Blu-ray Reviews: ‘Deep Red,’ ‘The Rite,’ ‘The Roommate’ and ‘Vanishing on 7th Street’

Bloody Disgusting’s Toronto-based writer Mike Pereira has sent in a slew of Blu-ray reviews that include the high-def transfer of Dario Argento’s Deep Red, courtesy of Blue Underground. Warner Home Entertainment has just released their exorcism flick The Rite, based on the book that was inspired The Exorcist, which stars Anthony Hopkins. Sony Home Entertainment has released their PG-13 thriller The Roommate that’s said to be one of their better “generic thrillers”. Lastly, inside you can read about Brad Anderson’s panned Vanishing on 7th Street, which various BD writers (including myself) enjoyed more than the masses.
Deep Red

Dario Argento’s first masterpiece, Deep Red makes its highly anticipated debut on the Blu-Ray format. It doesn’t disappoint. Blue Underground continues to be the shining example of how transfers are done. The AVC 1080p video is devoid of digital tampering of any kind. Film grain is intact and colors are richer than ever before. While not a demo of any sort, the detail is a definite step up from previous incarnations. Also, any previous print damage has been painstakingly removed. While the sound design is nothing to rave about, Goblin’s iconic score has never sounded any better than it does here. The DTS-HD sound presents the soundtrack with impressive clarity and richness. Bravo Blue Underground, bravo!

As for supplements, it’s pretty much the same lot found on the previous DVD release. What’ll spike most fans’ attention is the inclusion of the Uncensored English Version and Full-Length Italian Director’s Cut. While both have their merits, I still prefer the tighter English Version. It’s brisk pace and exclusion of the Director’s Cut’s goofier, comedic moments makes for a much more of an involving and intense experience.

Deep Red still holds up as the definitive giallo (Italy’s answer to horror/thriller). Its right up there with Argento’s other crowning achievement, Suspiria. It’s as beautifully crafted and suspenseful as they come. This Blu-Ray simply must join your collection!

The Film: 10/10
Video: 8/10
Audio: 8/10
Supplements: 4/10

The Rite

The Rite is the latest, unnecessary Exorcist rip-off. Every convention of this subgenre is in full display. The film has a gloomy, dull atmosphere which ups the bore factor and kills every half-assed attempt at actual scares or tension. Anthony Hopkins hysterically awful performance is both the best and worst element in The Rite. His over-the-top antics especially during the climax is so preposterous that it must be seen to be believed.

The A/V presentation is more captivating than the film itself. The DTS-HD audio mix is active throughout with some aggressively active moments during the finale.

The “chilling” alternate ending is an overstatement in the truest sense. The collection of deleted scenes is as uneventful as one would expect. The 7-minute featurette containing a focus on a “real life” exorcist is only fascinating if you remotely believe the “inspired by true events” tagline on the cover sleeve.

The Film: 2/10
Video: 8/10
Audio: 8/10
Supplements: 3/10

The Roommate

The Roommate is the epitome of stale. By comparison, it makes Single White Female (the source of inspiration for this turd) look like a work of art. All aspects of this production scream TV movie of the week. The attractive cast is simply just that. The performances are either flat or downright bad. Think of every cliché from the stalker subgenre and you’ll pretty much find them all here. This…um, film is a lifeless, oh so awful, waste of time. Avoid like the plague.

This cinematic atrocity has been given an undeservingly strong A/V presentation. The HD-shot visual are pretty stunning on Blu-Ray. The image is damn sharp. Black levels and colors are pretty gorgeous, as well. The DTS-HD audio mix conveys the pretty generic sound design as clearly as possible. The club and party sequences sound particularly good which should satisfy bass addicts.

The Special Features include the usual self-serving promotional featurettes where cast/crew take turns stroking each other’s egos. The deleted scenes are every bit as insufferable as the final product itself. The only decent thing on this disc is the director’s commentary. It’s a fairly insightful peek into PG-13 Hollywood filmmaking through the eyes of an outsider.

The Film: 1/10
Video: 9/10
Audio: 8/10
Supplements: 5/10

Vanishing On 7th Street

Director, Brad Anderson’s (The Machinist and Session 9) latest genre entry is reminiscent of something out of The Twilight Zone. It’s too bad it isn’t because it doesn’t quite hold up at a feature-length. Vanishing On 7th Street feels like nothing more than a nifty idea. It’s a character-driven sci-fi thriller without any interesting characters to give an ounce about. And yes, the mere presence of thespian, Hayden Christensen only dulls the film all the more. To his credit, Anderson orchestrates moments of creepiness via some nicely executed set-pieces. Also, the visual effects conveying the claustrophic inducing shadows are very impressive for this scale of budget. Ultimately, the whole thing feels underbaked and unsatisfying to recommend.

Vanishing On 7th Street is shot with the Red One camera. It contains a heavily processed, desaturated look. The 1080p AVC transfer is nothing else but faithful to the filmmakers’ intention. Detail is pretty solid but not as overly sharp as you’d expect from an HD-shot title. Thankfully, black levels are deep which only helps to effectively present the shadowy antagonists. The DTS-HD is a notch better than the video. The atmospheric sound design is greatly benefited by the dynamic clarity that only HD audio can provide.

Unfortunately, I’m reviewing the Canadian Entertainment One release which only contains the mediocre Fangoria interviews with Anderson and co-star, Jacob Latimore. Stick to the U.S. Blu-Ray which is packed with features including a director’s commentary.

The Film: 4/10
Video: 7/10
Audio: 8/10
Supplements: 3/10