Others (The) (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Studio Canal
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (13th April 2014).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Screen sensation and Oscar® winner Nicole Kidman (Best Actress 2003, The Hours) delivers an utterly unforgettable performance in this scary and stylish suspense thriller. While awaiting her husband's return from the war, Grace (Kidman) and her two young children live an unusually isolated existence behind the locked doors and drawn curtains of a secluded island mansion. Then, after three mysterious servants arrive and it becomes chillingly clear that there is far more to this house than can be seen, Grace finds herself in a terrifying fight to save her children and keep her sanity.

Acclaimed by critics everywhere, the unpredictable twists of and turns of this compelling hit will keep you guessing as it keeps you riveted to the edge of your seat.

Video

Studio Canal have released "The Others" onto Blu-ray in the United Kingdom at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is 1080p and uses an AVC MPEG-4 encode. The biggest question to ask about this transfer, is how much of the softness is intentional and integral to the feel of the film, and whether or not Studio Canal have provided the intended look.

Well, in my opinion, it has for the vast majority. As intended, colours are quite subdued throughout and skin tones look natural. A hazy and misty feel envelops the transfer for vast swathes, and although this has been done to add to the atmosphere, one can't help but think it has not had the desired effect on some of the blacks, which comes across as too soft and have a tendency to crush a little. These hazy effects and soft blacks also means that the shadow detail isn't always quite up to scratch, and comes across as a little clunky. Still, facial close-ups look absolutely sensational, with every little contour and wrinkle looking perfect. Hair and clothing also looks well detailed, though some of the clothing does endure a rare bit of aliasing. There are some minor specks in the print here and there, particularly noticeable at the 15-17 minute mark, but apart from this, it looks relatively clean. The transfer is hard to judge, as most of the problems are a result of the stylistic choices, but overall, it's a solid attempt and nothing that will cause much disappointment.

The feature runs 104:24.

Audio

Studio Canal have provided a single audio option here; English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. As to be expected, it's an atmospheric affair that makes good, yet subtle, use of the surrounds. For long periods, it can be very front heavy (not including the score), but the rears and LFE rise to the occasion when the feature calls for it - most notably for some of the loud rattles and bangs in different rooms of the house from the current shot. Dialogue can be a little mumbled at times, like when Kidman comes across her husband in the fog outside the house and is crying into his shoulders, but is generally consistent. There are no issues with background hiss, and I noticed no signs of damage such as scratches or drop outs. A solid track, but it could have been a little more immersive.

Optional subtitles are included in English for the hard-of-hearing.

Extras

The extras start with a featurette entitled "A Look Inside The Others", which is a making-of running 21:56. This is an interesting featurette, and although it doesn't really divulge anything in-depth, it's interesting to hear director Alejandro Amenábar talk about how he uses atmosphere and silence to give the film a creepy feel. Other cast and crew members are also on hand to offer some sound bites, and talk about the characters and working with each other.

Next up, we have a featurette called "Zeroderma Pigmentosum: The Story of a Family Dealing with the Disease" (8:57). It should be noted that the featurette is incorrectly titled, as the disease is called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (or XP for short). Anyway, this is a welcome addition to the extras package in which a family discuss how they live, considering their daughter has the disease, which is an allergy to light. It's informative and eye-opening.

The final featurette is simply titled "Visual FX" and looks at the visual effects in the movie. Running 4:29, it's a narration and dialogue free affair which shows several shots as they undergo visual effects process against blue screen to help add the misty effects and digital fog. The before and afters are certainly interesting to see, but it could've been more informative.

Finally, we get a theatrical trailer (1:43) and a teaser trailer (0:32), available under a single play-all trailers option.

Overall

The Film: A- Video: B- Audio: B Extras: D+ Overall: B-

 


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