Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 14th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Australia, 1987
Director: Arch Nicholson
Writers: Sonia Borg, Stephen Cross, Tony Morphett
Cast: John Jarratt, Nikki Coghill, Max Phipps, Burnham Burnham, David Gulpilil, Ray Meagher
BluRay released: September 6th, 2017
Approximate running times: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: M 15+ (Australia)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.99
Dark Age was directed by Arch Nicholson (Buddies, Fortress). Key collaborators on Dark Age include, producer Antony I. Ginnane (Snapshot, Strange Behavior) and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie whose other notable credits as a cinematographer include, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Though this film features many elements that one would associate with the horror film genre. Most notably, a homicidal crocodile that does not discriminate, when it comes to its prey. The end result is best described as a melodrama that pits man verses nature.
From a production standpoint, the scenes where the crocodile attacks are well executed and the narrative moves along at a good momentum. The film’s visuals take full advantage of the scenic locations, there is an ample amount of tension and the film’s finale is a very satisfying conclusion to the events that have just unfolded.
The cast are good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performances being John Jarratt (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Blue Murder) in the role of a park ranger named Steve Harris and Max Phipps (Thirst, Nightmares) in the role of psychotic hunter, who is hell bent on being the person, who kills the crocodile.
Dark Age comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is in very good shape. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and there is a marked improvement in regards to image clarity to previous home video releases. There are no issues with DNR and though grain remains intact, it is more pronounced during darker moments.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced. Range wise the audio does a good job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover, an image gallery with rare press and promotional material, three trailers for the film (2 minutes 3 seconds / 1 minute 41 seconds / 2 minutes 2 seconds), a 1986 documentary titled Living with Crocodiles with Grahame Webb, author of ‘Numunwari’, the book which inspired Dark Age (48 minutes 58 seconds), a featurette with film historians Lee Gambin, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Emma Westwood and Sally Christie titled Ginnane-A Bicentenary with Bite: Revisiting Dark Age (24 minutes 15 seconds), extended interviews with actor John Jarratt and executive producer Antony I. Ginnane Not Quite Hollywood (16 minutes 53 seconds) and an audio commentary with John Jarratt and Antony I. Ginnane.
Topics discussed in the Not Quite Hollywood extended interviews include:
John Jarratt: He discusses the crocodile, Nikki Coghill, Max Phipps, onset memories and stunts.
Antony I. Ginnane: He discusses the origins of the film, the crocodile and the film troubled distribution history.
The audio commentary is an informative track that covers some of the same ground that is covered in the other extras.
Overall Dark Age gets a strong release from Umbrella Entertainment.