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Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead(2011)
A group of horror fans find themselves unwilling participants in a nightmarish role playing game that pays homage to a classic horror film.
For more about Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead and the Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray release, see Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 11, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Sid Haig, Allen Maldonado
Director: Douglas Schulze
» See full cast & crew
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray Review
Death is the sincerest form of flattery.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 11, 2013
We don't live in Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood; we live in hell.
The hot-button issue to dominate news chatter, opinion pieces, water cooler banter, dinner table talk, and all other forms of communication has been both the role of violent film and video games and firearms availability in the most recent American mass shootings. These lead straight to the heart of two of the most cherished rights -- the First and Second amendments to the U.S. Constitution -- but have also brought to the forefront the role of mental instability in real life acts of violence and the possible link between media violence and real-life violence. Mimesis -- which means, as quoited straight from the movie, "life imitating art" -- is a Horror picture that seems rather timely, at least on the surface. It's the story of regular people, some of them Horror movie buffs, some not, stuck in the middle of a Horror movie come to life, namely George Romero's timeless classic Night of the Living Dead. They are not there by chance, however; it's the devious brainchild of sick and twisted minds that have moved beyond taking in Horror as a form of entertainment and chosen instead to live a Horror movie rather than simply watch it from the safety of the recliner. It's very much a film in the mold of Scream -- a Horror movie built around classic Horror movie premises -- but it's also an example, albeit an extreme one, of just the sort of mental illnesses that's become a focal point of modern culture. Sadly, the film doesn't really explore to any satisfaction the demented minds in question. That leaves the film to work on its superficial merits and the strength of the idea, the former not-so-good and the latter exceptional. Is the premise, then, enough to make Mimesis the next Scream?
Horror superfan Russell (Taylor Piedmonte) has dragged his friend Duane (Allen Maldonado) to a Horror film convention. Russell's into it -- big time -- but Duane largely mocks the experience, going so far as to rudely interrupt a session with a genre icon (Sid Haig, House of 1,000 Corpses). At lunch, Russell and Dwayne are invited to an exclusive after-hours party by the mysterious and sexy Judith (Lauren Mae Shafer). Russell doesn't want to attend, but Duane is suddenly very interested in what the Horror community has to offer him. Upon arrival, Duane discovers that he's been had; Judith has a boyfriend and the evening seems lost. Suddenly, Duane awakens inside a pickup truck, his clothes changed, and with no idea how he got there. Russell also awakens in a nearby cemetery, his clothes changed, but with a young lady named Karen (Jana Thompson) at his side. Quickly, they're attacked by zombies, and it doesn't take the group much time -- particularly with the help of several other survivors -- to realize that they're living George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, a film in which none of the humans survive the ordeal.
Mimesis should be a genre fan's dream come true, but it's an imperfect film. The concept is fantastic -- take a cinema icon and make a movie about people living that movie -- but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. It's a very predictable and largely straightforward affair; few details come as much of a surprise, making the movie disappointingly linear. It feeds off of its concept but never goes anywhere with it. There's little "why" in the movie -- though certainly one can argue that the absence of "why" makes a Horror movie all the more frightening -- but it does largely gloss over the disturbing psychological overtones in favor of subtle humor and bland characters on both sides of the victim-villain ledger. The character roster, other than physically imitating the makeup of those from Night of the Living Dead, is made of largely unlikable folks which lessens the impact of their demise. On the flip side, the absence of a more thorough exploration of the villains leaves their revelations and motives and appearances less frightening. Mimesis feels like a purpose-driven movie that forgot the purpose beyond the premise. It's a fine idea that ultimately falls into a rather generic resolution that lessens the overall feel of the film considerably.
What the film does do rather well is recreate Night of the Living Dead, at least in a superficial sense. The movie emits an air of familiarity -- then again that's the entire premise; it would be an epic disaster if it didn't get that right -- and reinforces a slightly creepy motif of uncertainty with the occasional glimpse of a television playing the film in the background. The movie does significantly up the ante in terms of raw violence; there are some choice shots throughout, shots of torn flesh, severed limbs, and the usual array of grisly Zombie fodder. Some of the visuals take on a rather phony-looking CGI appearance, but the practical effects are quite good. Director Douglas Schulze (Dark Fields, Dark Heaven) generally shoots the movie well enough in a straightforward sense, but does make use of random speed-up and slow-down that add no dramatic value and, on this side of the screen, little artistic purpose. The movie actually works best in its early Horror convention scenes; the rest of the movie is largely convention, too, just of a different sort. It's a decent time killer but a far-from-perfect execution of a good idea. Nevertheless, genre buffs will want to give it a spin just in appreciation of the concept and to identify both the overreaching similarities and subtle nods to Night of the Living Dead and other Horror throughout.
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray, Video Quality
Mimesis's high definition transfer is rough around the edges -- literally -- but otherwise looks nice enough. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray presentation shows plenty of unsightly shimmering around many edges, resulting in a jagged and "in-motion" appearance. From the early going forward -- the tractor and rooftops in the open, the poster frames in the Sid Haig monologue segment -- such problems are plainly visible and a fairly hefty distraction. The good news is that the transfer is otherwise proficient, save for some slightly washed out black levels in places, minor noise, and a hint of warmth to the palette. The HD photography captures, and the disc reveals, some superb definition on grasses around the country estate, worn down accents and paint in the house, and fantastic clothing and facial features on up-tight shots. Aside from that warmth, colors are fine and handled nicely, whether in bright sunlight or darkened interiors. This is an all-around good transfer, not one to display visual perfection but certainly fine enough where it counts.
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Mimesis scares up a proficient Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Listeners will note some quality exterior ambience in the opening sequence; the blend of singing birds and noisy insects makes for a fairly convincing rural environment, which carries on over for many of the film's remaining exteriors. There's a nice, wide stage utilized in music delivery. A strong low end supports a balanced midrange and top; notes seem to float into the stage naturally and effortlessly. Surround information is regular, in terms of music, action, and ambience all. Gunfire and heavier sound effects don't quite find all the natural presence and power they require, but the effects are good enough for a higher end track. Dialogue is rarely problematic, a touch shallow and rough in one or two spots but generally clear and focused in the center. It's not the end-all, be-all of Zombie movie soundtracks, but this one carries listeners through with little effort or room for complaint.
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Mimesis contains only an audio commentary track with Director/Co-Writer Douglas Schulze and Co-Writer Joshua Wagner. They craft a fairly thorough and engaging track, one that covers all the usual bases but at times in greater depth than one might expect. Hearing the specifics of the story, the details of the shoot, and the general details of the filmmaking process all help to enhance the film and better shape the filmmakers' vision for it. They do mention "deleted scenes" which, unfortunately, are not included. This is a very sound, worthwhile track that fans should enjoy.
Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Mimesis gets by on the strength of its concept, but the film ultimately feels more like a missed opportunity than a polished novelty. It features bland characters, little purpose beyond recreating Night of the Living Dead, and devolves into a rather mindless (no pun intended) Horror flick by the end. Fans will leave wondering what might have been, but also at least partially satisfied for having experienced something of a new look at an old favorite. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Mimesis features decent video and solid audio. Only one supplement is included. Rent it.
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Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Mimesis - February 11, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of director Douglas Schulze's Mimesis, starring Allen Maldonado, Sid Haig and Lauren Mae Shafer. The life-imitates-art horror film streets on February 12, 2013.
• Mimesis Blu-ray (Updated) - January 2, 2013
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has revealed that it is planning to bring to Blu-ray director Douglas Schulze's horror film Mimesis (2011), starring Allen Maldonado, Sid Haig and Lauren Mae Shafer. The preliminary release date set by the studio is February 12th.
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