Night of the Animated Dead Blu-ray review

Sep 26, 2021- Permalink

Warner Brothers Home Entertainment is releasing director Jason Axinn’s Night of the Animated Dead on Blu-ray on October 5th (with a digital release appearing earlier on September 21st), just in time for Halloween. I had a chance to review it, and since Warner Brothers likes disclaimers more than zombies like brains, here goes: though Warner Brothers provided me with a review copy of the movie, the thoughts and opinions below are mine alone.

George A. Romero’s legendary Night of the Living Dead has seen its share of remakes due to the fact that a copyright filing error left the film in the public domain, with no fees needed to remake or reimagine it. Axinn gives us an almost shot for shot animated remake that features a voice cast that includes Josh Duhamel, Dulé Hill, Katharine Isabelle, Katee Sackhoff, Will Sasso, Jimmi Simpson, Nancy Travis, and James Roday Rodriguez. One word kept occurring to me: Why? That was soon followed by three other words: No really, why? The film marries a quite good voice cast with a style of animation that looks like the work of a novice animator using a fifteen year-old copy of Flash. If you look at the cover graphics, it looks like the detailed work of a graphic novelist, but the actual animation is nowhere near that. It’s a cinematic bait and switch.

Ignoring whether or not this film should have been made, let’s look at the video presentation. The 1080p AVC encoded digital transfer is in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image is sharp, the colours pop, but the style of animation is really making look for detail. The black levels are deep and whatever detail there is survives darker scenes and there’s no sign of crushing. No digital noise or compression artifacts to speak of in this presentation.

On the audio side, zombies have a choice of an English 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack as well as French, German and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks. Subtitles are available in English SDH, German SDH. Dutch, French and Spanish. The soundtrack’s surrounds do a good job of placing you into the scene, which helps heighten the horror factor. The low end effects give added power to items like explosions and gun blasts. Dialogue is clear and centred.

The Night of the Animated Dead Blu-ray also comes with a digital code and a short featurette with the director and some of the voice cast discussing the project and showing some of the recording sessions.

The Night of the Animated Dead Blu-ray come with excellent video and audio presentations, but the animation they’re supporting sadly doesn’t do the source material justice nor take it in a new direction. It’s sole purpose appears to be squeezing out a few more dollars and cents from a public domain original. Unless you simply must have every version of Night of the Living Dead, I’d give this disc a pass.