From Dusk till Dawn: Season One Blu-ray Review

     Actors: D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eliza Gonzalez, Wilmer Valderrama, Robert Patrick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • Release Date: September 16, 2014
  • Run Time: 450 minutes


            With the constant reliance on remakes and sequels in the film industry, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see these habits spill over into television. This past year saw a large number of film-to-television adaptations in every imaginable genre, from romantic comedy (“About a Boy”) to dark crime films (“Fargo”) and serial killer narratives (“Hannibal”). When Robert Rodriguez decided to create his own station, it almost seemed inevitable he would dig into his past material for the original material. I am just shocked that it wasn’t from one of the longer-running franchises, such as El Mariachi or Machete. 


            Those other characters have been brought back enough times that they could have been easily adapted to different scenarios, but they are also iconically tied to memorable performances. While the 1996 was a cult success, it was an easier sell for reinterpretation with the time that has passed. For those who remember the film, however, there will either be admiration or irritation at how much has remained the same. It feels somewhat like watching a remake that is five times as long and 1/5 the budget. Sometimes less is more, and this series is evidence of such.


            The story, for those who are unfamiliar, involves brothers and wanted criminals who encounter a coven of vampires in a strip club when they escape to Mexico. The Gecko brothers are played by D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz this time around, each giving their best imitation of George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. Just as in the film, there is a manhunt searching for the brothers, so they utilize a traveling family in a camper as cover for their border crossing. This family includes former pastor Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) and his two kids (Brandon Soo Hoo and Madison Davenport), who are grieving the recent lost of their matriarch.


            The one area where the film allows a great deal more narrative to seep in is with the representation of law enforcement. While cops were merely tools for suspense and targets for bullets in the film, the television series gives a larger role to a Ranger (Jesse Garcia) hunting them down. This is a small price to pay for a dragged out narrative, but it does ensure that the last few episodes are full of great horror action. It is just getting to that point that seems to drag more than was enjoyable.


            The Blu-ray release for the first season includes all ten episodes on three discs, along with a plethora of special feature that range from pointless entertainment to informational featurettes. On one end of the scale is a feature with all of the season’s best kills edited together and a commercial for the fabricated Tarantino fast food chain, Big Kahuna. On the other end is an audio commentary with Rodriguez, joined by additional producers and cast members. There are also a number of featurettes, including a making-of and several behind-the-scenes segments created for television. Also included are some promotional commercials done in collaboration with General Motors and Dos Equis. There is also Q&A footage from the show’s premiere at Alamo Drafthouse.  


    Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10

    Historical Significance:  6/10

    Special Features: 8.5/10

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