DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Paintball
Paintball
IFC Films // Unrated // September 28, 2010
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Brian Orndorf | posted September 27, 2010 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly

THE FILM

Paintball is a fascinating game, permitting average domesticated folk an opportunity to immerse themselves in a world of heated combat and precise military strategy, with the only possible downside being a few welts and stained clothing. "Paintball" is a low-budget thriller that twists purist enthusiasm for the sport in a rather macabre way, attaching life or death stakes to a pastime often associated with genial weekend warrior escapism.

Enticed to an Eastern European forest for an epic game of professional paintball, a team of strangers have arrived blindfolded, armed, and ready for some fun. Once set loose in the endless woods, the team finds themselves under fire from an unknown opponent, who's using real ammunition to pick off the squad one by one. Panicked, the group flees off the trail, searching for a way to safety while a masked hunter stalks them slowly, offering items of survival to toy with his prey as the game goes on into the night.

A Spanish production from helmer Daniel Benmayor, "Paintball" doesn't submit a revolutionary cinematic idea for suspense, yet, for a directorial debut, the picture shows some scare zone ability beyond the dreary norm. The story is simple: strangers of all temperaments and battlefield ability hit the game floor, find the rules have cruelly changed, and we watch as they turn on one another as the murderous mood explodes. It's another variation on "The Most Dangerous Game," only handed a modern twist of sorts with the paintball setting, playing on the tenuous bravado of gamers handed their survivalist realism wish.

Far from a sociological experiment, "Paintball" is primarily a chiller, tracking the escalating panic of the team as they attempt to deduce the threat. Benmayor uses the charged energy of the hunt to work on his camera moves, trying on several one-take showoff shots to summarize the chaos of moment. Of course, anything involving tension is worked over with some brutal shaky-cam nonsense, but a few moments shine, and I enjoyed the use of thermal-vision cameras for the hunter's POV, which enhances the creepiness of the kills, but also provides unique images of bloodshed, with ultraviolence dialed all the way up to take full advantage of the colorless gore.

Acting isn't the strongest point of "Paintball," as most of the cast has a maddening tendency to wail obnoxiously as they near the cold kiss of death. Benmayor could've toned down the acting-school histrionics considerably and still achieve the same sense of despair.

THE DVD

Visual:

The anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1 aspect ratio) presentation is generally clean and open, with the near-monochromatic color palette coming through forcefully, holding the film's suspenseful mood comfortably. Black levels are solid, with only the more extremely low-light sequences looking a bit on the muddy side. It's a very limited film visually, electing tension over flash. The image quality here reflects that intent without any distracting digital hiccups.

Audio:

The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix is rich with directional activity, with bullets whizzing around the surrounds, creating an involving circular hold to help goose the thrills. Dialogue is hearty, with a nice echoed quality to reflect outdoor presentation. Scoring cues offer a low-end rumble, but never jump to life.

Subtitles:

English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Extras:

"Making Of" (26:10) is a basic promotional piece, highlighting interviews with cast and crew (conducted on-set) who explore the film shoot, character motivation, and technical challenges. Some BTS footage is offered, but nothing digs too deeply into the production.

A Theatrical Trailer and two Teaser Trailers are included.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The revelation of the killer is unfortunately more "Hostel" than hostile, with the finale a limply staged extended chase missing the shock of the opening act. "Paintball" runs out of steam long before it ends, but a few striking sequences lend it some personality. Maybe not enough to recommend it entirely, but enough to suggest Benmayor could improve greatly as a director over time.


For further online adventure, please visit brianorndorf.com
Popular Reviews
1. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
2. King Kong Escapes
3. Fargo: Remastered Edition
4. Criminal Minds: The Eighth Season
5. My Mother the Car: The Complete Series
6. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
7. Equus
8. Betty Boop: The Essential Collection, Volume 3
9. Ride Along
10. Little House on the Prairie - Season One & The Pilot Movie


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use