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Eclectic DVD presents
Biohazardous (2001)

"Just stay the hell away from Gentech!"
- Hank Forman (Gary Ray)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 04, 2003

Stars: Sprague Grayden, Al Thompson, Thomas A. Cahill
Other Stars: Will Dunham, David Garver, Jon Avner, Katherine Winnick, Matt Markey, Gary Ray, Alan Prewitt, Michelle Santopietro, Lino Alvarez, David Polne
Director: Michael J. Hein

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (gore, language)
Run Time: 01h:34m:57s
Release Date: February 18, 2003
UPC: 022891102991
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B+B+B- B-

DVD Review

There have been a number of really good zombie films since George Romero redefined the genre with his masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead, in 1968, but there has also been a disproportionately large number of really bad ones, too. Biohazardous, for all of its low-budget/shot-on-video trappings, comes across as an unexpectedly good one, with writer/director Michael J. Hein having assembled a zombie film that is actually written well.

When the mysterious genetics research facility, Gentech Industries, has an "accident" that releases the deadly ROTD germ, it quickly turns the locked-down staff into a pack of ravenous, flesh-eating zombies. That in and of itself would be bad news, but problems are compounded by the presence of a group of teenagers partying nearby, an overly zealous activist priest on a search-and-destroy mission, and a pair of local cops, all of whom eventually find themselves trapped in Gentech, fighting for their lives against an ever-growing army of entrail-munching zombies.

Hein's script calls for much of what you expect in film like this, with plenty of shuffling fiends and the required moments of gory intestine-gnawing. The thing that sets Biohazardous apart from so many other lesser zombie wannabes is the caliber of Hein's dialogue; the characters' actions and reactions to their situation seem largely plausible and believable, even if the zombies don't always seem particularly menacing.

Some of the characters are played comically over-the-top, like Thomas A. Cahill's nasty Gentech head, Mr. Stine, and Will Dunham's law-breaking Father Morris; but most of the cast talks and walks like normal, everyday people. Hein even goes so far as to do the unthinkable and populate his film with teenagers that actually look like teens, and not twenty-somethings trying to look and act "young."

Much of Hein's film seems like something we've seen before, from Romero's classic to Dan O'Bannon's The Return of the Living Dead, and the old story of the ragtag group of individuals trying to stay alive against a horde of zombies is certainly nothing new. Like a good Halloween haunted house, this one does move along quickly and has plenty of nasty things popping out of dark corners.

Even though it is a clearly low-budget project, Biohazardous showcases Hein as someone with a lot of promise, not just as a horror director, but more significantly as a writer.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image transfer for Biohazardous is provided in nonanamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen. Shot on video, the image detail is unquestionably solid, with a strong, rich color field. Though the video "look" of the finished product makes some of the scenes look a little low-rent, the transfer itself is a good one.

Nice job, Eclectic.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in simple 2.0 stereo, and it is a serviceable track, despite the noticeable lack of any real bottom end. Dialogue is clean and hiss-free, and the numerous metal songs used on the soundtrack are mixed VERY LOUDLY.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Michael J. Hein, Anthony Pepe, Todd Broder, Thomas A. Cahill
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Slide Show
Extras Review: The good news is that Eclectic has included a full-length, scene-specific commentary from writer/director Michael J. Hein, makeup effects supervisor Anthony Pepe, assistant director Todd Broder and actor Thomas A. Cahill. The bad news is that it is not a particularly interesting track, despite the promise made by Hein at the outset to discuss how a low-budget film is made. The track, which is horribly miked, quickly drifts into the realm of just a bunch of friends sitting around gabbing (not necessarily a bad thing, just not wholly informative) and the constant sound of cans being opened made me suspect the atmosphere was very laid back indeed.

Also thrown in is a theatrical trailer and an automated Slide Show, which is essentially a batch of production stills and promo photos.

The disc is cut into 12 chapters, and does not feature any subtitles.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Who cares if it's a low-budget, shot-on-video horror film? Biohazardous is a blast, even if the zombies look like they shuffled off the Thriller set.

Recommended for flesh-eating zombie fans everywhere.

 


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