• Art Of The Dead (Umbrella Entertainment) DVD Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: October 2nd, 2019.
    Director: Rolfe Kanefsky
    Cast: Tara Reid, Richard Grieco, Jessica Morris, Tania Fox, Sarah French, Cynthia Aileen Strahan, Zachary Chyz, Robert Donavan
    Year: 2019
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    Art Of The Dead – Movie Review:

    From writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky and writers Michael and Sonny Mahal, the team that was behind 2017’s Party Bus To Hell, comes Art Of The Dead, a new feature based on the Biblical concept of ‘The Seven Deadly Sins.’

    The film introduces us to a man named Dylan Wilson (Lukas Hassel) who has just purchased a collection of seven unique paintings at an auction (Tara Reid has a cameo here as the auctioneer). Dylan is an architect and clearly well off, these were not cheap, and he intends to proudly display them in the stately abode he shares with his wife, Gina (Jessica Morris) their oldest son, Louis (Zachary Chyz), teenaged daughter Donna (Cynthia Aileen Strahan) and their two younger kids, Jack (Jonah Gilkerson) and Suzie (Sheila Krause). Dylan is unaware of the paintings’ past owner, Douglas Winter (Richard Grieco), and the unfortunate fate that befell him.

    Of course, things inevitably start to get strange for the Wilson family not too long after the paintings arrive in the home. As things go from bad to worse, Father Gregory Mendale (Robert Donavan) is brought into the storyline. He knows the history of the paintings, and how the man behind their creation, Dorian Wilde (Danny Tesla), made an unholy alliance in order to create his illustrative homage to pride, list, gluttony, sloth, greed, envy and wrath – the same seven deadly sins that seem to be plaguing the Wiksons. Mendale finds an unlikely ally in Louis’ girlfriend Kim Katlin (Alex Rinehart) in his efforts to save the Wilson’s from certain doom!

    While it’s clear that this wasn’t made with a massive budget, Kanefsky and company do a pretty solid job of getting every penny up there on the screen. The effects work here is quite strong, and very creative, and the movie doesn’t lack in gore. There’s some pretty wild creature design on display here too. The house used as the main location is quite photogenic and makes a suitable spot to place this story, and the cinematography from Michael Su is very strong – this is a handsomely shot film.

    Performances are generally decent enough, if rarely amazing. Jessica Morris scores full marks, vamping it up very nicely in the ‘Lust’ segment, and Lukas Hassel is pretty good as the patron of the family. Danny Tesla gets to chew the scenery a bit, but not as much as Robert Donavan, whose Father Mendale is the type of crazy guy who has a wall in his house covered in photographs and notes connected together by string. He’s actually a lot of fun to watch here, but his performance is far from subtle.

    The title of the film makes it sound like another zombie film, and it isn’t. It deals more with the occult, with evil forces and with morality. Granted, this isn’t necessarily new ground for a horror film either, but it does at least take an interesting approach to all of this.

    Art Of The Dead – DVD Review:

    Umbrella Entertainment presents Art Of The Dead on DVD framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and the digitally shot feature looks fine. There are, obviously, no problems with any print damage. Colors look quite nice and are reproduced well and we get strong black levels. Detail is fine for a standard definition offering. All in all, the image is pretty solid here.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track on the disc is also fine. The different stories are all shot in English, no subtitles are provided. Dialogue is generally pretty clean and clear. The track is nicely balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    There are no extra features on this DVD.

    Art Of The Dead – The Final Word:

    Art Of The Dead might not rank up there with the best horror films of the last decade but as far as modestly budgeted indie productions go, it’s entertaining. A few fun performances, an interesting story and some pretty solid effects work go a long way here. Umbrella’s DVD release is barebones but it looks and sounds just fine. This was a fun watch.