Night of the Comet – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director:
Thom Eberhardt

Cast:
Robert Beltran… Hector
Catherine Mary Stewart… Regina
Kelli Maroney… Samantha

Release Date: March 6, 2007
Running Time: 95 minutes

The Movie

The packaging for the Night of the Comet DVD does a rather poor job of providing any sort of accurate sense of what the movie is about. Like the adage of juding a book by its cover, with the DVD case one would expect a satire centered around a couple of teenage girls who are so shallow that they aren’t really bothered by the world being overrun by zombies, as long as they can have easy access to shopping. In actuality, it’s not really a satire – though it does have a few references to zombie movies and some social commentary – the characters aren’t that shallow – but they do go shopping at one point – and it’s more of a post-apocalyptic movie than a zombie movie.

Night of the Comet opens with a comet passing by the Earth (hence the name). Said comet emits some sort of radiation. Anyone who wasn’t in a protected area when the comet passed (i.e. almost everyone) is immediately turned into dust. The radiation seems to work on any living humans or animals, but has no discernible effect on plant life for some reason.

The zombies in the movie aren’t zombies in the traditional sense. They do retain the standard bloodlust, unlike your standard zombie, they don’t seem to have any specific flesh or brain needs. The zombies can also talk/think/plan/etc. And, since becoming a zombie is the result of limited exposure to the radiation, being bitten by one does not result in the victim becoming a zombie.

Another thing that differentiates Night of the Comet from your standard zombie movie is the well developed plot twists. As much as I love zombie movies, almost all of them rely on two kinds of plot twists; A) the over-telegraphed plot twist and B) the random plot twist for the sake of having a big plot twist. In Comet there was not one, but two different times when a plot twist surprised the hell out of me. And yet, in retrospect, the twists were well foreshadowed and made perfect sense.

Night of the Comet features a desolate, nearly completely unpopulated world; it does a brilliant job of depicting that world. Shortly after the comet wipes out most life on earth there’s a sequence where various automated machines (such a water sprinklers, animatronic clowns, etc) turn on. It’s pretty hard to make a water sprinkler evoke a sense of loneliness and desolation, but Night of the Comet manages to do so.

The casting does cause a bit of a problem for the movie. Most of the actors do a decent job it’s just that Robert Beltran is cast as a trucker. In my mind Beltran has been forever typecast as Commander Chakotay, so it was a bit tough to accept him playing a totally different character. For the first few minutes of his appearance I kept thinking about Star Trek: Voyager when I should have been thinking about Night of the Comet. You can’t really fault the movie for Beltran’s typecasting though, especially since the show/role he would eventually be typecast in hadn’t even been conceptualized when the movie was made.

Nevertheless, Night of the Comet isn’t something that is going to stick in your brain for weeks or months, but it is an entertaining and surprisingly intelligent post-apocalyptic film.

The DVD

Video

It’s a widescreen release but it doesn’t seem like they did much, if any, to clean things up when they transferred this flim to DVD. And seeing how Night of the Comet was released back in 1984, it’s not surprising to see a bit of dirt and scratches turn up in a few of the scenes.

Audio

It’s an older movie so we only get stereo (Dolby Digital) sound. For the most part it still sounds pretty good, there are, however, a couple scenes where the background music is a little louder than it should be, making the dialogue difficult to hear. I’m not sure if that was a problem with the original film, or something that happened when they transferred it to DVD.

Extras

Do you count scene selection as an extra? Well, what about ‘interactive menus’ and language selection? Sadly those are the closest things this disc has to extras. It’s too bad because the movie is well-suited to some behind the scenes features and a commentary or two.

Inside Pulse

A surprisingly solid movie coupled with a rather bare bones DVD release. If you’re looking for mindless zombie fun, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. But if you want a post-apocalyptic film with doses of zombies and social commentary, it’s a good choice.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Night of the Comet
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

6
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
6.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)