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Survive!

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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Survive!



    Released by: VCI Entertainment
    Released on: October 11, 2011.
    Director: Rene Cardona Jr.
    Cast: Hugo Stiglitz, Norma Lazareno, Luz Maria Aguilar, Fernando Larranaga, Lorenzo de Rodas
    Year: 1976
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    “An incredible story of modern day cannibalism!” So screams the tagline from the one sheet (and subsequently the DVD cover art) for the release of Rene Cardona Jr.'s take on what happened on that infamous day - Friday, October 13th in 1972, when a plan carrying a Uruguayan Rugby Team and their travelling companions was chartered to bring the team to Chile for a competition. Due to a miscalculation on the part of the pilot, the plane turned too soon and wound up heading straight into the remote Andes Mountains, the massive range that separates the two South American countries.

    The plane hit a peak and went down, splitting into a few different pieces as it blew apart.
    Miraculously, the main front portion of the fuselage remained more or less intact and many of those in that part of the plane were alive when it touched down in the snowy and desolate area, though many were injured and wouldn't be alive much longer.

    Those who survived did what they could to hang out and cling to a normal life. They huddled inside the wreckage to try and stay warm. They would melt snow against metal in the sun to get fresh water and rationed candy and snacks that were on board for sustenance. This wouldn't last them long, however, and they were soon faced with a very severe food shortage. With animals around to hunt nor any vegetation to gather, the only option the increasingly dwindling group had at their disposal was to eat the flesh of their former teammates - it was that, or starve to death. Eventually one of the more determined of the group would make it through the mountains to civilization where a kindly peasant farmer would help them get a rescue crew into the hills. This voyage, however, would pose its own set of challenges thanks to snow blindness, remarkably rough terrain, and no way of telling what direction they were actually heading in. When all was said and done, it would be seventy-two days before anyone from the crash was rescued.

    The focus of this film, however, is on the cannibalism aspect of the story rather than the rescue, which isn't surprising given Cardona's involvement and some of the other films attached to his good name (Guyana - Cult Of The Damned and Night Of The Bloody Apes to name just a few!). Presented in its uncut export version (the most common way to see the film prior to this release was the edited TV version), the cannibalism scenes are nasty enough to appeal to the horror movie crowd but there's a decent survival story in here too, amongst the clips of various people stripping the flesh off of corpses and what not. It's a grisly film to be sure, almost as nasty looking at leading man Hugo Stiglitz's beard in the later part of the film! Though the gore doesn't overpower the film and takes up only a few minutes worth of the running time, these scenes are understandably the most memorable and they're actually fairly disturbing despite the fact that this was a fairly modestly budgeted production.

    The film moves at a good pace and while the props used during the airplane crash scene are obviously just that, the performances are decent enough that the film pulls us in and keeps us interested. Cardona's use of religious imagery and comparisons to the rite of Communion in the cannibalism scenes are obvious and heavy handed but not at all out of place and offer up some interesting food for thought (cheap pun intended). In this form, the 86 minute cut runs nice and lean, turning out to be as tense and dramatic as it can be grotesque and fairly unsettling. All in all, this is a pretty solid effort from all involved, an cheap exploitation picture that rises above its limitations and actually has some impact on the viewership.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Survive looks okay here in this 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen print. The image is interlaced and there is frequent softness throughout, though some of that softness has to stem back to the original photography. Compression artifacts aren't all too hard to spot, but the print damage that does show up here and there is negligible. The remastering job here won't win any awards but it's watchable.

    Equally middle of the road is the English language Dolby Digital Mono track. Dialogue is audible, if a bit flat, and the score and effects come through with reasonable clarity even if there is some minor background hiss here and there. English subtitles are included.

    As far as the extras go, well, you get the film's theatrical trailer which is pretty cool, and you get menus and chapter stops, which isn't very interesting but additionally you also get the longer Spanish language version. Presented in fullframe and puzzlingly without any English subtitles (rendering it fairly useless unless you habla!) , it's nice to have it here but probably won't be the version you go back to.

    The Final Word:

    The absence of English subtitles on the full length Spanish language cut of the film is an irritant for sure but this one is still worth getting for the full strength cut of the export version of the film. Survive! is a grim, gritty, gory tale that is surprisingly effective and well worth seeking out and if this disc won't blow you away with its presentation, its perfectly watchable.






















    • Clive Smith
      #1
      Clive Smith
      noodle doodle
      Clive Smith commented
      Editing a comment
      Yay! I was hoping someone would review this soon. It certainly doesn't look amazing, but... I'm in.

    • Jimmy Simard
      #2
      Jimmy Simard
      Senior Member
      Jimmy Simard commented
      Editing a comment
      My dvd of this one is the spanish version but in my case english subtitles are included. My guess is they used the same materials in the spanish version included in this release as it's a full frame affair too in my dvd version. Don't know if it's always available (I doubt it is) but it was released in 2004 by Urban Vision Entertainment.

    • Horace Cordier
      #3
      Horace Cordier
      Senior Member
      Horace Cordier commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Jimmy Simard
      My dvd of this one is the spanish version but in my case english subtitles are included. My guess is they used the same materials in the spanish version included in this release as it's a full frame affair too in my dvd version. Don't know if it's always available (I doubt it is) but it was released in 2004 by Urban Vision Entertainment.
      It is indeed the same. The calling card on this set is the new USA version transfer. This movie is a lean mean exploitation machine in its USA cut and frankly vastly superior to the bloated original.
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