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Blu-ray Review: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES Season 3

Feb 06 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | 1 comment

As the exciting second season of the El Rey network’s From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series came to a close, the Gecko brothers, Seth (D.J. Cotrona) and Richie (Zane Holtz), managed to blow up the Twister and stopped Carlos from completing his evil plan. However, not everyone made it through the ordeal unscathed, and the Gecko’s ragtag group disbanded, each headed off in his or her own direction. As Kate (Madison Davenport) lay dying on the ground, some of the evil blood from the well entered her body, making her eyes turn red. Some unknown evil had found itself a new home.

The third (and likely final) season of the series picks up six months later. The Gecko brothers are summoned to a meeting with the remaining Lords, where Lord Venganza Verdugo (Ana de la Reguera) informs the brothers that they will now serve as collectors for the Lords, making sure that their clients pay their debts. This doesn’t sit well with Seth, who doesn’t want to be a bag man for a bunch of Culebras, but Richie talks him down and they agree to the terms. Meanwhile, a sun god named Brasa (Maurice Compte) arises from the ashes of the Twister—he managed to escape from the Labyrinth underneath, and is now working with Amaru, the Queen of the Underworld, who has taken over Kate’s body. Together they plan to unleash an army of demons from Hell to eliminate the Lords, enslave the Culebras, and open the door to Xibalba and literally make it Hell on Earth.

If the Gecko brothers are going to stop Brasa, Amaru and their army of monsters, they’re going to need some help, and so they’ll need to re-assemble their team of monster-hunters. After the loss of his sister, Scott Fuller (Brandon Soo Hoo) took off to tour with his band; Santanico (Eiza González) decided she wanted nothing to with ruling the Culebras and now runs a cage fighting establishment under the fake identity of Kisa; and Ranger Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia) is busy trying to fix his relationship with his wife and daughter. Along their journey, the brothers will not only find help from some new folks, like Lord Verdugo’s assistant Ximena (Emily Rios) and an old stoner/monster hunter named Burt (Tom Savini), but they’ll also have to team up with old enemies such as Professor Aidan “Sex Machine” Tanner. Can this ragtag group find a way to overcome their own issues to send these demons back to Hell and stop Amaru before she wipes out the Culebras and the rest of humanity?

For anyone who has seen the first two seasons, this season is more of the same, but in a good way. The series knows that at times it’s a bit pulpy and over-the-top or excessively gory, and has a lot of fun with that. At the same time, the series also provides an interesting story, excellent character development, some creepy and scary drama, and real stakes for the characters. It seems like the producers knew ahead of time this was likely going to be the show’s final season. They have pulled out all the stops, bringing back some characters from the first two seasons, and tying their storylines into the larger events of the third season. However, the way they bring the main group back together and re-insert these other characters feels very organic. At no time did it feel like the writers were just working through a checklist of guests.

The third season takes on more of a monster-of-the-week format as each episode finds the brothers dealing with some new demon threat unleashed from the underworld, but at the same time, there is also an ongoing story that progresses with each episode. This monster-of-the-week format provides a lot of fun, diverse and interesting new threats for the group to overcome, and also leads to some pretty amazing looking effects and action sequences. The series also branches out into many new locations thi season, making everything feel fresh and new. This was easily my favorite season yet.

The producers have already allowed the main cast’s contracts to lapse, so it is highly-unlikely that the series will be returning for a fourth season any time in the near future. However, the writers have done an excellent job with providing closure in this third season. Everything comes full circle in the season finale, and it feels like a complete story has been told over the course of these three seasons—though they did throw on a tag at the end fo the finale to leave the door open for more.

This Blu-ray release looks and sounds fantastic. The picture quality is flawless, even in the darker scenes. It remains clear and crisp throughout and the color is captured beautifully. Throughout the season there are some pretty stunning shots during sunsets, and in the final few episodes, there are some amazing looking shots all in red and all in blue. The audio track is also quite impressive. The dialogue is clear, the soundtrack sounds excellent, and the surround and stereo channels are well-utilized to provide an immersive viewing experience. There was one scene near the end of the season where you can hear the wind pick up all around you, and it really feels like you are right there in the middle of it.

The Blu-ray is also packed with a solid selection of bonus material, including 3 audio commentaries (on the season premiere and the 2-part season finale), a deleted scene, over 35 minutes of cast/creator interview featurettes, and more. The three discs come packed in a standard Blu-ray multi-disc keepcase with a cardboard slipcover.






What’s Included:

Episodes: (7:20:53)

  • All 10 Episodes of the Third Season:
    “Head Games”, “La Reina”, “Protect and Serve”, “Fanglorious”, “Shady Glen”, “Straitjacket”, “La Llorona”, “Rio Sangre”, “Matanzas”, “Dark Side of the Sun”
  • 1080p / Widescreen 1.78:1
  • Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH

Extras:

  • Audio Commentaries
    A solid collection of entertaining and informative commentaries on the season premiere and two-part season finale. The participants provide some nice insight into the production process, breaking the story, the sets, and how certain effects and shots were done. The commentaries provide a nice variety of perspectives and the participants recount a lot of fun behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes.

    • Episode 301: “Head Games” (41:39)
      Executive producers Diego Gutierrez and Carolos Coto.
    • Episode 309: “Matanzas” (45:06)
      Director Joe Menendez, executive producer Carolos Coto and actor Brandon Soo Hoo (“Scott”).
    • Episode 310: “Dark Side of the Sun” (45:00)
      Director Joe Menendez, executive producer Carolos Coto and actor Brandon Soo Hoo (“Scott Fuller”).
  • Season 3 Catch Up (9:24)
    Series creator Robert Rodriguez and executive producer/writer Carlo Coto recap some of the major events of the first two seasons. Play All or select from:

    • The Gecko Brothers (3:42)
      Actors D.J. Cotrona (“Seth Gecko”), Zane Holtz (“Richie Gecko”) join the producers for this look at the characters of Seth and Richie Gecko, and how they and the relationship between them have evolved over the first two seasons.
    • The Fullers (2:13)
      A look at the characters of Kate and Scott Fuller, and the drastic changes they’ve gone through over the course of the first two seasons.
    • Freddie Gonzalez (3:28)
      Actor Jesse Garcia (“Ranger Freddie Gonzalez”) joins the producers for this look at his character and the journey Freddie has gone through during the first two seasons.
  • Featurettes (7:41)
    A series of promotional featurettes with executive producer/writer Carlo Coto. Play All or select from:

    • Carlos Madrigal Returns (2:18)
      Carlo Coto and actor Wilmer Valderrama talk about resurrecting the character of Carlos.
    • Evolution of Kate Fuller (1:38)
      Carlo Coto talks about creating a more evil Kate for season three.
    • Monsters of Xibalba: Itzpa (Llorona) (2:07)
      Carlo Coto talks about episode seven’s ghost story, and the special effects used to bring Llorona to “life”.
    • Monsters of Xibalba: Xibalba 101 (1:37)
      Carlo Coto talks about the Mesoamerican version of Hell.
  • Inside the Episodes (7:24)
    A series of behind-the-scenes featurettes with executive producer/writer Carlo Coto. Play All or select from:

    • Monsters of Xibalba: Cipactli (1:57)
      Coto talks about the Spielberg-inspired fifth episode, plus a behind the-scenes look at creating the Cipactli creature and bringing it to life.
    • Monsters of Xibalba: Skull Keeper (2:04)
      Carlo Coto and Robert Rodriguez discuss creating the third season’s crazy monsters of the week, starting with the Skull Keeper.
    • Monsters of Xibalba: Olmeca (1:18)
      Carlo Coto and actor Zane Holtz talk about the massive Olmeca creature.
    • Season 3 New Characters (2:02)
      Carlo Coto, Robert Rodriguez, and the actors discuss some of the new characters this season—sun god Brasa (Maurice Compte), Lord Venganza Verdugo (Ana de la Reguera), Ximena Vasconcelos (Emily Rios), and old stoner/monster hunter Burt (Tom Savini).
  • Trailers (2:47)
    Play All or select from:

    • Season 3 Trailer (1:46)
    • 60 Second Teaser Trailer (1:01)
  • Season 3 Wrap Up (3:58)
    Carlo Coto recaps the final events of the third season.
  • Season 3 Best Kills (1:26)
    Montage of some of the season’s most memorable kill scenes.
  • When Sex Machines Collide (2:18)
    Jake Busey (“Prof. Tanner/Sex Machine”), Carlo Coto and actor Tom Savini (who played Sex Machine in the original film) talk about the evolution of the character in the series.
  • Evolution of a Fight Scene (2:54)
    Carlo Coto and Robert Rodriguez explain how they created the role of jaguar warrior Zolo specifically for Marko Zaror. The actor talks about the challenges of playing the character, and he and Zane Holtz discuss what it was like working with one another. Plus we get a glimpse behind-the-scenes at their fight rehearsals.
  • Deleted Scene, Episode 309 (1:45)
    A flashback to “Many Moons Ago” where Brasa is peacefully chopping wood at his cabin when his body is taken over by the sun god.

 


Final Thoughts:
 

My Rating
Episodes:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Highly Recommended

From Dusk Till Dawn is a fun, action-packed series that is sure to please fans of either the action or the horror genre. The third season uses more of a monster-of-the-week way to tell this ongoing story, which I found thoroughly entertaining. This format also makes this season an easy jumping in point even for those who haven’t seen the previous seasons. The third season brings the overall story full circle, providing excellent closure for longtime viewers, should this be the series’ final season. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great, and includes a nice selection of bonus material. I highly recommend checking out this release.