Relic (The) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Fabulous Films
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (28th June 2015).
The Film

***This is an A/V and Extras review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Come in — if you dare. The opening-night gala for a new exhibit at Chicago's natural history museum is under way. But be advised: something terrifying wants to make sure no one ever leaves.

Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt and James Whitmore star in this effects-packed shocker that gives haunted-house movies a terrific new setting. And the non-human star (brought to head-ripping life by Jurassic Park Oscar® winner Stan Winston) is something no creature fan can let slip by.

"The creature can hold its own with the Alien," writes Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel. "When the last reel begins...the special effects is truly awesome." Let the panic begin.

Video

Independent British distributor Fabulous Films have released the nineties horror movie "The Relic" on to Blu-ray for the first time in the United Kingdom. They offer the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and present the film in 1080p with an AVC MPEG-4 encode.

Now, I am not overly familiar with "The Relic", with just a single previous viewing of the original UK DVD release from Universal to my name. I do however, remember just how dark I found the DVD, and how I liked the fact that director Peter Hyams didn't use too much artificial light, adding to the atmosphere. I know many people won't like the inherently dark appearance of the feature, but it is worth noting that despite the many dark scenes and locations, crush is not a problem. Unfortunately, the darkness does have some negative traits by association. For example, the quality of minor details are quite inconsistent. Light scenes often showcase small facial blemishes and minute fabric intricacies, yet darker scenes can feel overly murky and often flat. Lighter colours seem warm and really struggle to pop. Again though, these issues are not down to the transfer, as much as the original intention. Grain is quite unpredictable, with some scenes revealing a heavier structure than is perhaps expected. The print also has some occasional noticeable specks, though no damage that is particularly noteworthy bar a scratch in the opening against the fire. The encode is decent, with no compression issues, and there wasn't any overly obvious edge enhancement, aliasing, banding, or even Universal's favourite, digital noise reduction. The transfer is a solid attempt for a catalogue title of a mid-nineties horror and is a huge improvement on the DVD, but the possibility for a better release is definitely open.

The feature is uncut and runs 109:52.

Audio

Fabulous Films have given us a single audio option on this release, and although it isn't the 7.1 track found on the American release from Lions Gate, the lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is still a corker. Straight from the start, we have an immediate heavy use of the surrounds and the LFE with the atmospheric score making the most of the sound stage and really capturing the tense nature of the movie. Small subtle effects such as the echoes of the museum are excellent, and footsteps and general environmental noise receive solid channel separation and direction. The effects can make the odd line of dialogue a little quiet, but generally speaking, volume levels are good. There are no issues with the track to speak of, and I can honestly say it is one of the better audio experiences I have had with a nineties horror to date.

There are no subtitles included.

Extras

Nothing at all.

Overall

"The Relic" is a bit of an underrated horror. It's dark and atmospheric, and although the CGI has dated badly, the practical effects are excellent. The transfer is an easy improvement on what has previously been available in the UK, and the audio is a very nice surprise.

The Film: B- Video: B- Audio: A- Extras: F Overall: B-

 


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