Horror Dna Logo Header 02
Horror Dna Logo Header Right

Latest Articles

Redneck #21

on 19 July 2019 in Comics Read More

Wilted Lilies

on 19 July 2019 in Books Read More

Savage Avengers #3

on 19 July 2019 in Comics Read More

DCeased #3

on 18 July 2019 in Comics Read More

The Zodiac DVD Review

Written by Chris Shamburger

DVD released by THINKFilm

The Zodiac Large

Directed by Alexander Bulkley
Written by Kelly Bulkley and Alexander Bulkley
2005, Region 1, 96 minutes, Rated R
Released on April 29th, 2006

Starring:
Justin Chambers as Matt Parish
Robin Tunney as Laura Parish
Rory Culkin as Johnny Parish
William Mapother as Dale Coverling
Brad William Henke as Bill Gregory
Rex Linn as Jim Martinez
Phillip Baker Hall as Frank Perkins
Marty Lindsey as Zodiac Killer
Brian Bloom as Voice of Zodiac

The Zodiac 01 The Zodiac 02

Review:

The Zodiac is a classically structured slasher movie based on real events. It starts like any other splatter film of its ilk, as two lovers keep each other company in a parked car. When another vehicle pulls up behind theirs with headlights blaring, all hell breaks loose. The teenagers die in a grisly fashion; the killer gets away to continue his bidding; and a small town becomes the center of a frenzied murder mystery.

It’s no surprise that The Zodiac, director Alexander Bulkley’s sophomore project, doesn’t offer much originality-wise. After all, the killer himself is certainly one of the more popularized ones of the past five decades, having ostensibly inspired movies like Lovers Lane and Cherry Falls.  Interestingly enough, as the story began to unfold, I became more interested in those affected by the murders than the killer himself.  I can’t say that about any other recent serial killer chronicle.

The Zodiac 03 The Zodiac 04

The movie takes place in a small Californian town in 1968. Justin Chambers (TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) stars as Matt Parish, a police detective who becomes beguiled by The Zodiac Killer, a local psychopath who disrupts a small town community’s way of life.  Matt and his family, including wife Laura (Robin Tunney – Hollywoodland) and son Johnny (Rory Culkin – Signs), are exclusively affected.  Matt becomes obsessed with his work as he tries to solve the mystery, and Johnny becomes a personal detective of the Zodiac killer’s bizarre puzzles.

The Zodiac isn’t groundbreaking material (David Fincher’s Zodiac, a bigger-budgeted drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal, will be released in 2007), but it’s apparent the director and actors are committed to their work and express an authentic interest in the narrative.  One of the best scenes in the film is when, one night, Laura locks the door before bed.  Matt comes home incensed at her actions, realizing his work could put his family in danger. Without this sincere focus on its characters, the film would fall flat on its face.

Performances are exceptional across the board, the standout being a fantastic feat by Robin Tunney as the distraught wife. Justin Chambers admirably carries the film, and Rory Culkin gives a subdued performance.  Efficiently edited by Greg Tillman, the movie avoids flashy expositions to acquiesce with the film’s slow pacing. All of this, combined with the earnest direction of Bulkley, is why The Zodiac is more than your typical crime story.

The Zodiac Killer once said in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, “I am waiting for a good movie about me. Who will play me? I am now in control of all things.”

Until next year’s release of David Fincher’s Zodiac, I imagine this film to whet the appetite of any crime and serial killer enthusiast.

The Zodiac 05 The Zodiac 06 

Video & Audio

The DVD is presented in a 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer (although incorrectly labeled on the back of the DVD case as having a full frame presentation).  The picture looks good with limited grain and artifacts.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital track sounds fine, too, although the back speakers are used intermittently due to the absence of any garish noises (the film is mostly carried by dialogue).  Overall, though, I was very pleased with the picture and sound.

Spanish subtitles are also available.

The Zodiac 07 The Zodiac 08

Extras

  • Director and Writer Commentary
  • “Behind the Zodiac” Featurette
  • The Zodiac Letters
  • Chronology of The Zodiac Killings
  • Trailer Gallery

The commentary with writer/director Alexander Bulkley and real-life brother and co-writer Kelly Bulkley is the best feature on the disc. Both siblings know what they’re talking about (just watch the film to see how well their knowledge transfers to the screen), and the commentary is always interesting.

Also on the disc is a segment called “Behind the Zodiac,” an 11-minute featurette highlighting interview clips of the actors in the movie.

Following the commentary and featurette are “Zodiac Ciphers,” an index of secret messages the killer sent to the police;  “The Zodiac Letters,” which is self-explanatory; and “Chronology of The Zodiac Killings,” which is basically a timeline of essential events dealing with The Zodiac Killer.

Topping off the special features is a trailer gallery, featuring previews for Down in the Valley, 10th & Wolf, The King, and Awesome; I… Shot That.

The Zodiac 09 The Zodiac 10 

Grades:

Movie: Threeandahalfstars The Zodiac Small
Buy Amazon Us
Video: Fourstars
Audio: Fourstars
Features: Threeandahalfstars
Overall: Threeandahalfstars

Podcast

Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 095: Ryan King

on 25 May 2019 in Podcast

James speaks with the writer of Cricketsong, currently on Kickstarter.

Read More
235
Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 094: Rich Douek

on 04 April 2019 in Podcast

James chats with the writer of Road of Bones, coming in May from IDW Publishing.

Read More
556
Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 093: Joey Weiser

on 07 March 2019 in Podcast

James chats with the creator of the all-ages graphic novel, Ghost Hog.

Read More
367
Funny Book Splatter 01

Funny Book Splatter 092: Magdalene Visaggio

on 08 February 2019 in Podcast

James speaks to the writer of Morning in America, coming soon from Oni Press.

Read More
320

Contests

Lost In Space Dvd Large

Win Lost in Space The Complete First Season on DVD

on 18 July 2019 in Contests

Win Season 1 of the sci-fi series on DVD

Read More
300
Mermaid Lake Of The Dead Dvd Large

Win The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead on DVD

on 18 July 2019 in Contests

Win a copy of the aquatic horror on DVD

Read More
274
Hole In The Ground Blu Ray Large

Win The Hole in the Ground on Blu-ray

on 05 July 2019 in Contests

Win a copy of the Irish chiller on Blu-ray

Read More
1846
Halloween 2018 Poster

Win a Blu-ray of Halloween (2018)

on 04 July 2019 in Contests

We have a copy of the latest installement in the Halloween franchise to give away to one lucky winner.

Read More
2552

Music & TV

Into The Dark S01 E10 Culture Shock Large

Into the Dark - Season 1, Episode 10: "Culture Shock"

on 05 July 2019 in TV Shows

The American Dream. Redefined. Are you ready for it?

Read More
307
The Crow Ost Large

The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

on 19 May 2019 in Music

Twenty-five years later, what once worked as a cult movie soundtrack now serves as a document of ‘90s alt-rock culture.

Read More
307
Into The Dark S01 E08 All That We Destroy Large

Into the Dark - Season 1, Episode 8: "All That We Destroy"

on 09 May 2019 in TV Shows

Sometimes mother doesn't really know best.

Read More
899
Folklore S01 Large

Folklore - Season 1, Episode 6: "Mongdal"

on 12 April 2019 in TV Shows

Folklore unfortunately goes out with a whimper.

Read More
481
Folklore S01 Large

Folklore - Season 1, Episode 5: "Toyol"

on 17 March 2019 in TV Shows

Episode 5 of Folklore, "Toyol," is about the angry ghost of a baby, proving once again that children are just the ...

Read More
503
Suspiria Limited Edition Unreleased Material Thom Yorke Large

Suspiria (2018): Unreleased Material

on 10 March 2019 in Music

The companion piece to Thom Yorke’s accomplished Suspiria soundtrack is unfinished and unnecessary.

Read More
419
­

Join Us!

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...