DirectorJoe D'Amato and Raffaele Donato
Release Date(s)1989 (April 27, 2021)
Studio(s)Filmirage/Variety Film (Severin Films)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: D-
After an explosion of genre films in the 1970s, Italian filmmakers continued to capitalize on various trends throughout the 1980s and 1990s, aping everything from Escape to New York to The Road Warrior to The Terminator to Jaws. The latter spawned an entire of subgenre unto itself, sharksploitation (or Jawsploitation, if you will), not only with sequels to the original 1975 smash hit, but the many imitators who utilized animals and insects both in and out of the water. 1989’s Deep Blood (AKA Sangue negli abissi) was Joe D’Amato’s late in the cycle take on this craze. Despite his directing and shooting the majority of the film, he chose to not take credit and give it to Raffaele Donato instead who shot only one scene (also giving himself yet another pseudonym for the cinematography). The film is mostly a cheat, using nothing but stock footage for the shark (as well as a random octopus), and making up for it with stock characters, uninteresting relationships, and atrocious dialogue exchanges. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a lot of meat on the bone, no pun intended. Death scenes involve characters trashing around in the water with obvious fake blood soaking the surface. In other words, Deep Blood is about as low tech as it gets.
The story opens with four young boys on the beach who are visited by a Native American. He tells them a tale of death and ancient spirits, including one out in the open water in the form of a man-eating shark. After burying a sacred Native American artifact on the beach, they agree to return later in life as the Native American informs them that it will aid them when in danger. Years later they return for a reunion, not knowing that the killer shark is still swimming just off the coast, ready to chomp down on whomever strays into its path. Despite several deaths, including one of the young men, the local sheriff is skeptical of any seaside killings actually taking place. Amidst their rocky relationships, including those with their parents, they band together and head out into the ocean armed with dynamite and the unearthed ancient artifact to the kill the elusive shark.
Severin Films brings Deep Blood to Blu-ray for the first time in the US with a 2K scan of the original camera negative in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Grain is moderate and the image is stable throughout with good saturation, including bold swatches of red, blue, and green. Contrast levels are ideal and blacks are deep as well. Some clean-up looks to have been performed on the opening titles to hide the baked-in damage, but mild lines and speckling remain. The stock footage is also much softer with more apparent damage on display. Otherwise, the rest of the presentation is crisp and organic in appearance.
The audio is included in English and Italian 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA with optional subtitles in English SDH. The English track is by far the better experience, not just because of the spoken language. Everything is balanced better, especially sound effects and score. Dialogue is also more natural. The Italian track’s overdubbing is not only obvious, but at times sounds like it was recorded underwater. Since both tracks are taken from Mono sources, they’re flat and really don’t carry much power to them. They’re also clean and free of any leftover hiss or distortion.
The disc is housed in a black amaray case with the original artwork only. The only extra that has been included is the film’s trailer:
- Trailer (HD – 3:29)
Deep Blood certainly won’t win any awards for originality, but sharksploitation fans are bound to eat it up, regardless of quality. Severin’s disc offers a mostly bare bones experience when it comes to bonus materials, but the A/V presenation is quite good.
- Tim Salmons