"Sub Rosa Pictures" have a relatively good standing in the USA. They are home to a vast selection of pretty gruesome independent horror movies. Now, some of those pictures are getting released in the UK. It's a shame, then, that Odeon Entertainment should start this landmark series, with a film that is so utterly, gob-smackingly bad!

The first thing you notice, is the truly shocking picture quality! I own VHS tapes from five or ten years ago, that are in better shape than this DVD is, and that's saying a huge amount! Not only has this disc been taken from a VHS recording, but there is a moment in the disc (at 25m 05s) when the picture physically rolls up the screen, before the tracking on the VHS-master must have returned back to normal again! How was this glitch not noted, before the disc went to production? Did anyone at Odeon actually even notice it at all? And if not, why not?

Secondly, that glaring error aside, why is the picture so horrendously soft and full to bursting with fine grain?! It's one thing to release a film on DVD that's been taken from a VHS-master, and another to make no effort to make it look half-decent, bearing in mind the price you are trying to get customers to pay!

Now I've dealt with that. Hand's up those of you who think the following counts as quality dialogue:

"I rule supreme! All the women of the world will fall to their knees and worship my penis."

"Most of the clients thought I was the secretary, and that the boss was on vacation. 'Course, they didn't know he'd gone to the great big vacation in the sky."

"It was tough for a dame to be a PI in this town."

Oh yes, all of the hammiest, most wooden dialogue that could ever have been put into one film, is here, for your aural pleasure! And it never gets any better than the three lines mentioned above.

The film's divided into three stories, that are supposed to be set around the idea of the living dead being unstoppable. But even this is debatable. "The Forest Of Death" is the best of the three stories, but it's a shoddy piece of work nonetheless. A samurai warrior and a monk fight off some of the living dead, in a wood, whilst looking for a mysterious artifact. Despite being in non-anamorphic widescreen, some bright spark thought it sensible to place the subtitles in the lower black bar. Thus, anyone watching this on a 16:9 TV, is royally screwed! Worse still, the subtitles are in the smallest, most compact text you could possibly use, and are burnt-in to the print. With the grain of the picture, and the lack of legibility of the subtitles, they're almost unreadable.

At 20 minutes, it's the shortest of the three stories, and whilst it moves along nicely, the crap acting, naff, unresolved storyline, and rotten picture combine to make it a less than sobering experience. I have to admit, though, that the flashback sequences are nicely photographed, but the rest of it is a shambles, because the plot never really goes anywhere. If anything, it actually seems to end in a far worse scenario, than it started with.

Story two is the "Shadow Of Tomorrow", a brain-numbing 1940's film noir. Set just two years after the end of World War II, the film is riddled with errors. Guns that didn't exist at the time; modern-day watches being worn by the cast; and at one point, a cast member wearing a gun holster the wrong way around, resulting in the hilarious situation where her character wouldn't be able to draw or holster her gun!

For added excitement, you have dialogue recorded so softly, it's inaudible. Then, there are post-production sound-effects that don't synch-up with the action on screen, resulting in gun shots being heard, after we've seen the gun being discharged, and the whole resultant mess, sounding more like the effects were recorded in the basement of someone's house. Oh, and at one point, one of the cast mimes her lines! To top it all, it's in black and white, and 4:3. Even Ed Wood would have canned this!

Lastly, there's "Last Rumble": a true dogs-dinner of a non-anamorphic film, and the longest at about 45 minutes. Here we have the battle between two gangs, and the government. The gangs consist of a bunch of 1950's Teddy Boys, versus the vampires who growl like werewolves! The government, is headed by a man who resembles a poor-person's idea of Hitler, with terribly fake eye-lenses, that make him look like he has a tiger's eyes!

The special effects make-up is hideous, and I don't mean that in a positive way, either! It looks worse than amateur, and at one point, a vampire has a reverse transformation back into a human form, and the make-up looks like it was simply torn-off to get the effect to look right!

With a film and disc that's so unremittingly lame, how on earth can I recommend this disc? Put simply, I can'tů and I won't. This is the kind of disc, that gives Vipco a good name, and I can't believe I'm actually saying this! It's bad in every aspect, and if you see this film in any local outlet, in the horror section, you may wish to notify the staff that this should really go in the comedy section instead. Quite simply, spare your sanity and your IQ, and avoid this dire film. "Exhumed" should never have been given the chance to see daylight again!

Review by "Pooch".

Released by Odeon Entertainment
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras : see main review