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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Trackman
Trackman
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // October 14, 2008
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Justin Felix | posted October 17, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

On October 14, 2008, Lionsgate, the home video distributor of quite a lot of low budget horror films, released a series of eight movies under the banner Ghost House Underground. These eight films can be purchased separately or collectively in a boxed set. The packaging of each disc includes a clear plastic slipcover with the Ghost House Underground logo emblazoned on the right and a screaming skull underneath. It looks garish but admittedly kind of cool too. To be honest, these flicks seem a lot like another round of After Dark Horrorfest movies (which Lionsgate also distributes). All eight of these movies will be reviewed here at DVD Talk. If you're interested in the series, you can find a list of the titles in this collection in the Extras section of this review.

In any case, Trackman is obviously one of the eight Ghost House Underground movies. It comes from Russia of all places, and it's kind of fun to see a genre movie from that country, as they seem few and far between here in the United States. Directed by Igor Shavlak and written by Valeriy Krechetov, the movie has a rather simple plot. Bank robbers plan a heist at a McDonald's. Carrying through with their robbery (which, of course, doesn't go quite as planned), they take a couple of hostages and escape in a tunnel system beneath the city. (I'm assuming this film is set in Moscow.)

Much of the movie, then, takes place in the dank and poorly-lit tunnel system. A maniac with a pick-ax and a fascination with human eyeballs lurks in the tunnels and stalks the motley crew of robbers and hostages, killing them one-by-one, until a final showdown at the end with the last remaining survivors.

Probably the best aspect of Trackman is the visual design of the titular killer. It's not at all surprising to see the killer featured so prominently on the DVD cover art. With his goggles and headwear, he's reminiscent of the Invisible Man from the 1932 Universal classic, and his penchant for rusty but effective tools-as-weapons works well for the slasher genre and its archetypal killer.

The acting seemed fairly competent too, though this was a little hard to judge in the English language version given a rather aggressive dub performance from the vocal talent (more on this in the Sound section of the review). The locations were effective also, though they weren't illuminated strongly. Water dripped from ceilings, rats crawled about, and fog swirled around.

However, the proceedings had too much familiarity to them. In the end, Trackman is fairly routine slasher stuff. The killer seems to have stepped off the stage of the old 1981 cult classic My Bloody Valentine. His obsession with eyes parallels the killers in a half-dozen books from bestselling suspense novelist Dean Koontz. And the entire set-up of a botched crime leading undesirables to face maniacal killers is hardly new.

All in all, Trackman was watchable despite its clich├ęs. If you're a fan of slasher movies, you could certainly do worse. But, I'm not sure there's much "repeat viewing" value here, especially given the lack of significant extras on the disc.

Rent it, if you're curious.

The DVD

Video:

On the back of the cover art, Lionsgate describes their video presentation of Trackman as "16x9 Widescreen 2.35:1 DVD Screen Format." And that's exactly what you get. The image is anamorphic (though the menu system is full screen). Colors are purposefully bleached here, favoring brown hues. There's some minor film noise visible too, and details could be sharper. However, given the film's dark location and subject matter, the image quality seemed a good fit aesthetically.

Sound:

I appreciated how Lionsgate provided two audio options for Trackman: the dubbed English language track (no pun intended) and the original Russian language track are both made available via Dolby Digital 5.1. The former appears to be the default setting, which makes sense for a Region 1 release. Because of this, I opted to watch Trackman dubbed. The vocal talent are a bit over-the-top in their performances (the women seemed particularly melodramatic with their incessant whimpering in the first half of the film), but the dialogue itself is about as seamlessly mixed into the other elements of the soundtrack as can be expected. Given the subterranean setting, various sound effects like water dripping and echoing action are dynamically presented. All in all, Trackman has pretty good audio.

If you want to view this in the original Russian but know not a word of the language, no worries, as English and Spanish subtitle options are also provided.

Extras:

A rather excessive nine trailers precede the main menu. These are for the upcoming Saw V and Punisher War Zone, as well as other Ghost House Underground titles Dance of the Dead, No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker, The Substitute, Dark Floors, Room 205, The Last House in the Woods, and Brotherhood of Blood. They're also available collectively through an Also From Lionsgate link in the disc's menu system. A separate link provides access to the trailer for Trackman. It's nice to have trailers to all eight films in the Ghost House Underground collection, but it would have been even nicer to have a trailer menu with individual links to each film's trailer rather than having them lumped together like this - especially considering that the previews are the only extras on the disc.

Outside of the trailers, Trackman has no extras (unless you count the dubbed English track as an extra - I don't).

Final Thoughts:

Trackman gets bonus points for the novelty of seeing a Russian slasher movie. But, it's fairly standard slasher movie stuff otherwise. It's worth a look, but it's not memorable enough in the end to really warrant repeated viewings. Rent it.

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