Dead Meat DVD Review
Written by Neon Maniac
DVD released by Hart Sharp Video
Written and Directed by Conor McMahon
2004, Region 1 (NTSC), , 80 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on June 14th, 2005
An outbreak of Mad Cow disease mutates into a new virus that causes infected humans to become flesh eating zombies!
The lovely Helena and her fiancé are on a driving tour of the Irish countryside when the outbreak hits. After accidentally running over a zombie staggering down the middle of the road, her fiancé succumbs to the disease and joins forces with the living dead. Now, completely alone in a foreign country infested with mad cows and killer zombies; Helena wanders from farm to farm. She's looking for a phone to call the police on. She only finds zombies
Eventually, Helena joins up with the local gravedigger, the local youth coach, his wife, and a mysterious little girl with a mouth that would make a sailor blush. Together, they try to escape the infected area in the coach's SUV. Instead, they run into obstacle after obstacle, and eventually — lots and lots of zombies.
At first glance, Dead Meat looks like it could be a rip-off of 28 Days Later and the Rage virus premise. While there are a few small nods to 28 Days Later in the filming style, Dead Meat remains its own movie throughout. Being a zombie survival story, there are a lot of elements here that you will inevitably find in other, similar films. Writer/Director Conor McMahon does a good job of putting his own unique spin on situations that have been done over and over, and the movie remains fresh and unique. The premise of Mad Cow Disease causing a zombie outbreak is an interesting one, especially considering the problems the UK has had with Mad Cow in these past few years.
None of the actors are familiar faces. While a couple of them have extensive behind the scenes credits, none of them have ever acted in a feature film before. Watching the movie, you wouldn't know this. They are all into their roles, and their dialogue flows naturally. An ensemble cast, they work together well and have the proper chemistry to pull this off.
The special effects aren't the best, but are above the standard of most indie movies. Thankfully, there is no use of CGI, and everything is done as good old fashioned make up. The blood and gore is really well done, and should please even the most jaded zombie fan. As an added bonus, there are more eyeball penetrations than the average Fulci film.
Dead Meat is reminiscent of another indie horror flick from the UK, Dog Soldiers. Not in style or plot, but in spirit. It's a good example of how a low budget movie can take a simple idea, combine it with a good script and good actors and turn out to be a great little movie. Like Dog Soldiers, the DVD release has not set the world on fire, but hopefully over the next few months word of mouth will spread on this "must see" movie. Horror fans really need to check this movie out for themselves. And then tell two friends about it.
Video and Audio:
Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio, the picture is very film like. This was another surprise, as picture quality can vary greatly with independent features. The picture is nice and detailed, has an appropriate amount of grain, and doesn't exhibit any macroblocking in even the darkest of scenes. Overall, this DVD looked better than a quite a few of the big budget Hollywood DVDs that have come out recently.
With no audio type listed on the back cover, it was a pleasant surprise to see the soundtrack register as DD 5.1 on the audio receiver. A lot of low budget or indie features are mono, or at best Dolby 2.0. The DD 5.1 was done well, and made good use of the surrounds during tense scenes. The audio was clear and easy to understand., although a bit low at times. Do not be afraid to use your volume control when needed.
Special Features include a making of documentary, appropriately titled "Mad Cows and Zombies"; a trailer for the film; and a short film, Braineater by writer/director Conor McMahon. Braineater is an interesting addition to the DVD and is worth a watch. The documentary is standard behind the scenes fare, but it is definitely worth spending the few minutes it takes to watch it. There is also a DVD-ROM bonus feature of an article written about the film.
(Neon's Movie Lounge contains a Zenith 42" Plasma EDTV, Oppo DV971H DVD player using a DVI connection, JVC 5.1 DD/DTS receiver and JBL Northridge E Series speakers.)
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