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FOX

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Cast:
Zach Gilford, Allison Miller, Sam Anderson
Writing Credits:
Lindsay Devlin

Tagline:
Fear Is Born

Synopsis:
A young couple's blessed event turns into their worst nightmare in one of the most terrifying horror films ever conceived! After a mysterious night on their honeymoon, Zach and Samantha McCall find themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy. While recording everything on video for posterity, Zach notices odd behavior in his wife, which they initially attribute to nerves, although it soon becomes evident that the disturbing changes to Samantha's body and mind have a much more sinister origin. All will suffer...but who will survive?

Box Office:
Budget
$7 million.
Opening Weekend
$8,500,000 on 2,544 Screens
Domestic Gross
$15,818,967

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian DTS 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Russian
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Estonian
Greek
Thai
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Latvian
Lithuanian
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Serbian
Turkish
Ukrainian
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Russian
Czech
Greek
Hungarian
Polish
Portuguese

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/29/2014

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and Executive Producers Chad Villella and Justin Martinez
• Nine Deleted Scenes
• “Radio Silence: A Hell of a Team” Featurette
• “Director’s Photo Album” Still Gallery
• “Ashes to Ash”
• “The Lost Time”
• “Roommate Alien Prank Goes Bad”
• “Mountain Devil Prank Fails Horribly”
• Trailer and Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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.


Devil's Due (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 30, 2014)

For a new entry in the “demon baby” genre, we find 2014’s Devil’s Due. Zach (Zach Gilford) and Samantha (Allison Miller) get married and go off on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. They have fun until the final night, which starts on a bad note via a visit with a foreboding palm reader. The evening concludes with Zach and Samantha drugged and abducted after a visit to an underground party.

Saddled with hangovers, neither one remembers those events, so they head home to resume their normal lives. A big change soon arrives, though, as Samantha learns she got pregnant during the trip. Though unexpected, they welcome this impending bundle of joy.

Alas, the experience doesn’t go as hoped. Samantha starts to behave in an erratic manner that doesn’t seem to result from standard pregnancy issues, and it eventually becomes clear that something sinister is at play.

When a movie enters the “devil child” field, it inevitably opens up comparisons to 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby. I don’t know if that classic gave us the first effort in the domain, but it reached a level of quality that virtually none of its successors obtained. Some have been pretty good – I rather liked 1974’s It’s Alive - but I can’t think of any that come close to Rosemary’s Baby.

Don’t expect Due to alter that streak. Due spins the genre via its “found footage” approach to the subject, and that might’ve added some kick. To be certain, horror films that’ve used this style have done well; from Blair Witch Project to Paranormal Activity, the format has generated some big hits.

Financially, that is, for I must admit I’ve not found many “found footage” movies I much liked. I really enjoyed Cloverfield; to me, that remains the class of the genre.

What makes Cloverfield different than most of its siblings? Something actually happens in it, and we don’t have to wait forever for action. That’s what most drove me nuts about Paranormal Activity: even after a long, slow build-up, we still got minutes and minutes of nothing punctuated by the occasional “boo moment”.

Expect the same experience from the dull, tedious Due. While it displays more development than the Paranormal Activity flicks, it still takes a long way to go anywhere. We’re stuck with dull attempts at exposition/character growth that feel like padding more than anything else. Sure, we need to get to know the leads before their situation changes, but that doesn’t make those moments any less tough to take.

When the “horror” parts of the movie kick in, they’re not much better. The story follows a lackluster path without much real payoff, so even when matters intensify, we don’t care.

I believe that if done the right way, found footage films can be effective. Unfortunately, too much of the time I get the impression the style is used to hide a lack of formal storytelling ability. That feels like the case with Devil’s Due; it’s not the worst effort in its genre, but it’s still forgettable.


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

Devil’s Due appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Even with its “found footage” conceit, the image looked good.

Sharpness usually seemed solid. The shooting style meant lots of out of focus elements, but those had nothing to do with the transfer itself. The disc featured delineation that was perfectly appropriate for the various shots, especially given the variety of cameras used; some are uglier than others by design. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws also remained absent; I saw some video artifacts in low-light scenes, but those were inevitable.

In terms of colors, the film went with fairly natural tones. Though the hues never seemed memorable, they were fine for what I expected. Blacks seemed a little inky but were usually good, and shadows demonstrated decent clarity; again, the nature of the photography meant they could be somewhat dense/noisy, but they seemed more than acceptable. The movie looked more than fine for something in this genre.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was more active than I expected. Through the flick, the filmmakers slavishly adhered to the “fly on the wall” video photography; there’s not a single shot that didn’t look like it came from a camcorder. However, the multichannel audio violated that sense of realism.

The soundfield didn’t go completely nuts, as much of the material stayed within the stereo realm in the front channels. This was acceptable as a representation of what a consumer camcorder might replicate. In terms of the front three speakers, I thought the track matched the “real-life photography” conceit pretty well.

The surrounds didn’t go crazy, but they added more than one might expect given the “found footage” orientation. They added atmosphere and general material throughout the movie, with a smattering of more active scenes on display. These didn’t make logical sense for the format, but they gave us a bit of dimensionality.

Audio quality was fine. Occasional lines seemed a bit muddy, but most of the speech appeared natural and concise. Music only came from source elements, such as at a club. This meant no score and infrequent music; when we heard songs, they showed decent reproduction. Effects were acceptably accurate. Nothing here impressed, but it was fine for this sort of movie.

When we shift to the set’s extras, we launch with an audio commentary from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and executive producers Chad Villella and Justin Martinez. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, camerawork and editing, effects and stunts, music, and some other domains.

The track launches in lackluster fashion, as it appears it'll offer little more than joking around among pals. The conversation soon becomes meatier, though, and turns into a pretty good look at the creation of the film. We still get playfulness, but not to the exclusion of all else, so we learn a reasonable amount about the movie along the way.

Nine Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 16 minutes, 35 seconds. Since it usually feels like nothing happens in the final version of the film, should one expect to discover anything interesting here? Not really. Indeed, most of the material just gives more tedium, without memorable events on display. Even the extended ending falls flat.

Under Radio Silence: A Hell of a Team, we get a 12-minute, 18-second featurette with info from Villella, Bettinelli-Olpin, Gillett and Martinez. They talk about their early experiences as filmmakers and the creation of their production company as well as the development/production of Due. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but this still becomes a tight, informative program.

Next comes a still gallery called Director’s Photo Album. It includes 149 shots from the production. Some of these offer movie insights, but most feature mugging for the camera and silliness, so they’re not especially valuable.

A few short pieces follow. Ashes to Ash goes for 54 seconds and shows a dead bird that suddenly catches fire. I guess this has a connection to the film – maybe as publicity? – but it comes without explanation, so I don’t know.

In a similar vein, we find the three-minute, 30-second The Lost Time. It shows some Latino kids in a sewer as they discover some satanic ceremonies. These seem connected to “Ashes” but I still don’t get their purpose here.

For examples of early work by the Radio Silence production company, we find Roommate Alien Prank Goes Bad (2:19) and Mountain Devil Prank Fails Horribly (3:26). Neither offers much entertainment, but they’re cool to see for historical value.

The Blu-ray opens with ads for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Joy Ride 3, 3 Days to Kill, Robocop (2014) and American Horror Story: Asylum. Sneak Peek throws in clips for Carrie and The Bridge Season One, and we see the trailer for Due.

A second disc brings us a DVD copy of the film. It includes deleted scenes, a trailer and previews.

Another effort in the “found footage” vein, Devil’s Due bores more than it scares. It adds nothing to the “demon baby” conceit and just turns into a snoozer much of the time. The Blu-ray presents pretty good picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. I can’t complain about this release, but the movie itself does nothing for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
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