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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson
Cast:
Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, Tom Williamson, Michael Bowen
Writing Credits:
Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson

Tagline:
You Can't Kill Their Spirit.

Synopsis:
Teenage outsider Maddy is keeping some dark secrets and holding a serious grudge against the captain of the Blackfoot High football team. When Maddy joins the school's elite and powerful cheerleading squad, she convinces her new friends to help inflict her revenge. After a late-night party goes awry, their plans take an unexpected turn for the worst and all of the girls die. A sinister, supernatural power intervenes and the girls mysteriously appear at school the next day with a killer new look… and some unusual new appetites.

MPAA:
Not Rated

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $29.97
Release Date: 7/22/2014

Bonus:
• “Making the Squad” Featurette
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


All Cheerleaders Die [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 20, 2014)

Another entry in the horror/comedy genre, 2014’s All Cheerleaders Die introduces us to Maddy (Caitlin Stasey), an outsider at Blackfoot High School. As she films a video journal, head cheerleader Alexis (Felisha Cooper) dies in a freak accident.

With that we fast-forward three months to the start of Maddy’s senior year. Over the summer she reinvented herself as a hot girl and she tries out for the cheerleading squad. Despite resistance from the current team, Maddy shows enough talent that she earns a spot.

Maddy claims to want the gig as a tribute to Alexis, but she comes with an ulterior motive, as she boasts a grudge against football captain Terry Stankus (Tom Williamson) and the others. However, Maddy becomes wrapped up in her new status/friends and she develops a physical relationship with fellow cheerleader Tracy Bingham (Brooke Butler).

After an altercation with Terry, a car of cheerleaders runs off the road and leaves the girls dead. However, Maddy’s friend Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) uses her connection with the occult to change this and bring the cheerleaders back to life – with unexpected consequences.

I’ll say this for Die: it draws us into its tale in a surprisingly gradual manner, and I mean that in a good way. Too many movies would rush through with little more than basic exposition before it got to the horror elements, so I like the fact that this one takes its time. Die develops in a natural manner that builds more tension than I thought I’d get from this supposed horror/comedy romp.

In truth, Die doesn’t offer nearly as much comedy as its premise promises. It occasionally capitalizes on its wacky notion but it tends more toward straight drama or horror.

Those choices work best, as the movie falters when it attempts laughs. It doesn’t develop those elements in an especially satisfying manner, as the movie handles the more supernatural components in a superior manner.

Actually, the movie starts to lose steam right when it engages in its main concept. As I mentioned earlier, the scenes that lead to the cheerleaders’ transformation prove to be surprisingly involving, but the meat of the story doesn’t work quite as well.

This brings us a sporadically entertaining horror flick but not one with many strengths of its own. After the first act, the tale mostly feels like a conglomeration of elements from vampire and zombie movies without a lot of its own direction. Die occasionally sparks to life but it seems more inconsistent than I’d like.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

All Cheerleaders Die appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a satisfying presentation.

Sharpness looked fine. A few shots – mostly interiors – showed a smidgen of softness, but those instances remained minor. Overall definition seemed solid. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. No print concerns appeared in this clean presentation.

Colors were positive. The movie tended toward a somewhat stylized palette that was more than adequate, as the hues appeared reasonably full.. Blacks were fairly dark and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. Nothing here dazzled, but the transfer delivered a good reproduction of the movie.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Die, it worked pretty well. The music displayed good imaging, and effects broadened to the sides well. They presented a nice sense of atmosphere and kicked into action well when appropriate. Surround usage became more active than expected, mostly due to the horror scenes; those expanded the spectrum in a dynamic way that worked the various channels in a lively fashion.

Audio quality was good. Speech came across as natural and crisp, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were clear and accurate. They showed good range and clarity as well. Music worked very nicely, as the songs and score were bold and dynamic. This was a fairly involving mix.

Only one extra appears here: a featurette called Making the Squad. It goes for 23 minutes, 45 seconds and includes comments from producer Andrew van den Houten and actors Caitlin Stasey, Amanda Grace Cooper, Reanin Johannink, Leigh Parker, Brooke Butler, Felisha Cooper, Nicholas Morrison, Chris Petrovski, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Jordan Wilson and Tom Williamson. The show covers the project’s origins and development, the work of the directors, cast and performances, characters and story, the cheerleading scenes, and related subjects.

It’s surprising that the film’s writers/directors don’t appear here, but “Squad” still offers a reasonable look at the production. We get a lot of footage from the set and the comments offer fairly useful insights. Nothing here turns this into a great behind the scenes piece, but it’s positive.

The disc opens with ads for Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, Wolf Creek 2 and Way of the Wicked. No trailer for Die shows up here.

At times, All Cheerleaders Die offers an involving experience. However, it tends to sputter as it progresses and becomes less consistent than I’d like. The Blu-ray offers positive picture and audio as well as a decent behind the scenes featurette. Die has some strengths but doesn’t maintain them well.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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