genre fan and are curious about this one I would strongly recommend a rental first.







Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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post #2 of 8 Old 06-25-2014, 07:31 AM
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Sweet! Looks like a worthy Horror movie for the October pile!

You are on a roll with Horror movies, keep them coming!
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-25-2014, 09:16 AM
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My wife and I just saw a preview for this the other day and we both thought it looks like it could be pretty good....or pretty bad. Were the "wink and nod elements" referencing more of Asian horror films or vampire films in general? My biggest concern now is that I'd too be on the outside looking in.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-25-2014, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lethean View Post
My wife and I just saw a preview for this the other day and we both thought it looks like it could be pretty good....or pretty bad. Were the "wink and nod elements" referencing more of Asian horror films or vampire films in general? My biggest concern now is that I'd too be on the outside looking in.
Greetings,

Definitely more of the references to the 1980's Asian vampire genre as opposed to vampire films in general. It didn't feel all that much like a vampire film to me. If the trailer elicited that reaction from you and your wife than I would say you should see the film.


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post #5 of 8 Old 06-26-2014, 09:12 PM
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Perfect for Halloween!!!
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-30-2014, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lethean View Post
My wife and I just saw a preview for this the other day and we both thought it looks like it could be pretty good....or pretty bad. Were the "wink and nod elements" referencing more of Asian horror films or vampire films in general? My biggest concern now is that I'd too be on the outside looking in.
It is a wink and nod to the Asian (Chinese/Hong Kong) Vampire movie genre. Specifically, it is a nod to Mr Vampire from 1986. It was a very popular movie and kick started the hopping Vampire movie trend. Some people didn't like this new hopping vampire revival since it isn't humorous as the original. Also, some people had issues with the extensive use of CG which is the norm for Asian movies these days.

I liked it but had mixed feelings about the ending. Even without knowing all the references it is a decent horror movie.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-30-2014, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L_T View Post
It is a wink and nod to the Asian (Chinese/Hong Kong) Vampire movie genre. Specifically, it is a nod to Mr Vampire from 1986. It was a very popular movie and kick started the hopping Vampire movie trend. Some people didn't like this new hopping vampire revival since it isn't humorous as the original. Also, some people had issues with the extensive use of CG which is the norm for Asian movies these days.

I liked it but had mixed feelings about the ending. Even without knowing all the references it is a decent horror movie.

Greetings,

Thanks for chiming in L_T...


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post #8 of 8 Old 07-19-2014, 04:50 PM
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This one paid homage to the old "vampire" (they do not suck blood - it's a poor translation but the Chinese title for Rigor Mortis is more appropriate, like a frozen or stiff corpse) movie. There is a parallel here. When vampire move was a rage in the '80s, some of the actors here were making good money. Now, just like the cast here as well as the story, they have been forgotten and left to rot, replaced by the younger crowds, though their acting is far superior.

Anyway, that is the background. The mood in this one is much darker, with little or no humor. Other than the cgi, I actually preferred this story line than the old farce.

On a side note, I really appreciate my JVC RS45 for dark movies like this, though I was tempted many times to go back to a smaller/lighter Sony (brighter).

7 out of 10.
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