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Warner Home Video presents
Believers (Unrated) (2007)

"All the more reason to bring some normal babies into this world, no? Otherwise, the crazies...are gonna take over."
- David Vaughn (Johnny Messner)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: January 11, 2008

Stars: Johnny Messner
Other Stars: Jon Huertas, Deanna Russo Saige Ryan Campbell, Daniel Benzali, Erik Passoja
Director: Daniel Myrick

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic violence)
Run Time: 01h:42m:38s
Release Date: September 16, 2007
UPC: 012569838178
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ D+BB+ B-

DVD Review

Warner Home Video's Raw Feed line of direct-to-DVD genre films continues with its most ambitious project yet, Believers. Adding to the intrigue of whether this fledgling genre series can finally get it right is the participation of the co-director of The Blair Witch Project, Daniel Myrick. Despite having a semi-big-name director attached, this effort doesn't do much to elevate the Raw Feed films to another level, let alone make it even worthy of previous entries in their canon.

David Vaughn (Johnny Messner) and his partner, Vic Hernandez (Jon Huertas) are paramedics handling a call at a nearly-isolated gas station. They arrive at the scene to find a little girl named Libby (Saige Ryan Campbell) and her mother, Rebecca (Deanna Russo), who is nearly dead. It isn't long before they're interrupted by a truck full of cultists who kidnap the lot of them. David and Vic soon learn that this group, the Quanta Group, believes the end of the world is near, and that their leader, The Teacher (Daniel Benzali), will take them to another dimension once this catastrophic event occurs. Of course, such a thing involves mass suicide, so David and Vic must rescue Libby and fight off the sinister Io (Erik Passoja) to escape this deadly compound.

There's simply not much to wrap your head around here, let alone actually like about the film. Much of this is a result of the fact that of all of the numerous situations our fearless paramedics find themselves in, none of them would ever happen to someone in their profession, let alone average joes. It isn't exactly commonplace for paramedics to respond to a call, and, say, be abducted by a maniacal cult, now is it? Sure, there has to be some suspension of disbelief in any film, especially those depicting the possibilities of an apocalypse, but we should only have to stretch our imaginations so much, at least for the first half hour of such a project. Otherwise, we lose interest before we even have a chance to want to like what we're seeing.

Not helping matters are the Z-list cast, led by one of the most unbelievable "action heroes" you'll ever see on film. We're introduced to Vaughn as the typical "macho guy whose lady love is about to give birth to their first child," and he's a walking clich from that point forward. Messner doesn't do a thing to enhance his character's boring traits either, as we never feel sympathy for the guy, regardless of how nuts we might think these cultists are. The poor acting doesn't stop with Messner, though, as no one really stands out among the cast, and for someone who's supposed to be the "creepy" villain, Erik Passoja is very forgettable as the horribly named Io.

Still, regardless of how tough it is to plod our way through this extremely slow, meandering, often unengaging film, you simply have to stick around for the final five minutes. While some may see the twist ending coming from a mile away, such predictability doesn't take anything away from its effectiveness. Unfortunately, the awesome ending also enhances the pedestrian nature of the rest of the film, leaving us to wonder why such thought and imagination couldn't have been put into the preceding 90 minutes.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is good, but unspectacular. Images are nicely detailed, while black and shadow levels are well-handled. Colors are rich, but lack in vibrancy at times, yet there isn't any bleeding or other blemishes. The print is free of any dirt or grain as well.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is a bit more impressive than the video, thanks to a wide dynamic range and nice directional effects. It's a good overall mix, complete with crystal clear dialogue, and sound effects that blend well with the rest of the audio elements.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring I Am Legend, Flight of the Living Dead, Blade Runner: The 25th Anniversary Edition, Return to House on Haunted Hill, Rest Stop, Sublime
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Daniel Myrick and Julia Fair.
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extra features include an audio commentary track with director Daniel Myrick and Julia Fair. These two talk about a wide range of topics, but talk a bit too much about how great the cast is, which most viewers will disagree with. There is some nice discussion about the tight shooting schedule and struggles involved with budget limitations.

We also get five deleted/extended scenes that run for almost 19 minutes and include a longer version of the Lina Vance interview from the beginning of the film and a few scenes shown with special cameras and video formats.

There's also the original trailer for Believers.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Another misfire in the direct-to-DVD Raw Feed line, Daniel Myrick's Believers is a mess that is nearly saved by an incredible ending. It's just too bad a poorly-written script and plenty of bad acting gets in the way of making the rest of the movie a worthwhile venture. Warner's disc is solid, with excellent audio and video, plus a few decent making-of extra features.


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