In season two of the supernatural crime saga, core relationships deepen and become more complicated as everyone tries to put their lives back on track after one very insane day. Santánico and Richie (living outside of Houston) are now partners in crime, resembling a more modern version of Bonnie and Clyde; Seth and Kate are scraping by as small time criminals south of the border; and Freddie Gonzalez has an almost obsessive focus on protecting his wife and young daughter in the suburbs. Carlos Madrigal and Scott Fuller emerge from the Titty Twister, changed men. They will all come together once again – this time facing off against an even bigger threat.
The El Rey network's flagship show 'From Dusk Till Dawn' certainly has found a niche audience and has done well enough to garner two seasons, plus an upcoming third on the still newborn network. If you're new to this series, 'From Dusk Till Dawn' is based on the hit feature film from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino from twenty years ago that had a younger George Clooney in his first big feature film right after 'ER'. The film was a mix of action and horror where two bank robbing, murdering brothers escape prison, head to Mexico, and come across a rowdy bar full of vampires.
It's still one of the most entertaining and iconic cult films of all time. It went on to spawn a few sequels and now this television series. Unfortunately, the first season is basically the same exact story line as the first film, but spread across ten episodes. There are some good moments for sure, but it's largely the same story and characters, where you wish you were just watching the movie again. That being said, the production and effects (both practical and CG) are fairly top notch in the series, and there were glimpses of the origins and mythos of these vampires and monsters, which we got to take a look at.
That's where the first season excelled, and in Season Two, we get to explore more of that history, along with some blood, guts, monsters, and some fairly all too familiar political statements. The opening of each episode shows a montage of what basically happened since we last saw Season One, which was the newly gained freedom of Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez), as she talks about herself teaming up with the Gecko brothers to take out the big bad vampires and crossing borders to the United States from Mexico. It's as if they were trying to say in so many words that immigration is happening now and nobody can stop it, but instead of humans crossing the border, it will be monsters and vampires. It's a bit tongue in cheek, but none-the-less, the undertones are there and the beginning of each episode no less.
In addition to Santanico Pandemonium's freedom of being the dancer at the Titty Twister and bringing in the unfortunate people to be slaughtered, she is now free to seek revenge from lead villain this season, Lord Amancio Malvado (Esai Morales). With these vampires that are reptilian in nature, Santanico, Richie, and Seth try to take out the big bad vampire clan along with Kate and Scott Fuller. Richie seems to have some issues he's dealing with in the form of being a vampire, while Seth is dealing with his relationship issues. Richie also is having trouble staying in reality versus his hallucinations, which give some insight into his psyche and history of the vampires.
The series works best when it stays on point with the main story arc, and not going off on tangents with silly plot lines. This season gives us a bit more information on the whole mythology of the vampire races and just what they're after, as well as some much needed new character development with these characters. The final episode sure does leave on a fun cliffhanger, and promises more brutality and entertainment for next season. And yes, this second season has the same amount if not more blood and guts than season two, so you gore-hounds will be satisfied.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'From Dusk Till Dawn: Season Two' comes with three 50GB Blu-ray Discs that are Region A locked from Entertainment One. There are extras on Disc and Three of the set, but no extras are on Disc Two. There are also no inserts or digital download codes. The discs are housed in a hard blue plastic cast with a cardboard sleeve.
'From Dusk Till Dawn: Season Two' comes with a good 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This video presentation is very similar to Season One. The detail is quite sharp and vivid throughout, even in the lower lit scenes and in the exterior shots at night. The CG effects look good and are quite sharp as well, even when vampires burn up or explode. Each facial feature, including wrinkles, excellent makeup effects, wounds, blood and guts, and individual hairs show up nicely. Wider shots also offer up a good bit of detail as well, giving this second season some visual depth.
Again, like Season One, the colors seem to pop off the screen, however there are a ton of scenes that are hued in yellow or green to give that darker and grimier tone. That being said, the detail isn't affected too much with this aspect, although there are a few minor issues here and there with softness and video noise. Black levels are strong and inky and the flesh tones when not color graded are natural. There were no other compression problems to report, leaving this video presentation with good marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 MA mix and might be even better than Season One. This was a fully immersive track, especially in the bigger action sequences, which packed a strong punch. The sound effects are loud, robust, and lively at all times. The directionality here is excellent and every scary sound, howl, explosion, and gunshot is quite powerful. You'll be immersed in the center of the action for sure here. The ambient noises of the vampires and other monsters alike sound terrifying and clear when in the distance as well.
The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and high shrills. The score and music always adds to to the entertainment value here and fits perfectly in with the type of show this wants to be, without drowning out any other sound aspect. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is wide, leaving this audio presentation with great marks.
Audio Commentary - There are two commentary tracks on two episodes here, one being the first episode of the season titled 'Opening Night' and the other being the last episode of the season, titled 'Santa Sangre'. The cast and crew, including Robert Rodriguez are all present here and discuss the themes, characters, and story arcs for season two. There are some fun stories from the set and some laughter. If you're a fan of the show, you'll enjoy these commentaries, even if there are seven people talking.
After Dusk: Inside the Episode (HD, 17 Mins.) - This has small recaps and a brief summary of each episode of Season Two.
Behind the Scenes Featurettes (HD, 25 Mins.) - There are 14 very short featurettes here that cover the cast, crew, production, makeup, direction, and even Jake Busey. Enjoy.
2015 NYC Comic Con Panel (HD, 45 Mins.) - Here is the Q & A with Robert Rodriguez, D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza González, Jesse Garcia, and Madison Davenport at the NYC Comic Con where they answer fan questions.
'From Dusk Till Dawn: Season Two' finally stands on its own two legs from the first season and first film, giving us a ton of background and historical information on the mythos of these vampires and their folklore. There are some fun bad guys and still some fairly excellent practical effects work as well as CGI. Again, the series works best when the main story plot is kept front and center and not going off on long tangents of other side arcs. That being said, the show creators do their best to keep everything flowing smoothly. This show is getting slowly better with each season so far. Let's hope they can keep it up. The video and audio presentations are both great and the extras are gun to watch. This second season is recommended for sure.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.