DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Warning Sign

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, May 2, 2006.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Real Name:
    Michael Osadciw

    Distributed by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Film Year: 1985
    Film Length: 99 minutes
    Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror/Drama

    Aspect Ratio:

    Colour/B&W: Colour

    English [​IMG] [​IMG] 2.0 Surround

    Subtitles: none
    Film Rating: [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Release Date: May 23, 2006.

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

    Scare Factor: [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sam Waterson (Cal Morse), Kathleen Quinlan (Joanie Morse), Yaphet Kotto (Major Connolly), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dr. Dan Fairchild), Richard A. Dysart (Dr. Nielson)

    Written by: Hal Barwood & Matthew Robbins
    Directed by: Hal Barwood

    Modern Man. Science has given him the ultimate power to create new forms of life. But with that power comes overwhelming responsibility…and danger.


    Biotek is the leading company in biological engineering and to the residents of a small Midwestern town the company is working on new revolutionary developments for the agricultural community…or are they? What we find out in this film is that this is a secret government research center for biological warfare and even most of the employees have no idea!

    Cal Morse is the town sheriff who is called to Biotek because of a serious outbreak of a deadly bacterium. An accident in the lab causes it to spread to humans through the air thus prompting the company’s security worker Joanie (who is also Cal’s wife) to put the building under a lockdown to prevent the bacteria from spreading beyond the building’s walls. The people in the building panic in a rage as if they had never been through a drill of an emergency lockdown – a surprise given that they work in this building. Also, despite the warnings, some scientists are also too ready to dismiss the lockdown as a drill rather than an emergency without any knowledge of what actually is going on. Their ignorance causes the bacteria to spread and infect others inside. What does it do? Well, it causes people to go absolutely insane and make them extremely aggressive and strong and turn on their own people before dying.

    The government is called in and there is an angry mob of citizens outside the building who are demanding answers. The government isn’t willing to budge on it either, but the way the whole scenario is handled, both inside the building and outside is simply silly. There seems to be little enforcement and rules and it is handled poorly by the authorities – certainly not something we’d ever see in reality. I gives the film a stamp of “low budget” but I can’t help but enjoy it at the same time – right until the end of the film until Cal must decide whether or not to let the clumsy authorities save his wife or if he should dare go inside and face the danger himself.

    [​IMG]VIDEO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This title isn’t bad in terms of image quality. In fact many scenes look super-sharp and detailed and have very good depth perception. Indoor scenes in the science lab have well balanced white levels and the sealed and dark hallways have very good black levels that challenge the quality of modern films. The film, rather than the DVD, does fall short in terms of colour saturation of today’s film, but the DVD accurately reproduces it without fault. There is no edge enhancement applied to this video transfer and compression artefacts are virtually absent. The image does seem tweaked a little in some scenes in terms of colour temperature. The resulting image seems to have more blue than usual giving it a cool look. The aspect ratio seems to be just slightly under 1.85:1 and is enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    [​IMG]AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Dolby Digital-encoded 2.0 surround soundtrack is moderately active beyond the center channel. The music and a few sound effects fill up the front soundstage and it doesn’t activate any excitement or urgency for this film. Most the information is in the centre channel; it is clear and articulate despite being somewhat dated sounding. The rest of the sound is thin and lacks the roundness at all frequencies. This may also be in part of the ultra-low bitrate of Dolby 2.0.

    TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    /OFF?: OFF

    Leave your transducer off since there is no dedicated LFE. If you are summing bass from all of your main channels, you may find a little bit of bass going to the sub (and to your transducer) but these moments are brief and don’t highlight any impacting moments in the film – it’ll just be filtered low-frequency audio from all sounds in the soundtrack.


    There is very little in terms of special features but I am happy to say that the disc does at least include an audio commentary from writer/director Hal Barwood. He is excited to revisit his old movie and seems very happy to provide the commentary. He provides interesting insight to the development of this film as well as providing interesting facts about decisions made about story and the film as we see it today.

    Also included on this disc is the film’s theatrical trailer and the TV Spot. The trailer makes this film look very good. It’s amazing what good editing can do!

    IN THE END...

    Warning Sign is not what I would call an excellent thriller. The disregard for reality took me out of the film at the beginning because I kept thinking about how unrealistic some scenarios would be. Still, the film does address the theories of secrecy of the U.S. military and I’m sure it spun more rumours and dialogue about it. Despite the silliness of the film I still did enjoy it and the quality of the DVD is better than I expected. I always give Anchor Bay credit for providing good DVDs to fans of lesser-known films for the era of cheese.

    Michael Osadciw
    May 02, 2006.
  2. Bill Thomann

    Bill Thomann Supporting Actor

    Nov 2, 2003
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    Thanks for the review. This was one of my guilty pleasures in my younger days. I'm thinking about a purchase. Now if my all time favorite camp, cheesy sci fi movie Night Of The Comet would get a release I'd be first in line for that.
  3. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

    Feb 10, 2006
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    A good (by your own judgment) commentary, a trailer and TV spot, and yet only one out of five stars for Special Features? I'd say you're a hard man to please! [​IMG]
  4. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

    Sep 6, 2004
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    Kinda wished they kept the oriignal poster art for this, as I like the simpleness of it.

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