Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 8th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1987
Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Lamberto Bava, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: Gioia Scola, David Brandon, Giuseppe Stefano De Sando, Roberto Pedicini, Marco Vivio, Urbano Barberini
DVD released: October 13th, 2009
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: Linda has been living in denial since her husband walked out on her and their new born son eight years ago. One rainy night a drifter named Marco walks into her life who reminds her of her missing husband. Her boyfriend Carlo is a jealous man whose intuition tells him that Marco is no ordinary drifter and that he has ulterior motives for working his way into their lives.
Until Death, was co-written and directed by Lamberto Bava the son of legendary Italian filmmaker Mario Bava. Just like his father before him Lamberto would find success working within the horror film genre directing such notable films like Macabre, A Blade in the Dark and Demons. Until Death has been released under a handful of other titles over the years with the most absurd one being Changeling 2: The Revenge. Cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia was a frequently collaborator of Lamberto Bava’s. They collaborated on the following films A Blade in the Dark, Blastfighter, Demons, You’ll Die at Midnight, Demons 2, Graveyard Disturbance, Until Death and Delirium: Photo of Gioia. The score for Until Death was composed by Simon Boswell, whose other notable scores include Phenomena, Stage Fright, Hardware and Dust Devil.
Plot and structure wise Until Death, is equal parts horror and thriller with a bit of supernatural thrown into the mix for good measure. The film starts off with the crime that two lovers are trying to cover up and from there a stranger who is oddly familiar walks into their lives. This then sets in motion a mounting tension between the two lovers who now live in fear of being exposed. Along the way there are some spooky supernatural / horror nightmare sequences in which the wife and child of the man killed at the beginning of the film are visited by his rotting corpse. This film is more about mood so don’t go into it expecting a rising body count.
Visually this is another solid looking film from director Lamberto Bava that far takes full advantage of its limited locations. Also some of the more observant viewers will notice a few moments / compositions that are clearly influenced by Lamberto’s father Mario Bava. There is just enough twists and turns to keep things interesting for the duration of the film.
Even though there are only a handful of characters that are fully fleshed out. The acting all cast in these main roles are all very satisfying in their respective roles. The cast includes David Brandon (Stage Fright), in the role of Carlo the jealous lover, Gioia Scola (Conquest), in the role of Linda the adulteress widow and Urbano Barberini (Opera), in the role of Marco the stranger who shakes everything up. It should also be noted that the child actor cast in the role of Alex, also appeared in the Lamberto Bava film Demons 2 in the role of Tommy. Ultimately, Until Death is a well made thriller that is on par with Lamberto Bava’s best films as a director.
Until Death, is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Details look generally crisp and black levels are consistent throughout. Outside of some scenes that look a tad too soft and some mild edge enhancement, this transfer fares well all around. Having only previously seen Until Death via a VHS release titled Changeling 2: The Revenge, this new transfer from Mya Communication is a marked improvement over that release.
This release comes with two audio options Dolby Digital Mono English and Dolby Digital Mono Italian. The English audio mix sounds flat and there are some background and distortion issues that crop up throughout. The Italian audio mix fares much better as it sounds clear and at times robust. No English subtitles have been provided with the Italian audio mix.
This DVD release comes with no extra content. Overall, Until Death gets an average DVD release that some might find disappointing because of the lack of English subtitles (especially since the Italian audio mix is in the better shape of the two audio mixes).