Mania Grade: C-
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: C-
- Packaging Rating: C+
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: NA
- Age Rating: 17 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Switchblade Pictures
- MSRP: 19.98
- Running time: 76
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Nu-Meri ~ Book of the New Spawn
Nu-Meri ~ Book of the New Spawn DVD Review
By John Rose
January 19, 2011
Release Date: November 09, 2009
Nu-Meri ~ Book of the New Spawn
© Switchblade Pictures
A story about a researcher in the field of genetically engineered fish and all the film needs is a mad scientist to turn it into a horror picture. And just look, there is a possible candidate for that role right there.
What They Say
There's something wrong at the Pacific Institute...something wrong and evil. For young Mari, whose family has worked in the finishing industry for generations, her studies in advanced genetics and marine bio-engineering represent not just her own future, but that of her entire family. But when her friend Nanako is mysteriously discovered dead, Mari's dreams turn into her worst nightmares! Because not only was Nanako's body covered with fishbites, she was also growing scales! Now, as a new wave of deaths and tragedies engulf the Pacific team, it becomes all too clear that someone....something...has a new future in mind for all human kind. For centuries man has taken from the ocean, never dreaming what might lurk beneath the waves; now the revelation has begun...and this time, we're the sushi!
The only track available on this release is a 2.0 Japanese track. Like other Switchblade releases the track itself is a basic one with little in the way of frills but competently done with no dropouts or distortions noticeable. Most of the dialogue is split between the front three speakers which adds a touch of depth but not much directionality to the presentation though the audio track does a good job of separation so nothing audio wise winds up being buried by something else present in the audio track.
The feature was created in 2008 and is presented 16:9 ratio. The features video contains a lot of dot crawl, noise, and aliasing. The film does pull off brilliant colors and lush blacks fairly well though there is a little color bleed for some of the brightest colors in the film.
The front contains a picture of the main character Mari revealing a lot of skin with the title in a banner that covers her upper body and there’s also a hint of scales on the right side of her torso if one looks closely. Behind her is a shot of the ocean and in the above left corner is a mutant fish with blood splashed on it. The entire cover is framed in blue and white except for the banner and border which adds a touch of the other worldliness to it. The back features an upper body picture of Mari with scales just being noticeable as well as one of male characters from the film. The bottom has four stills from the picture and in between that is the copy. The disc label itself is a close up of the front cover.
The title is one of the Switchblade films that starts with three skippable trailers and then the Switchblade logo which then leads directly into the feature itself. There is a menu screen though in case the viewer wants to select the trailers or go to the feature. The menu features a blue screen with the upper body picture of Mari from the front DVD cover as well as the Nu-Mer title behind her that looks like it was written on a wall and then photographed using a rain covered window for lighting. There are also some shadows over the writing that may be some seaweed. The choice highlighted is shown by a small silhouette fish that faces one direction for the film and another for the trailers though it looks to be in attack mode with the latter option. The menu responds quickly to changes in choices and in implementing them. The opening instrumental track from the feature plays in the background.
This feature contains no extras.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mari’s family has been in the fishing business for ages and is part of Japan’s fish market where fresh fish are brought in and quickly prepped for sale daily. Mari works in her families stall helping out in her time when she is not studying. Mari has dedicated her life to trying to use her talents in research to help prepare the future where geneticists will have to have answers to help out the world’s problem of shrinking fish populations that it uses for food source.
Mari attends a university that itself seems to be cursed as those who have seen Sentai’s Gun~Kyu release will recognize the school, teacher and even the lecture Mari attends at the end of the semester. Mari is getting ready to leave on a summer internship that will help her with her future studies and give her some practical experience. Her boyfriend will face a long summer though as she has already set her mind to studies and is not interested in fooling around with him.
Mari attends a high school graduating class reunion where Mari talks about her father’s initial reaction when she first presented her course of study to him. In the time since he has come to be more accepting though her friend’s seem to have an idea as to how well he took her gift when she gave him a cultivated fish she had grown. As the group continues its merriment Maki’s friend Nanako asks if the place Maki is interning is still taking applicants. While Nanako isn’t in a college program she has been doing a lot of diving as part of her parent’s business and has decided she wants to do something to help out researchers as she thinks that the fish population is in danger and Mari manages to arrange it through her contact at the lab.
The two women arrive at the Pacific Fisheries Laboratory where they and four other interns will be spending the summer helping the laboratory and doing some practical work for their future work in the field. They are introduced to the lead researcher Katayama and his assistant Iwamoto who are working with the manipulation of chromosomes of fish for the purpose of creating ways to help the future fish supply. The students are given a welcome speech that includes a warning not to go into the areas of the lab that are authorized access only. Everything seems to be doing well as the students go about the process of learning their assignments and about each other. Nanako seems to be doing some activities at night though nothing seems too dire-until Maki finds her splashing around in fear in one of the baths late at night.
The next day however Nanako is found floating dead in the ocean with an odd wound, some scales growing on her skin and a fish that cannot survive in salt water in her diving suit. Now Maki is torn between the grief of losing a friend who was only present because of her efforts and her desire to discover if the lab and their work had something to do with Nanako’s death. Her investigation will lead her into a forbidden area where man is playing god and it may take everything she has-and even more-to come out of this area alive when the food chain is suddenly turned around.
Nu-Meri was created by the same production group that created Gun~Kyu (also released by Switchblade Films) as is shown by use of some of the same locals and even sharing a scene between them. The similarities end there as Nu-Meri uses that scene to help establish their own lead as a student (and likely a link for people who enjoyed one film to try the other) but goes in its own direction. Sadly Nu-Meri feels like a step in a different direction than Gun~Kyu that also misses the mark. Nu-Meri does a far better job of assembling a main character but does far less with the camera work or building of the mood than its sister piece. Somewhere between the two is a good horror feature but what actually exists seem to be polar opposites of each other that fail to find that “good” ground between them.
Nu-Meri is a feature that tries to build on the current technology of genetic engineering and build on that to show how science can be twisted to horrific ends. It does not accomplish that as more time is spent building up the main character and the message that the fish supply is running out than giving hints that the science may be going bad. And the end mutations just are not that serious a threat and provide more in the way of laughs than chills. When the part of the film that winds up being the most interesting is the look at a Japanese commercial fish market it is an ill omen for a film that will only be spending a few minutes of the beginning of the feature there.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.
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