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The Scarlet Worm Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2:35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: A (B? C?)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 93 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  MVD Visual
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • List Price: $19.95

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Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

The Scarlet Worm tells the story of a man named Print (Aaron Stielstra), a middle-aged hired gun known for his unique style of assassinations. Instead of simply killing a man, Print adds a sense of poetry, a sense of purpose to his deaths. Working for ages for his boss Mr. Paul (Montgomery Ford), Print seems to have a good thing going. That is until his next assignment, the killing of a brothel owner (Dan van Husen), demands Print switch up his usual direction of murder. On top of that, Print learns he must also train a young understudy during this job. Now it’s up to Print to pull off the killing all while figuring out how to make his boss happy. What results is the kind of film that is interesting in that it’s something we just don’t see anymore.

Going into Scarlet Worm, I was immediately intrigued as I’ve always enjoyed Westerns dating back to the early films like The Good, The Bad, and The UglyScarlet Worm, plainly put, is the kind of film we just don’t really see that often. Yes, it’s part western, but it’s also quite dark and, well, odd at times. By odd I mean the mixing the of brothel houses, whores, sex, murder, and old fashion westerns into one movie, end up making this something interesting. This can tend to be quite graphic at times and the subject matter may turn away some. I’ll easily admit that I found Worm to be effective in its message and the acting is quite good (especially that of Ford); however, I just wonder if anyone outside of the die-hard Western junkie will find anything of merit here. I’d say if you like Westerns, give this low-budget film a chance.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The 2:35:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is problematic at times, but overall is quite good. At times, Worm’s transfer does dominate with solid colors, mostly bronzed with a gold tint to them to help capture the desert elements. Grain levels are kept in check for the most part with a slight layer in certain sequences. Clarity can tend to waver at times, mostly in that wider, exterior shots (like that of here) can look solid; however, the interior, darker moments (perhaps purposely) lose detail (as evident by this). I was curious to how the film was shot, so I glanced over at IMDb for any technical information, but ended up empty handed. If anyone can let me know more on this, I’d be curious to know. Outside of this, Worm does have an image that will mostly please the viewer throughout.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

The film’s provided Dolby Digital 2.0 track is about as effective as one can imagine a 2.0 track would be. Dialogue is well reproduced throughout via the center channel. Discrete effects, gun shots and horses galloping, do provide a sense of atmosphere that can fill the room; however, the absence of the rear channels really hurts the overall impact of this presentation. Gone are the booms of the riveting score or the horses. Gone are the swooping gun shots that ring past our head. Perhaps due to budgeting reasons (I’ve heard the film had a budget under $25K), the decision to not do a full 5.1 mix, was taken. Whatever the reason being, this lossy 2.0 mix is only so good.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

The included supplements are presented in HD.

  • Audio Commentary with Writer David Lambert – I sampled both of the included commentaries and found this one to be the most interesting as it showed the goals that Lambert sought to complete with this film. Lambert offers up a nice, easy flowing chat about the film.
  • Audio Commentary with Mike Malloy and Eric Zaldivar
  • Of Worms and Dogs – This is a behind-the-scenes making of the film that runs 7:37 in length. The feature basically tells of how the creators met and what their goal was in making this film.
  • Trailers – Here 2 different trailers (2:40 and 2:23) are shown.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

As low-budget western films go, The Scarlet Worm isn’t the best example, but is still worth a glance to those interested in the genre. MVD Visual has put together a decent Blu-ray for the film with okay video and as good a 2.0 track can be. Based on my love for Western films, I going to give this one a ‘rental’ recommendation for those interested.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005QBSSB6[/amazon-product]

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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