DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily Blu-ray Disc & DVD news and reviews
The Damned (2013)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/11/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/30/2014
We hear all the time about how global communication is making the world smaller and allowing people in distant lands to be in touch. The ability to send information anywhere via the internet has certainly made it easier to access entertainment from various parts of the Earth. Does this explain the recent increase in movies coming out of South America, or is there another cause? In recent years, we've seen titles likeCold Sweat, Silent House, and Penumbra, which clearly represent a new voice in South American filmmakers, many of whom have a penchant for horror movies. While it does feature some international actors, The Damned is the latest in this new wave of South American horror.
David Reynolds (Peter Facinelli) has traveled to Colombia, along with his fiancee, Lauren (Sophia Myles), in order to retrieve his daughter, Jill (Nathalia Ramos), who has been documenting poverty in the country. Jill has been traveling with Gina (Carolina Guerra), the sister of David's deceased wife. When David is reunited with Jill and Gina, he also meets Ramon (Sebastian Martinez), the cameraman and Jill's new love interest. David is prepared to take Jill back to the United States, but she's left her passport in another city. The group begins the journey, taking a backroad shortcut which Gina claims is safe. However, the road is treacherous and a flash-flood topples the SUV. The group flees to a nearby house for safety, where they find Felipe (Gustavo Angarita), an old man who acts very suspicious and who is hesitant to let them inside. Upon exploring the house, they find a locked door in the basement which houses a young girl, Ana Maria (Julieta Salazar). Despite Felipe's protests, Ana Maria is freed from the room. As they wait for the storm to pass so that they can get to the next town, mysterious things begin to happen.
The Damned makes a concerted effort to combine various elements of the thriller/horror genre. We get a little bit of the "stranger in a strange land" formula, as David and Lauren don't speak Spanish and often feel confused and scared, especially in dangerous situations. There's a definite dose of The Exorcist-like demonic behavior as we are treated to the familiar dark force which knows all of the deep, dark secrets of the characters. The second half of the film turns into a supernatural version of The Hidden, as the evil can jump from person to person. The movie tackles each of these in the order which they appear above, and does so dutifully.
The Damned reinforces the notion that I should stay home on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of IFC. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The opening, daytime scenes have a nice crispness to them. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth is notable and the image is rarely soft. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The mix does a nice job of illustrating sounds coming from throughout the house, as we are treated to detailed surround and stereo effects. The front effects show nice separation and the rear doesn't simply mimic the front. The subwoofer comes into play during the flood and the "shock" moments.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long