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Buck Wild Blu-ray Review

Buck Wild (2014) Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Buck Wild

Video Premiere: March 18, 2014 / Running Time: 95 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Director: Tyler Glodt / Writers: Matthew Albrecht, Tyler Glodt

Cast: Matthew Albrecht (Craig Thompson), Jarrod Pistilli (Jerry), Dru Lockwood (Thomas "Tom" Alexander III), Isaac Harrison (Lance), Mark Leslie Ford (Billy Ray), Tyler Glodt (Officer Shipley), Meg Cionni (Candy), Joe Stevens (Clyde), Jason Harris (Clem), Burton Chance Murphy (Murph), Joseph Canik (Dale), Walter Womac (Lone Man at Gas Station)

2.40:1 Widescreen; Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish; Extras Not Subtitled; Not Closed Captioned
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25) / Blue Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99; Also available on DVD ($19.99 SRP)

Buy Buck Wild from Amazon: Blu-ray • DVD

Zombie comedies have become prevalent enough for Buck Wild to describe itself as a "Zom-Com" on its cover with there being no doubt as to what that is. While "The Walking Dead" and World War Z have succeeded by taking zombies seriously,
films like Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, and Warm Bodies have played the undead for laughs and entertained audiences thoroughly. One expects much less of the latter from Buck Wild, a no-name production that went straight to DVD and Blu-ray this week from Millennium Entertainment.

The film tags along with four young men on a hunting trip in Texas. It takes the trouble of defining these distinct personalities, so I will describe them. Craig (co-writer Matthew Albrecht) is our average lead, who announces he is about to propose to his girlfriend of six years. His best friend and would-be best man, brownie-wielding pothead Lance (Isaac Harrison), gets quiet at the news. The uptight and probably closeted Tom (Dru Lockwood) is pretty sure Lance has been sleeping with Craig's girl. These three pals are joined by Jerry (Jarrod Pistilli), Craig's cousin from New York.

Jerry is designed to be the film's comic dynamo, but it's a character the makers love so much more than the viewer will. Pistilli is woefully miscast as the cigar-chomping, knife-sharpening tough guy with a weak Newsies accent.

What could go wrong when these three friends (Isaac Harrison, Dru Lockwood, and Matthew Albrecht) and a creepy cousin go off to rural Texas for a hunting trip in "Buck Wild"?

The guys are staying at the modest Buck Wild Ranch, whose owner Clyde (Joe Stevens) has gotten very sick after the opening scene, in which he offs his slutty daughter's boyfriend with a thrown wrench for screwing on his tulips. En route to the ranch, the film also introduces us to Billy Ray (Mark Ford), the delicate British local who's always reminding you he's considered a badass, and his gang of hillbillies.

While hunting, the guys run into Clyde, who Jerry recognizes right away as a zombie. He expects others will similarly be "turned" and turned dangerous in this remote redneck town.

Buck Wild is stupid and almost never funny. Perhaps the closest it gets to a laugh is a scene in which Craig and Jerry argue in detail over The Godfather trilogy. Most of the time, the film is less enamored with blood than the packaging would lead you to believe.
Oh, surely it would earn an R rating for gore and language if it were submitted to the MPAA. But it wasn't, saving the filmmakers a few thousand dollars. That's not a decision you can question on this amateurish production with a no-budget feel that's hindered by actors' evident inexperience.

One wonders what the financial incentive for making this type of movie is. The movie currently isn't available from Redbox, Netflix, or Amazon Instant. The disc isn't one you'll find in many stores. The idea of it selling even a few hundred copies seems unlikely. None of this can be news to Albrecht and his fellow writer/producer, director Tyler Glodt, whose first movie together -- 2012's unknown The Eves -- seemed to experience a similar fate, although with the added bonus of a limited Mexican theatrical release. Maybe Albrecht and Glodt are hoping these little projects will get them discovered or bolster their reels. They may just be happy to be able to make their own movies with each other, friends and affordable hopefuls in the Texas area. And they seem to be having fun, even making local public access type programs and faux infomercials to be featured on screens throughout.

In case the feather boa didn't make it perfectly clear, Billy Ray (Mark Leslie Ford) lets visitors know he's considered a badass. A bloodied Lance (Isaac Harrison) opens up to Craig.

Perhaps securing distribution, even direct-to-video with a Blu-ray edition nonetheless, is reward enough, especially from a studio that has recently handled films from James Franco, Twilight's Catherine Hardwicke, Shia LaBeouf, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, and Robert De Niro.

As if there wasn't enough off-putting about this film, there is an inexplicable current of homophobia running through it,
as characters sling derogatory terms at one another, a device you wrongly anticipate leading to enlightenment or a twist.

VIDEO and AUDIO

In what is hopefully evidence that Millennium has turned a corner, Buck Wild has not been modified to fill 16:9 screens. The Blu-ray presents the film uncompromised in its intended 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture is often dark but fine and the visuals are polished enough. Per usual, the studio gives viewers the choice of Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and plain 2.0 stereo mixes. The former is adequate, though it's clear when dialogue has been looped (or should have been). English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included on the film.

This deleted scene adds to Tom's (Dru Lockwood) ultimately fruitless "He might be gay" arc. A zombie girl (Meg Cionni) gets in the crosshairs of the Blu-ray's main menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Unmentioned on the case, Buck Wild is joined by three deleted scenes (3:12), which include a reprisal of the "Chupacabra" and a couple of unremarkable character moments.

A previews section adds Buck Wild's trailer (1:54) to the disc-opening ones for Hell Baby, Charlie Countryman, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear, and Life of a King.

The scored menu moves a crosshairs target over clips from the film. The disc doesn't support bookmarks or resume unfinished playback. No inserts accompany the disc inside the plain blue keepcase.

Shirtless New Yorker cousin Jerry (Jarrod Pistilli) gives Craig (Matthew Albrecht) some unsolicited advice on matters of the heart in "Buck Wild."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Buck Wild is one of those films where the cover art is enough to tell you what to expect. It looks like a crappy no-frills horror comedy and that's precisely what it is. Even reading this review probably wasted your time, as perhaps it saved you the 95 minutes I doubt you considered giving this. Your time would be better spent exploring the related reviews linked to below and checking out many superior zom coms and dramas out there.

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Related Reviews:
The Cabin in the Woods • Zombieland • Warm Bodies • The World's End • Fright Night (2011)
World War Z • The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season • All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2 • The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernαndez • Stag • Road Trip • Evil Dead (2013)
New: Achmed Saves America • Kill Your Darlings • The Middle: Season 4 • Easy Money: Hard to Kill

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Reviewed March 20, 2014.



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