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Survivor, The – Severin Films (BluRay) 
Written by: on February 19th, 2017

Theatrical Release Date: Australia, 1981
Director: David Hemmings
Writer: David Ambrose
Cast: Robert Powell, Jenny Agutter, Joseph Cotten, Angela Punch McGregor, Peter Sumner

BluRay released: February 7th, 2017
Approximate running times: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.98

Synopsis: The lone survivor of a plane crash looks for the answers as to why he was spared.

The Survivor was directed by David Hemming (Running Scared). Key collaborators include, screenwriter David Ambrose (The Final Countdown), cinematographer John Seale (The Hitcher) and composer Brian May (Mad Max, Road Games).

The film’s narrative does a superb job retracing the events which lead up to the deadly plane crash and the finale is a satisfying climax that reinforces the supernatural undercurrents. When it comes to this film more eerie moments these are all rooted in atmosphere. And though there is an air of mystery to the main character. The way in which the narrative unfolds more than makes up for his lack of back-story.

From a production stand point this film achieves all of its goals. The premise is well executed and pacing is never an issues as key moments are given an ample amount of time to fully resonate. The atmospheric visuals do a solid job reinforcing the foreboding mood. Besides the film’s main set piece, the plane crash that sets the story at hand in motion. Other standout moments include, a scene where a man follows a young girl through a cemetery and a scene where a young woman who is getting to close to the truth has her fingers severed by paper cutter.

Performance wise the cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Robert Powell (Asylum, Harlequin) in the role of a pilot named Keller, the lone survivor of the plane crash. He delivers a performance that perfectly captures the essence of the character. Other standout performance includes, Jenny Agutter (Logan’s Run, An American Werewolf in London) in the role of a psychic named Hobbs and Joseph Cotton (The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Baron Blood) in what would be his final role.

The BluRay:

The Survivor comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. When compared to this film’s North American DVD release, this new release shows a marked improvement in image clarity, black levels and color saturation. Grain remains intact and there are no issues with DNR or compression.

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM audio mix in mono English and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout. The more ambient aspects of these mixes are well represented and range wise both sound robust when they need too.

Extras for this release include, a T.V. spot (28 seconds), extended scenes (3 minutes 24 seconds), an archive interview with director David Hemming (15 minutes 43 seconds), an archive T.V. special that features on location interviews with actors Joseph Cotton, Peter Sumner and Ralph Cotterill and actresses Jenny Agutter and Angela Punch McGregor (29 minutes 59 seconds), an interview with actor Robert Powell who discusses author James Herbert (3 minutes 24 seconds), a featurette titled The Legacy of James Herbert (9 minutes 19 seconds) and extended interviews from Not Quite Hollywood with producer Antony I. Ginnane and cinematographer John Seale.

Topics discussed in the archive interview with David Hemming include, Blow-Up, working with a cast who all speak different languages, Camelot, directing, Just a Gigolo and Thirst. He also performs magic tricks in this interview.

Topics discussed in the archive T.V. special include, how each participant got involved in this project, their various experiences making a film in Australian, the characters they portray and various other movie related topics.

Topics discussed in the extended Not Quite Hollywood interviews include:

Antony I. Ginnane: The origins of The Survivor, James Herbert’s novel, how the success of his previous film helped get this film made, David Hemming’s, the screenplay and adapting the source novel, how the film differs from the book, the score, shooting the plane crash sequence and casting.

John Seale: His thoughts about the film, the screenplay, working with David Hemming, the score and shooting the plane crash sequence.

Other extras include, a trailer reel for Antony I. Ginnane and the trailer are Fantasm, Fantasm Comes Again , Patrick, Snapshot, Thirst, Harlequin, The Survivor, Race for the Yankee Zephyr, Dead Kids, Turkey Shoot, Hightide, The Lighthorsemen, The Time Guardian and Screamers.

Overall The Survivor gets an exceptional release from Severin Films, highly recommended.

Note: This film is also being released by Severin Films on DVD.

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