Blu-ray Review: BLACK SITE

BLACK SITE was written and directed by Tom Paton and stars Samantha Schnitzler, Kris Johnson, Mike Beckingham, Angela Dixon, Bentley Kalu, Phoebe Robinson-Galvin and Sophia Del Pizzo. The music was composed by Max Sweiry.

Members of an elite military unit encounter a supernatural entity known as the Elder Gods, forcing them into a battle against an army from another world.

This dark, sci-fi thriller takes place at a top-secret underground military base known as The Artemis Black Site and follows Ren Reid (Samantha Schnitzler), a young soldier who arrives at her new assignment where the Elder God Erebus (Kris Johnson) is being held until it’s time for the facility to send him back to where he came from. The thing about Ren is that she previously had a run-in with this ancient being when she was a child and the encounter left her changed, almost like she’s connected to the enemy. Ren is assigned to handling newbies that arrive and this is where she meets the talkative Sam (Mike Beckingham) and even though the two don’t hit it off at first, they end up becoming a team when something unexpected happens inside the underground location.

There’s also Jennifer Wilkinson (Angela Dixon) who runs the facility and her right-hand man Jay Austin (Bentley Kalu) and these two are keeping a close watch on Erebus because a dangerous cult that’s led by Ker (Phoebe Robinson-Galvin) has infiltrated the Black Site with plans to extract Erebus before he’s deported. While Ker and her masked cult take out everyone they cross paths with, Ren and Sam start to make their way towards the location where Erebus is being help. As all of this plays out we get some flashbacks that help tell more of Ren’s story and her mysterious kinship with this Elder God. It all ends with a showdown between Ren and Ker and the young soldier ultimately proves that she’s got what it takes to take down the enemy so that the mission to send back the Elder God can finally be completed.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, there’s a lot to like about Black Site because it’s an ambitious low budget sci-fi thriller that’s executed just right and it’s action-packed to the max. The movie isn’t heavy on special effects so it’s more of a character and story driven adventure about this young soldier and this ancient being that she’s linked to. With that said, what little special effects we get do look impressive and there’s definitely a Lovecraftian vibe going on. Tom Paton did a good job telling his story and bringing it to life on screen and I thought the cast did a great job. The characters were fun to follow and that’s always important, especially when a movie like this relies more on them than anything else. I thought the location and set design for this movie were spot on because it actually looked like this was going down in some kind of top-secret underground facility. This 80’s throwback also features some cool retro music that synth fans will get a kick out of. To me, the movie fits in just right with recent 80’s throwbacks like The Mind’s Eye and The Void, if that helps any. Black Site will be available on Blu-ray on April 9th and is worth checking out.

Distributor: Epic Pictures and DREAD

Run Time: 87 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include some audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, three deleted scenes and the official trailer.

  • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Tom Paton
  • Behind-the-Scenes – This featurette includes interviews with the director and some of the main cast who talk about the movie, their characters and stunt work. (12:57)
  • Deleted Scenes
  1. Bedtime Story – This flashback scene shows Ren’s father sharing a story with her about the Elder Gods and the arrival of man. (03:00)
  2. If You Can See the Future – A charismatic Erebus calls out to Ren as two of the team members watch on. (01:19)
  3. Meet the Boss – Ren arrives at the facility and immediately has a heated conversation with Jennifer Wilkinson aka her new boss. (02:25)
  • Black Site Official Trailer (01:38)
  • DREAD Presents Trailer Reel – This includes trailers to every DREAD release to date.
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