The Good

There is an ambiguousness to this movie that works really well for the viewer.

The Bad

It's sort of hard to get excited about this film when you know David Fincher has a similar one waiting in the wings.

I reviewed The Zodiac when it came out theatrically, so you can defer to that review to get my insights and breakdown on the film. This DVD was nice to review and I think the film and additional extras should make a lot of interested people happy. While I am sure that David Fincher's film is probably going to have a lot more fanfare, and be a bit more loaded with extras (and probably have multiple releases), but I am not so sure that people should ignore Alexander Bulkley's The Zodiac.

His film feels small and I never thought for a moment that I wasn't seeing anything but actors, but there is an interesting dichotomy to the world he has created that really intrigued this viewer from the first frames of The Zodiac.

Features

Zodiac Letters and Ciphers

An interesting featurette that shows us the coded letters from the Zodiac Killer. Then the code magically turns into letters and we can read what the killer said. In addition to this, the letters themselves are also read by what seems like the same voice that reads the letters in the film. There is a chilling aspect to this segment that I think should pique the interest of serial killer enthusiasts.

Behind the Zodiac

Nothing too amazing here. This is just a simple "Making Of" that juxtaposes images from the film with the characters talking about their roles. As I was watching this, I couldn't help wonder what the budget to this film was, mainly because this movie is set in the 1960s, and for the most part it pulls that off. Seeing the actors talk about their characters, yet remain in their period costumes was somewhat jarring for some reason.

Chronology

You can scroll through this chronology which allows you see all the events of this case. While I didn't spend a great deal of time going through this, I thought it added a nice touch to this DVD. All to often we are shown stories like this but they don't give us enough perspective. This film doesn't have that problem.

Commentary

Alexander Bulkley and his brother Kelly do a nice job of walking us through this movie without ever really telling us what we are seeing. They talk about putting across the disconnect of the 1960s, the Zodiac Killer, and how the country reacted because they had never seen something like this before. All in all, the Bulkley Bros. offer up an astute account of the making this film and the events depicted on-screen.

Video

16x9 - Anamorphic Full Frame. This movie's look is a mix between the traditional and the highly stylized. While at times I felt that the acting could be better, ultimately I thought this movie was served up to give us the impression that we were watching a document of that time. While this movie never moved like a documentary, I could see where the director would want to put across this film as if it were a home movie.

Audio

5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. Spanish Subtitles. Close Captioned. There is a measured quality to this film's audio that I thought showed a lot of well used restraint. The sound wasn't overt or in your face, but when it was used it made up for the lack of production value that this film may have had in a horror sense. There was a crispness to the sound design that I thought Alexander Bulkley utilized quite well to get into the characters (and our) heads.

Package

They have created a really interesting cover which merges a portion of the killers face with the signs of the Zodiac. The color scheme on this cover mixes an almost black and gold look. The back cover continues this with shots from from the movie, a description, a Special Features listing, a credits list, and technical specs. They have made this cover stand out just enough to get people's attention and let their audience know that it's there.

Final Word

Basically, if you are waiting for David Fincher's Zodiac, and you don't know much about that serial killer (and you're not the type to check out a book on him from the library), than I would suggest picking up this DVD. While it isn't as comprehensive, in a story sense, as I would like, I found that it was easy to follow and really put across the world and time period in which the events being covered took place.

The Zodiac was released July 31, 2005.