Directed By Chuck Patton
Expectations were low for this film when it was announced. The film is a prequel tie-in to the videogame Dead Space. As a rule videogame movies aren’t good to start with plus this film is a lower budget direct-to-DVD release. So it had a lot of strikes against it.
Dead Space tells the story of a ship full of miners that take huge amounts of ore from uninhabited worlds. On one world an ancient artifact nicknamed the Marker is found and brought aboard the ship. The very existence of this artifact sparks panic and anger in the crew, even hinting at a religious war. Soon people begin going insane and commit suicide or kill their cohorts. Then the corpses mutate into horrifying monsters.
Soon only a small band of survivors are left to fight the monsters and try to understand what the Marker is. There are tons of little moments that are reminiscent of other classic horror films, mostly the Alien franchise but there are hints of other films such as The Thing and Event Horizon. Apparently the game leans even more heavily on Event Horizon than this film does. The story is focused on action rather than deep storytelling. There are some missed opportunities for interesting storytelling mostly related to the religious battle but the action and the creepy atmosphere makes for an entertaining film. The film is surprisingly bright and vibrant which detracts just a bit from the scares but shows off surprisingly good art style.
The voice acting is solid from the main cast and the animation is good too for a film at this level (although there’s some weird stuttering in the first few minutes). The story si pretty basic and will more than likely mean more to fans who’ve played the game but coming from someone who hasn’t played the game at all I still had a good time with the film.
Honestly I didn’t expect this film to look that much better in HD than it did in SD. The SD release wasn’t bad but it was fairly bland. This version in 1080p is extremely vibrant and highly detailed truly showing the difference between SD and HD. Black levels are also deep and dark while not hindering detail. It’s not a perfect transfer as it features some issues with color banding in a few places. Overall though, this is a really solid presentation that truly enhances the viewing experience of the film.
This film is of a lower budget so the sound design isn’t going to come off like a Michael Bay film but the Dolby TrueHD is still really strong. There’s loads of ambient noise subtly coming from all of the speakers and there are plenty of scenes with good use of immersive directional sound. For a film set on a huge cargo ship the sub woofer doesn’t get much use. In fact there’s not a hunge dynamic range for this film. The dialogue, score, and sound effects are weighty and well separated throughout the film.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The 2 Disc release comes packaged in s standard slim Blu-Ray amary case with a bright slipcover. The art is basically the same as the SD release and it ties nicely with the art from the videogame release.
First of all, these promotions of Blu-Ray releases – and standard DVD too – being “2 Disc” editions when the second disc is nothing more than a digital copy. Calling this a single disc release that includes a digital copy is more appropriate.
So, where are the bonus features? There’s no commentary, no making of featurette, no featurette discussing the connection of the film to the game, no featurette at all! This film was obviously made as a cross over promotion for the videogame so why would the creators not at least do a featurette about the film’s ties to the game? That’s a really big missed opportunity.
There are a couple of photo galleries with one being played in slideshow form with audio from the movie and some deleted scenes. Along with the digital copy that’s really all there is.
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10
The Season 8/10
The Video 8.5/10
The Audio 8/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10