Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 7th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: France, 2004
Director: Frédéric Grousset
Writers: Frédéric Grousset, Jean Mach
Cast: Karen Bruere, Abel Divol, Capucine Mandeau, Julien Masdoua, Michel Robin, Pierre-Luc Scotto, Sophie Talon
DVD released: January 29th, 2008
Approximate running time: 69 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo French
DVD Release: Salvation Films/Redemption
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Six strangers find themselves trapped in a room where they are forced to play a game in which only one of them will be left standing in the end.
Aquarium is an independently made French Thriller which story wise bears many similarities to the SAW series. Visually the film doesn’t have any real stand out moments as most of the film takes place in one room. The room in which the plot unfolds is a plain white room that appears to have no exit. There are cameras which watch the six who have been chosen to play the game. Every now and then a voice from a intercom tells them what they are to do and lets them know if they refuse they will then face a certain death via execution.
Near the end of the film there is brief explanation as to why the six people were brought there. The explanation still lacked enough reason and detail to convince me. We never get a chance to known the six people chosen to play this macabre game which makes it difficult to care about any of them. I was pleasantly surprised how well all the performances were despite the lack of character background and time devoted to building each character. In the end the evolution of the plot and its outcome is predicable making Aquarium an uneven affair that shows promise early on in the film that it never fully pays off on.
Aquarium is presented in a non anamorphic letterboxed widescreen which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The non anamorphic and interlaced image looks pretty good with details looking crisp and stationary. There are no problems with blurring/ghosting.
This release comes with one audio a Dolby Digital stereo mix in French and English subtitles have been included. The audio is adequate as is gets the job done and it is free of any audio defects.
A handful of extras have been included for this releases with the two short films being the most promising extras of the lot. Other extras include film and behind the scenes still galleries, a trailer for Aquarium (in French with English subtitles), The making of “Aquarium” documentary (4 minutes) and trailers for other Redemption titles current on or soon to be released on DVD.
Redemption Films Aquarium DVD is an above average release that with a few minor tweaks this release could have been even better.