Dawn of the Dead—Universal (Blu-ray)

Video: 4.25/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 3/5

When a mysterious virus turns people into mindless, flesh-eating zombies, a handful of survivors wage a desperate, last-stand battle to stay alive...and human.

Horror remakes are rarely something I look forward to. I wasn’t really that big of a fan of the original Dawn of the Dead by Romero but I must say I was really blown away by how good of a remake 300 director Zack Snyder did with this one. The film is an all out assault from beginning to end and has a great balance of horror, comedy and suspense. The level of control showed in the production coupled with the outstanding production value made this one of my favorite horror films of the last few years.

Universal already did a great job with the HD DVD presentation of this film and the Blu-ray continues that tradition. I didn’t see a lot of difference between the encodes but I thought the Blu-ray version could be a tad more detailed at times. The image has a very stylized look including stark contrast levels and slightly blown out whites. Colors are also on the oversaturated side and lend to the look. This works really well for the film and adds a bit of intensity to the film. Fine object detail is outstanding throughout and the grain structure adds a lot to the presentation. Some of the unrated footage that is added in looks a bit worse for wear compared to the original footage but I didn’t find it too distracting. Otherwise this is a great HD presentation.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is a great mix of dynamics and atmosphere. This mix takes full advantage of the surround soundstage and really nails the mood with subtle surround cues and chilling range. The bottom end can be pretty daunting at times and really lends to the ominous mood and intensity of the film. Dialogue is balanced perfectly within the mix and I loved the playful soundtrack.

Extras include a picture-in-picture production feature that includes interviews, commentary and a behind the scenes look at the production. You also get a feature commentary with the director.

Horror films are largely duds lately but this is one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a great blend of intensity, terror, gore and action. Universal has done a great job with the presentation making this one a must own for fans of the genre.

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