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Down (aka The Shaft): Limited Edition – Blue Underground (BluRay / DVD Combo) 
Written by: on November 12th, 2017

Theatrical Release Date: USA / Netherlands, 2001
Director: Dick Maas
Writer: Dick Maas
Cast: James Marshall, Naomi Watts, Eric Thal, Michael Ironside, Edward Herrmann, Dan Hedaya, Ron Perlman

BluRay released: October 31st, 2017
Approximate running time: 111 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD 5.1 French, Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo French
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free / Region Free NTSC
Retail Price: $39.98

“When the express elevators in New York City’s 102-story Millennium Building start to malfunction, elevator mechanics Mark and Jeff are sent to find the cause. After a series of gruesome and deadly “accidents” occur, Mark joins forces with spunky reporter Jennifer, who’s on the hunt for a juicy story. As the death toll rises and the building is sealed off amid claims of terrorism, Mark and Jennifer attempt to unravel the horrifying secret behind the mysterious behavior of the bloodthirsty lift before it takes them – and the entire city – DOWN!”Synopsis provided by the Distributor

Down was written and directed by Dick Maas whose other notable films include, The Lift, Amsterdamned and Flodder.

Throughout the history of cinema, there have been many instances where filmmakers have remade their own films. With some of the more notable instances of this being Alfred Hitchock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II (which is essentially a bigger budget version of The Evil Dead). And eighteen years after Dick Mass made his feature film debut The Lift. He would direct Down, a re-imagining of that aforementioned film.

Content wise, though Down keeps The Lift’s basic premise. The tone of both films couldn’t be farther apart. With The Lift, being more rooted in the supernatural, while the tone of Down is more in line with the vibe one would associate with disaster films.

And just like its predecessor, the one area where Down most excels are its visuals. With Down carrying over the majority of murder set pieces from The Lift. And when it comes to the special effects, this is one area where Down is much more effective than its predecessor.

This film features a solid cast and there is an over the top vibe to the performances that makes the story at hand as the more enjoyable. And nowhere is this more evident then, in regards to this film’s tongue and cheek sense of humor.

The BluRay:

Down comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a brand-new 2K restoration from the original negative, approved by Dick Maas. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, image clarity, black and contrast levels remain solid throughout. There are no issues with DNR or compression.

This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in French and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in French. All of the audio mixes sound excellent. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Range wise all of the audio mixes sound appropriately robust when they need too and the more ambient aspects are well represented. Included with this release are two subtitle options, English SDH and Spanish.

Extras for this release include, a poster & still gallery, teaser #1 (36 seconds), teaser #2 (1 minute 27 seconds), a trailer for the film (1 minute 59 seconds), Behind the Scenes Footage (2 hours 31 minutes 24 seconds), a Making of featurette (9 minutes 25 seconds) and an audio commentary with screenwriter / director Dick Maas, stunt coordinator Willem de Beukelaer and moderated by David Gregory.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the score, the visuals, locations, production design, the cast, how Down differs from The Lift, stunts and other production related topics.

Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover and a twenty-page booklet with cast & crew information and an essay titled Going “Down” A Similar but Different Path written by Michael Gingold. Also, included with this release is a DVD that has the majority of the content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo. It should be noted that the extra titled Behind the Scenes Footage is only the Blu-ray. Overall Down gets a solid release from Blue Underground.

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