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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Rest Stop: Don't Look Back

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted September 19 2008 - 07:38 PM

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Release Date: September 30, 2008
Studio: Warner Home Video
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case
Year: 2008
Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 1h29m
Video: 1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1: English; Dolby Digital: English 5.1, Spanish 2.0, Portuguese 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese
MSRP: $28.99

The Feature: 1/5
Tom (Richard Tillman) is on leave from the Army, but instead of spending his 10 days catching up with friends and family, he sets off to find his brother Jesse and his girlfriend Nicole, who went missing a year ago. When he and the friends he brings along for the search get on the back highway where Jesse and Nicole were last seen, they get the first clue about what might have happened. But small clues turn into obvious signs when a battered and bloodied Nicole appears to them and Tom winds up getting abducted and tortured. Though they've obviously found the person responsible for Jesse and Nicole's disappearance, the question is how they'll avoid suffering the same fate.

"Rest Stop: Don't Look Back," the second film in a direct-to-video horror franchise, borrows from better movies like "The Hitcher" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" but has one element that I can't say I've seen before in this type of horror film. The villain is explicitly a ghost and not just some inexplicably unstoppable figure. But that's the movie's sole point for originality and even in that it ultimately fails because the ghost is that of a redneck driving a pickup truck (seriously). Throw in a mostly random, Bible-thumping family of freaks and you've got a movie as messy as some of its gory drilling scenes. For "Rest Stop: Don't Look Back" it's best not to look at all.


Video Quality: 3/5
The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and encoded in VC-1. Reflective of the hodgepodge of a script, the film's cinematography ranges from the straightforward to the more stylized, often within the same scene. The variation winds up coming off as unintentional, however, and does nothing for the amateurish quality of the production. It also makes evaluating the video transfer a challenge as the filmmakers' intent is unclear. Though contrast, color and graininess are constantly changing, black levels are more consistent, becoming slightly dull and muddy on only a few occasions. White specks and other physical blemishes also pepper the image throughout.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The Dolby TrueHD audio mix is a straightforward and largely unimaginative with the stereotypical, high-volume jump scares. Surround activity provides mostly support to the soundtrack and some occasional atmospheric effects. LFE is decent, however, giving some nice weight to some of the action sequences. Center channel dialogue is mixed a bit low in the quieter moments, mostly found towards the beginning and end of the movie.

In comparison, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounds more confined and flatter in its dynamic range, making the lossless track the better choice.


Special Features: 0/5

The release includes no special features.


Recap

The Feature: 1/5
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Overall Score (not an average): 1/5

Unimaginative and unoriginal direct-to-video horror film gets average audio and video treatment and no special features. I think I have a candidate for worst Blu-Ray of the year.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Joe Cortez

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Posted September 20 2008 - 07:02 AM

Damn. And I thought this was a review of that Dylan flick on Blu Ray. Posted Image