Dis Blu-ray Review

Price: $17.99

Unearthed Films’ Latest Disturbing Chiller

Writer and director Adrian Corona delivers edgy arthouse terror in Dis. Driven by stark visuals and a sinister demonic figure that floats in and out of the narrative, Dis explores the mandrake legend in the most terrifying manner possible. This isn’t the most coherent or polished horror movie, but serves up an excellent atmosphere dripping with real tension. A small dose of graphic torture porn helps top off the disturbing mythology and backstory.

Starring Bill Oberst Jr. as an ex-soldier running from his past, he takes refuge in the wild and encounters an unspeakably frightening creature. Filmed around an impressively abandoned building in Mexico, Dis soaks up its haunted atmosphere. The mysterious hooded figure seeks the literal seed of killers, and the blood of the damned, to feed his demonic mandrake garden. On the run from his troubled past, the ex-soldier’s rifle won’t aid him this time. Dis incorporates folklore about the cursed mandrake plant into its plot.

It’s a simple, loose narrative driven almost entirely by the stylish visuals and impressive cinematography. There is almost no dialogue for the entire first act, and the movie ends before an hour has passed. The taut storytelling relies far more on frightening imagery than straightforward lines of dialogue. The ex-soldier is a tortured soul when he comes across the mysterious entity. The creepiness only builds as we learn more and more about the hooded figure, and begin to understand the utterly evil plans unfolding in this wasteland. A weirdly sexual undercurrent runs throughout the plot.

Dis is an appropriate blend of disturbing terror and frightening mystery

Named after an obscure reference to Dante’s Inferno, Dis could have been more refined as a movie. It has a nasty edge, from an opening torture scene where a female victim is forced into orgasm, to the brutally graphic finale’s revelation. Impatient viewers turned off by the slower pacing of the remaining narrative may find Dis a waste of time. Flashbacks are poorly incorporated into the overall narrative, undercutting critical character elements. There isn’t much dialogue to help fill in the gaps of the very original mythology.

Actor Bill Oberst Jr. fits the lead role well as a tough but broken man struggling for survival on his own. His weathered face and aging lean body is perfect casting for the ex-soldier. The few FX shots, including the creature’s face, are rather nicely done for low-budget horror. The movie’s atmosphere and cast are excellent for underground genre material.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary and visually ambitious in your horror, you’ll know within the first few minutes if Dis hooks you or not. It’s an appropriate blend of disturbing terror and frightening mystery. A second viewing is almost necessary to pick up on everything going on in Dis. Dis is one movie that invites repeat viewing for dissection.

Video

Released by Unearthed Films and distributed by MVD Visual, Dis has razor-sharp definition and nearly pristine digital clarity. The 60-minute main feature is encoded in AVC on a BD-25 with no significant compression problems. It is presented at its native 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The 1080P video has been filmed with the digital cameras often found in these newer low-budget horror productions.

The precise cinematography uses striking color shifts, moving from teal-green timing of the present to black-and-white flashbacks. The stunning location photography captures lush green foliage and the stark landscape in outstanding scenery. It’s amazing how good Dis looks considering the reported $150,000 budget.

Audio

After several releases with only lossy audio on Blu-ray, Unearthed Films includes a full 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack for Dis. Boasting impressive sound design and excellent dynamics, the sonics have surprising impact and heft. That includes considerable LFE activity and mild ambient support when necessary.

A secondary stereo soundtrack comes in 2.0 PCM. No subtitles are included.

Extras

Let me be upfront and say that not all special features would play on my Oppo Digital UDP-203 UHD player. This isn’t the first time some special features from Unearthed Films’ Blu-rays have frozen up the player, so they should look into authoring their BDs differently.

Without having tested if the disc is coded for all regions, the packaging indicates this is a Region A-disc only.

“Portrait” Short Film – I wish I could share more, but this is the main extra that froze my player.

DIS Trailer

Behind The Scenes (01:18 in SD)

Introduction By Director Adrian Corona (01:54 in HD) – The director discusses DIS with a few opening comments.

Interview With Bill Oberst Jr. – This is broken up into five different answers for various questions, most running no more than a minute. Oberst discusses the difficulties filming Dis.

Still Gallery

Trailers – Various trailers for other Unearthed Films’ movies, including Atroz, Torment and American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us by the distributor for review. This has not affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Dis
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

Adrian Corona’s intriguing shocker about the mandrake plant is visually impressive, if light on actual dialogue. The underground horror film has terrifying moments and earns bonus points for originality.

Overall
4
Sending
User Review
3 (1 vote)

The 15 unaltered images below are taken from the Blu-ray itself. For an additional 17 Dis screenshots in original 1080P resolution, early access to all screens (plus the 20,000+ already in our library), 75+ exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more perks, support us on Patreon.