DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Dead & Breakfast

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matt Stone, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Jun 21, 2000
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    Dead & Breakfast
    Directed By: Matthew Leutwyler

    Studio: Anchor Bay
    Year: 2005
    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
    Running Time: 1 Hr. 28 Mins.
    Rating: Unrated
    Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital (English), 2.0 Dolby Digital (English)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish
    MSRP: $28.98
    Street Date: 6 September, 2005

    Review Date: 3 September, 2005
    (Ratings are out of five stars)

    In typical horror cliché fashion, Dead and Breakfast details the misfortune that befalls a group of six friends on their way to a rural Texas wedding. When the group stops at a local bed and breakfast for the night, all hell starts to break loose. Before too long, two people are dead and our protagonists find themselves suspects. What follows is a bloody, gory, funny battle against an army of zombies. To explain any more would ruin the fun.

    As opposed to a lot of horror films, the story didn’t get lost in plot development. For the most part, the narrative kept moving without boring the user with inane details. The only times the film did dwell on the specifics was when it was poking fun at other horror movies. Further setting itself apart from the rest of the genre, Dead and Breakfast used comic-book-like transitions from sequence to sequence as well as in-film musical narration. I was scratching my head at the beginning, but it ended up working well. The gory special effects are great looking and reminded me a lot of Bad Taste and Dead Alive. Having actual physical effects as opposed to doing stuff digitally gave the film an “old school horror” feel.

    Jeremy Sisto is as good as always. Definitely one of the best young actors around, and he’s really making a name for himself in the horror genre. It was good to see Gina Phillips again. I don’t recall seeing her in anything since Jeepers Creepers. Erik Palladino has great comedic timing throughout most of the film as well. Ever Carradine is strong too. Come to think of it, the whole cast was solid and they really all understood the material.

    Fortunately, the film never takes itself seriously. It’s camp that knows it’s camp, and is executed really well. At the same time, the film succeeds in poking fun at typical horror conventions. In that regard, it works on multiple levels really well. The acting is good from all the principals, and the narrative keeps chugging along at a good pace. I’m a huge horror fan, but I really didn’t know what to expect in the beginning. It took a little while for me to acclimate myself to the climate of the film, but once I got used to it, I really had a blast.

    Film Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The transfer looks over-processed, almost so much so that I wondered if the movie was shot digitally. IMDB claims it was shot on film, but they’ve been wrong before. There’s also a significant amount of grain present throughout the film. Both the grain and the washed-out transfer add to the 70s horror atmosphere. They may have been flaws, but they didn’t detract from the movie. Overall, it isn’t really that bad looking, but the transfer is very inconsistent, even from shot to shot. I started noticing some edge enhancement during the second half of the film, but again, it varied from shot to shot. The problems become infinitely more visible during the darker scenes of the film. I’m guessing the small budget contributed to the look of the film, but some of the shots were just inexcusable.

    Video Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    There weren’t any noticeable problems with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on Dead and Breakfast. Some of the dialog sounded like it was recorded poorly, but aside from that everything sounds good. The effects channels and LFE are used well, but not overly so. As long as your not expecting Lord of the Rings, you’ll be pleased. This is a low-budget horror movie and it sounds like one.

    Audio Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Commentaries – This DVD features two commentaries. The first includes Director Matthew Leutwyler, Special Effects Supervisor Michael Mosher and Actors Erik Palladino and Zach Selwyn. The second commentary includes Matthew Leutwyler, and Actors Ever Carradine, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Erik Palladino and Oz Perkins. I sampled both commentaries, and they sounded interesting if a little redundant. At times it seemed like there were too many conversations going on, but that’s a problem any commentary with a lot of participants will have. If I have some free time, I’ll revisit both of these commentaries in the future. The cast and crew sound like they all had a lot of fun making this film.
    Deleted & Extended Scenes(9:37) – A series of deleted scenes. I didn’t notice anything too interesting, mainly just more character interaction. Unfortunately, there are no chapter stops, so the only way to watch them is all at once.
    Blooper Reel(3:06) – This is a pretty standard blooper reel.
    Additional Music(0:47) – A very short look at some music that didn’t make it into the film.
    Poster & Still Gallery – Pretty self-explanatory: a series of still photos and poster-art for the film.

    This DVD also features the original theatrical trailer along with a look at some other Anchor Bay DVDs. The video extras are pretty crappy quality-wise, but all are anamorphic.

    Extras Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    In Closing…
    Dead and Breakfast provides a unique and nostalgic look at horror clichés from the past. It owes a lot to Peter Jackson’s early films Bad Taste and Dead Alive. Much like those films, Dead and Breakfast has its tongue planted firmly in its cheek for the entirety. The tone of the film is perfect, in my opinion. I know there are a lot of people on this forum that are vehemently opposed to horror-comedies, but the rest of you will love this movie. The balance between gore and comedy is pitch-perfect, and the movie never gets boring. While the majority of the horror films coming out today are still cloned based on the Scream formula, there is a great independent horror movement on the rise. May, Cabin Fever, and more recently Haute Tension are great examples a return to the 70s style of horror film. While I’ll always be interested in what comes out of the mainstream studios, it seems that smaller low-budget films will always rule the horror genre. Dead and Breakfast upholds this belief, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun gory ride.

    Overall Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Matt Stone
    3 September, 2005
  2. Cory H.

    Cory H. Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 22, 2005
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    Ahhh..say no more. I knew this was a blind buy from the start. I've read some really solid reviews, specifically stating how well acted this was for a little low budget venture, with B list stars, no less.
  3. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

    Jul 19, 2003
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