The Killing Gene (2008) - Unrated

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Thriller
Dimension Extreme || Unrated - 104 minutes - $19.98 || August 12, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-08-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Tom Shankland
Writer(s): Clive Bradley (screenplay)
Cast:


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Crew Interviews
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gore Effect Feature
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

Originally titled W Delta Z (WaZ) and later renamed to The Killing Gene by Weinstein for an American DVD release, this direct to DVD film is easily one of the best that the "Dimension Extreme" label has released in its long line of unique horror films. With a story very similar to Saw and Hostel, this film tends to tug a bit more at the heart strings rather than just going for brutal torture porn like the others.

A pregnant woman is found dead by the river with the letters WaZ carved into her stomach and her body appears to be electrocuted. Detective Eddie Argo (Stellan Skarsgard) and rookie partner Helen Westcott (Melissa George) soon track down the women's boyfriend where they find out that he hung himself. But they notice he has burn marks on his fingers... the question becomes would he really electrocute his pregnant girlfriend? Soon the Detectives find out members of the gang are being targeted by an unknown individual where they are being forced to either kill a loved one, or suffer through hours of agonizing pain instead. Will a mother save her child? A son save his grandmother?

I got to say, I usually go into these films with low expectations, but The Killing Gene was a pretty good film. With a decent story, superb acting, and gruesome scenes this film hits gold more often than not. While itís nowhere as good as the Saw or Hostel series, it still holds its own and itís a shame it never got an American Theatrical release.

My main issue with the film is that is runs 20 minutes too long. We get an amazing setup to the story and then it just sits and dwells for the next hour until the final twenty minutes where the story finally picks up. Running 104 minutes long this film could have been much more enjoyable at a slimmer running time.

Towards the end of the film we get thrown the "what the hell" card when a shocking twist is made apparent to us. I have to say, I was not expecting it at all. When it finally gets revealed (and I'm not talking about the identity of the killer - which is known to us halfway through the movie) I wasn't sure what to think. While it certainly fits with the character, considering the discussions they had, I don't really see it actually happening in real life.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Interviews with Director, Producer and Writer - A pretty good discussion about how the film got started and where the ideas came from.

Deleted Scenes (with Optional Commentary) - A handful of deleted scenes are included all of which were rightfully cut. Too bad they didn't cut more from the final version of the film - too many talky scenes for a horror film and not enough gore.

Gore Effect Feature - A look at the making of a scene not included in the film... (it's included in the deleted scenes)

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Killing Gene is presented in its OAR, 2.35. I wasn't very impressed with the picture quality as the film takes place almost exclusively at night scenes are very dark and grainy. Too often I was having a hard time seeing what was supposed to be going on.

Weinstein has included an English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 track for this release. Unfortunately, for some reason I had an issue with dialog in this release. Dialog was incredibly muffled and many times I couldn't understand what the characters were saying. The problem stems from having too much music and bass coming from the rear speakers which overpowers the dialog. I tested this in both my HD DVD player (Toshiba XA2) and my Blu-ray player (Sony S350) and found many scenes unwatchable.



.::OVERALL::.

The Killing Gene is a great movie that is unfortunately going to be overlooked due to it being released in what many to consider an offbeat horror label. I on the other hand recommend renting this film as it serves as a great horror film and packed with a decent amount of special features.