Though Shout! Factory is primarily known as a nostalgia label dealing in vintage film and television, a certain percentage of their output is devoted to modern fare. Dead Cert is an example of their new-release work and offers a solid presentation for this British vampire/gangster hybrid.
Dead Cert was shot in the ‘scope format and it gets a nice, anamorphic treatment here that makes the most of its 2.35:1 framing. One of the film’s best assets is the colorful cinematography by James Friend and this disc gives it a suitably vivid look, especially with the bright primary colors used in the club sequences.
In terms of audio, the viewer is offered the choice of 7.1 or 2.0 stereo mixes. The former offers a few more directional effects than the latter but both mixes are surprisingly subdued. The culprit here is poor production audio that affects the dialogue level in different scenes. Effects and music come through fine.
A few extras are offered to round out the presentation. The first is a commentary featuring producer Jonathan Sothcott and cast members Craig Fairbrass, Billy Murray and Lisa MacAllister. The tone is jokey — early on, one of the cast members says “Does anyone actually listen to DVD commentaries?” — but Sothcott acts as a moderator for his wisecracking cast and offers some interesting bits of into about the supporting cast and locations. He is also frank about the film’s shortcomings and periodically gets worthwhile comments from the actors. The end result is lightweight but has its moments if you’re seriously interested in the film.
Much more substantial is a half-hour making-of featurette on the film. There’s a certain amount of EPK puffery going on here, particularly when the actors are enthusing about the derivative story, but the featurette also gets into interesting material about how particular stunts and effects were achieved. It is interesting to note that this featurette includes input from director Steven Lawson, who is curiously absent on the commentary track. A trailer is the last inclusion.
In short, this is a solid presentation of Dead Cert. The image quality is good, the audio does the best it can with mediocre source material and, between the commentary and the featurette, you get a decent amount of behind-the-scenes info on the production. If Dead Cert interests you, this disc is a worthwhile way to check it out.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Dead Cert, click here.