Unearth
R2 - United Kingdom - Signature Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (14th May 2021).
The Film

A small town falls prey to mother nature as big business rolls in and disturbs a killer pathogen thatís laid dormant beneath the ground for centuries.

As the drilling starts the health of the community starts to fail and the land begins to rot. As time moves on, tensions rise but unbeknownst to the town, the rot that has infected their land is also killing them one by one.

Prepare to unearth all out edge of your seat terror, as nature wages war on the human race with truly horrifying results.

Video

Ecological horror film designed to comment on the evils of fracking doesn't really do much that is new and spends too much time on the melodrama. Nice lowkey cinematography in the now ubiquitous 2.39:1 aspect ratio, lensed with Arri Alexa Mini, Leica Summilux-C Lenses (according to IMDB). A sci-fi horror film for the respectable crowd who generally don't go for such things; too well-bred by half. It takes far too long to get to what most people want from a sci-fi horror flick ... at about the 45 minute mark. The makers are more concerned with their drama and soapy aspects.

The low key look means a muted colour palette most of the time with pale flesh tones and lots of browns, grays and blacks. The latter are fairly deep and rich with some shadow detail although the low key, low contrast nature on the image means it suffers muddiness at times in this standard definition DVD image. There are a couple of moments when red light floods the screen but even that isn't as powerful as it could be.

Detail is present but best only in close and medium shots; long shots become softer but get the job done. Some of this problem is more down to the way the film was lit and shot and Signature's well encoded transfer does it's best with the low contrast image. A film best watched in the evening with all lights out. A BD or UHD BD would obviously seriously improve the visual experience; 'C+'.

MPEG-2 / DVD5 / 2.39:1 / 90:23 PAL

Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: None

A fairly active soundtrack that emphasises ambiance, mood and score over shock effects and action. A good example of the latter where the sound field does open up considerably is the car rally at 34 minutes in but even that doesn't kick out as much as other rallies and car action moments in other films. The fracking scenes at 37 minutes in have there moments of envelopment. Dialogue is always clear in the mix and sound effects and score don't interfere. An atmospheric track that's more concerned with low key surrounds and atmosphere and ensuring that the dialogue is delivered.

No hard of hearing subtitles are provided, alas.

Extras

Startup Trailers:
- Wrong Turn (1:01)
- Possessor (2:05)


The usual promos for forthcoming releases; Wrong Turn is in anamorphic 2.39:1 and Possessor in anamorphic 1.78:1; both have Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Packaging

Standard, black DVD Keepcase.

Overall

Worthy eco sci-fi / horror is more concerned with it's characters and drama that making a propulsive fright flick. It's a slow burn affir that takes about half it's running time to get going. Image is adequate for the format and hampered by the incredibly low-key cinematography but Signature Entertainment have done their best with a decent encode. Sound is stronger but fairly modest when compared to the strongest, more enveloping tracks I've heard. There are no extras to speak of. Recommended due to the very agreeable price on day one but cinefiles and collectors will go for foreign BD releases.

The Film: C+ Video: C+ Audio: B- Extras: E Overall: C+

 


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