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The Demented (2013)

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/30/2013

All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/22/2013

Since the beginning of time, stories have had heroes and villains -- characters for whom we cheer and those which we loathe. The rules were simple, we live the heroes and don't like the villains. Over time, these rules changed a bit and we got anti-heroes, people who weren't necessarily good guys, but ended up doing the right thing, and we liked them. Similarly, some movies featured charismatic villains whom we loved to hate. Lately, I've noticed a new trend -- movies which feature characters which we are supposed to like, but they are so obnoxious and annoying that we hate them immediately. This is especially true in horror movies, where at least a touch of goodwill should be built towards the characters as they are probably going to die. But, loudmouthed idiots seem to dominate these movies today. This is just one of the problems found in The Demented.

The Demented finds six college friends (consisting of three couples) -- Taylor (Kayla Ewell) & David (Richard Kohnke), Brice (Ashlee Brian) & Naomi (Brittney Alger), and Howard (Michael Welch) & Sharley (Sarah Butler) -- who decide to spend a weekend at Howard's family's country home. Upon arriving, they find that the house is very nice and the partying begins. Howard's father calls to alert them that a terrorist organization has attacked the U.S. with missiles and Taylor sees one fly by the area, followed by an explosion in the distance. Not long afterwards, a dog attacks the house. When David goes into town looking for help, he is attacked by a woman. Soon, the house is overrun by people who are violent and out-of-control and the group finds themselves fighting for their lives.

Like seemingly every second low-budget horror movie released these days, The Demented is attempting to cash in on the zombie movie craze, which is somehow still happening. As far as the "zombies" go, this movie decides to go the 28 Days Later route, at the attackers are living people who have been driven to violent acts by an infectious disease. The infected can move very quickly, seemingly have no fear, and attack in packs. When there is nothing around to stimulate them, they stand perfectly still. The six friends find themselves barricaded in the house and they realize that they must get to civilization if they hope to survive, as the supplies in the house are limited.

If those attributes sound familiar and remind you of other movies, then you've stumbled upon the big, big problem with The Demented. You've seen this all before, many, many times. I can't begin to list the number of movies where a group of friends head to the country only to run into trouble. (Seriously, can we get a moratorium on this plot until someone comes up with something truly original to do with it?) As noted above, the antagonists act like the monsters from 28 Days Later or 2004's Dawn of the Dead. The idea that the infected stand still and attack anything that draws their attention is reminiscent of the nurses from Silent Hill. I would love to say that first-time Writer/Director Christopher Roosevelt has injected at least one original idea into the movie, but he hasn't. Even the ending, which may be jarring to some, combines Jacob's Ladder with Night of the Living Dead. And, as mentioned in the opening, it doesn't help The Demented that I hated both Naomi and Howard from the second they appeared on-screen and couldn't wait to see them get attacked. This sort of thing didn't do the movie any favors.

Which brings us to the ultimate question -- are there any redeeming features in The Demented? Honestly, no. But, when compared to the kind of garbage we saw from low-budget horror movies in the 70s and 80s, The Demented doesn't look like a bad movie, which illustrates one of the major issues with today's direct-to-video products. Thanks to HD photography, the movie has a slick look. Someone clearly put some effort into finding the locations and clearing the city streets (almost) for some shots. The stunt work is notably good here. However, if you actually watch the movie, you'll be bored and realize that all of the slickness in the world is useless without some creativity behind it. If your goal in life is to see every 28 Days Later tribute movie, then check out The Demented. Otherwise, you've been warned.

The Demented shows that Dave really isn't a nice guy when he's under pressure on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 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 obvious grain and no defects from the source materials. As noted above, this is a sharp looking movie, as the colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as is the depth. The picture has a notable crispness to it. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The scenes in which the infected first attack the house exemplify the quality of this track, as we can hear glass breaking in both the front and rear channels, and the sounds are well-placed in the speakers to illustrate audio coming from different areas of the house. The subwoofer really comes to life during the finale.

The Demented Blu-ray Disc contains no extra features.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.