Infinity Entertainment // 2009 // 158 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // May 27th, 2009
"It's a dark secret that lay buried for two thousand years..."
Welcome to CSI: Antiquity. Not quite, but if you mistook Tomb Detectives as an action show from the moody theme music, X-Files typeface on screen, and 24-style split screens, the people behind it would call their job well done. Tomb Detectives is a six-part documentary series on archaeology, but it makes things more exciting by focusing on bizarre cases involving murder, vampirism, and plague.
The six episodes include:
* "Severed Skull"
A skull in Northern England might have been a head on a stick during Roman times. Scientists test oxygen levels to find out where the skull lived when it was attached to its person.
* "Battlefield of Bones"
More headless bodies are found, this time in a mass grave in northern France. The clues point to battle rituals.
* "Bog Bodies"
A well-preserved man with a noose around his neck is found in Denmark. Similar bodies are found in bogs in Germany, Holland, and Ireland.
* "Child Mummies"
Mummified children, infants, and fetuses in Chile may provide clues about an arsenic threat today.
* "Vampire Graves"
Skeletons that were, um, rearranged are found in Connecticut and in the Czech Republic. Vampire fears are suspected.
* "Plague Mummies"
In Hungary and the Sudan, mummified bodies could hold clues to ancient plagues.
I wasn't impressed by two episodes about headless bodies in a row, to say the least. My first impression was that there's a certain sameness about these stories, and that is correct to an extent. They all have a bizarre hook but evolve into portraits of scientific research. However, the producers do try to keep things lively. First of all, Tomb Detectives is only about a half-hour long, keeping out padding. Also, some scenes, such as the reassembly of a skeleton, are fast-forwarded to speed things along. There's some breathless narration -- and every find is going to be "disturbing" or something like that -- but the hyperbole is kept to a minimum. Thus, after the first two, things get interesting and stay there.
The recent production has clear pictures and sound.
There aren't any extras, so anyone looking for more will be disappointed.
If you read over those episode descriptions above and they sound interesting, this is up your alley. I'm not sure of repeat viewing potential, but the price at Amazon.com -- under $15 -- is right.
Not guilty. Now where did I put the garlic?
Review content copyright © 2009 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Infinity Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 158 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site