Blu-Ray Review: Kolobos (1999) by Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk

Company: Arrow Video
Director: Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
Year: 1999
Genre: Slasher
Discs: 1
Special Features:
Commentary-Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk
Featurette-Real World Massacre: The Making of 'Kolobos'
Interview-Face to Faceless: Ilia Volok
Interview-Slice and Dice: The Music of Kolobos
Short Film-Superhelden by Daniel Liatowitsch
Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery

To learn about the movie itself: Go HERE.

As for the disc-
Picture: **/5

For the most part, the picture quality here is somewhat distractedly bad. The hi-def transfer, done in a new 1.85:1 anamorphic 2K scan, appears to be exceptionally grainy and very low-quality. This becomes more obvious during darker moments rather than the lighter scenes where the grains become increasingly noticeable and feature the specks becoming more prominent on the screen as if this was a muddied third-or-fourth generation bootleg from a high-quality transfer. With the number of splotches on offer throughout the film, it's incredibly difficult to see what lead them to sign off on the work here as this is far below Arrow's high-quality standards, but thankfully because details are still quite obvious here so it's not a failing grade. Still, this is a rather low-quality transfer and makes the film look lower-budget than it really is.

Sound: ***/5

The new release here provides both a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and a 2.0 LPCM soundtracks for the dialog, and while neither are spectacular they both serve their purpose nicely. The soundtrack by William Kidd is given full-range here with his Italian horror-inspired score that sounds clear and helps to elevate the scenes rather nicely, and while not the most impressive test for your sound-system the dialog scenes are decent enough. More than likely a product of the recording format rather than the actual pressing, everything has a slightly lower quality than would be expected here but if you can't tell what's going on a fine subtitle track is provided as well. The 5.1 version might be the preferred version as it makes the mechanical devices and booby traps sound more imposing, but it's more a case of individual preference here.

Extras: ****/5

As per usual, Arrow goes the extra mile to provide this one with a stellar assortment of bonus features. The main selling point here is a fun and loaded commentary track by writer/directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk which is exceptionally thrilling. Going over the finer points of first-time film-making on a budget, the duo regal stories of their initial shoot and the infamous round of re-shoots they had to undertake, the filming on-location at the Nebraska house and openly talking about the various homages they placed in the film. It's fun, engaging and certainly a light-hearted look at the film that was obviously a labor of love to them and is carried through on the track, making for a perfect centerpiece just by itself.

Also included is a special behind-the-scenes documentary on the making-of for the film, consisting of interviews with writer/directors Daniel Liatowitsch and David Todd Ocvirk and producer Nne Ebong interspersed with clips and on-set photos from the filming. Detailing the process behind getting the script together, casting and the perils of shooting their first film at the remote house on a low-budget, this is a fine and breezy effort that could've used some more on-set stories from the actors but that speaks to the fun quality of the material as a whole since you get enough but still want more.

Rounding out the supplements are several short interviews, first with actor Ilia Volok (who played the face-peeling killer) and composer William Kidd which both last for about ten minutes and features them talking about their contributions to the film. A short-film called Superhelden by director Daniel Liatowitsch, about a group of friends coming together in a punk-rock group, is included along with commentary by Daniel, and finally a brief featurette about the restored version of the film playing theatrically in the UK for the first time. With a couple of trailers and photo galleries among the supplements, this is a special red-carpet treatment for the film that is a gold-mine for fans to dig into.

Of special note is a booklet that's also included in the film's release which was not provided for review.

Overview: ***1/2/5
Graced with plenty of fine supplemental material but a generally sketchy presentation for a great movie itself, this is a somewhat mixed bag for an enjoyable enough effort. Those that are looking to upgrade from their older DVD copies should find plenty to like here with the bonus materials alone, but sticklers for the audio/video presentation will not be that pleased with the technical specs here.

To order the film: LINK.