Plot: What’s it about?
An island village named Balfe is having some problems, in the form of strange events and such, which happen at a regular rate these days. There is talk of a hideous monster that lurks in the woods and as bodies are found there often, it seems like the rumors could be true. In addition, massive sea animals have been discovered, ones much too large when compared to the normal standards, while some local men suffer from a disfiguring disease of some sort. Some kind of force is at work in Balfe, but the locals are pretty much helpless and have been unable to reverse these trends. In an effort to uncover the truth about Balfe, Doomwatch has sent in a team of scientists to investigate, with Dr. Del Shaw (Ian Bannen) as the leader. As Del and his crew delve deeper into the mysterious events, a picture begins to form that involves some serious problems, but not of the supernatural kind. The locals believe these problems are a punishment of some kind, but Del thinks the issues are man made, not of another realm. But can Del and his team get some solid evidence and nail down the cause in time to save Balfe, as well as the people who call it home?
This movie is based on the television series of the same name and while it is a good flick, I don’t think it belongs in The Euroshock Collection. Other titles in this series have ramped up blood, flesh, and insane moments, but Doomwatch is more of a normal thriller, without much of those elements to report. I can enjoy a thriller of course, but when a disc is released in The Euroshock Collection, I think people expect a certain kind of flick, one Doomwatch is not. But as a suspense picture, Doomwatch is more than solid and warrants a look, I think. The premise is a good one and the writing is excellent at times, with a lot of intelligence present. This is a well written, often thought provoking film and while that’s always welcome, it can be quite dull at times also. I think most folks would like to see more of the cannibalistic mutants in there, perhaps some flesh eating or what not, in between the exposition sequences. As it stands however, Doomwatch is a good suspense movie and if that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend a rental in this case. Just don’t expect the usual Euroshock thrills, as this is an improper addition to the series, I think.
The lead here is played by Ian Bannen, who turns in a terrific performance, if a little dull in persona at times. Bannen has a solid character to work with, but sometimes the material hits some dry spots, which cause his performance to suffer somewhat. The writing allows Bannen’s role to be smart and well developed, but a tad boring here and there. I would have liked to have seen Bannen’s character more active in the search, perhaps more scenes with him and the monsters, as they would have added more energy to the role, I think. Even so, Bannen is more than solid here and adds a lot to the movie, to be sure. You can also see Bannen in such films as Gandhi, Too Late the Hero, Jesus of Nazareth, The Watcher in the Woods, and Eye of the Needle. The cast also includes Judy Geeson (Inseminoid, To Sir With Love), Simon Oates (Tv’s Doomwatch, The Terrornauts), and John Paul (The Blood Beast Terror, I Claudius).
Video: How does it look?
Doomwatch is presented in a full frame transfer. This seems to be an open matte edition, as there’s extra room at the top and bottom of the frame, but I could be wrong on that issue. The image looks good on the whole, although it does seem a little dated at times. The print used is pretty clean and while some defects are present, never anything too serious. The colors look stable, but a tad faded, perhaps due to the age of the flick. In the same vein, the contrast is adequate, but isn’t as stark as I would like. In the end, this is a decent enough visual transfer and while it has some flaws, I think fans will be mostly pleased.
Audio: How does it sound?
But like the video effort, the audio here is more than acceptable, but won’t have you too impressed either. The materials have some age related issues to contend with, but nothing extreme and as such, I won’t complain too much. The music and sound effects create as good an atmosphere as mono allows, even though some distortion seeps in at times. The dialogue is clean and well presented however, with not a stitch of trouble to report. This audio track is a shade dated, but still holds up well enough to handle the material, I think.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.