Review Date: November 7, 2000
Released by: Dragon Entertainment
Release date: 11/2000
Region 0, PAL
Full Frame 1.33:1
Twenty years ago a fraternity-brother-to-be named Sid died during his initiation. The death was accidental, but the fraternity was forced to disband because of it. Soon a new fraternity came along and started in the same building Sid died in. Now, 20 years later, the fraternity is having their annual "Hell Week" - a week that involves humiliating new pledges, playing tricks on them and much more.
Hell Week begins and progresses as usual. This year Dan (Arthur Lundquist) is the fraternity member that pretends being crazy, to put some more scares into the new pledges. The pledges are warned that Dan has a brain tumor and is capable of have violent episodes. They even go so far as to stage a fake attack where Dan stabs someone in the stomach. But soon Dan stops pretending and really does start to become violent when he burns Bonner (Todd Eastland), a new pledge, with an branding rod.
Dan's violence becomes deadly and the body count begins to rise. It appears Dan isn't really Dan at all; as if he's being controlled by someone else. The only question is: who could it be? Who would want to kill off fraternity members? The remaining members soon learn the answer, and have to find a way to survive it.
The first 30-40 minutes are pretty boring, mostly focusing on the new fraternity pledges. Some may find these scenes amusing, but I didn't. Cheesy perhaps, but not amusing. After that point the gore and killings start to show up. While I expected the gore to be heavy and graphic, I'm sorry to report that wasn't the case at all. There are a few good death scenes, but all of the death scenes are light on gore. While I appreciated the movie not spending a lot of time explaining why certain things were the way they were, I felt there was too much time wasted on the fraternity pledges during the first 30 minutes. All in all I'd rate this as an OK movie, but it's nothing spectacular. There aren't really any scares, the gore is light and there's not much to the story.
Dragon Entertainment has released Dead Night in a 1.33:1 full frame transfer. From the little information I've managed to dig up that does indeed appear to be its original aspect ratio.
TV playback was definitely an acceptable quality, but there are numerous problems. There's a fair amount of scratches, specks and other blemishes that appear in the print. There's also some light grain that appears in a few dark scenes. Also, colors are faded and the image itself is fairly soft throughout the majority of the movie. The biggest problem, however, were numerous compression artifacts that appeared in several scenes. A lot of times it's hard to notice, but in a few scenes - such as the scene with two teens walking into a bedroom with fog/mist coming in through the window - it's quite evident. Not a major problem, but definitely distracting at times.
The sound is presented in a mono track. Nothing really major to report here. A few times the level seemed to drop down a bit, but that's fairly minor. No distortion was heard and dialogue was clear.
Light on extras, containing only a theatrical trailer and filmography for director Paul Ziller. The filmography is included on the artwork and off of the DVD's menu.
An decent movie that I'm rating a C, which I think is generous. All in all this is an adequate DVD from Dragon Entertainment, though there isn't much to speak of in terms of extras they did an acceptable job on video quality.
Movie - C
Image Quality - C-
Sound - B+
Supplements - C
- Running Time - 1 hour 22 minutes
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital Mono
- Theatrical trailer