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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Frighteners [Blu-ray]


(Peter Jackson, 1996)






Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: WingNut Films

Video: Universal



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: Theatrical: 1:49:52.961  / Director's Cut: 2:02:36.197

Disc Size: 48,506,550,765 bytes

Disc Size: Theatrical: 24,501,086,208 bytes / Director's Cut: 27,483,979,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.79 Mbps

Chapters: 16 / 48

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 13th, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4393 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4393 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
* DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Commentary by Peter Jackson on the Director's Cut version

• Peter Jackson 10th Anniversary Introduction (2:40)

'The Making of Frighteners (3:45:54 - 30 Chapters in 480i)

• Storyboarding (45:39 - in 480i)

Theatrical Trailer (2:03 in 480i)

• My Scenes / D-Box Motion Controls


Bitrates: (Theatrical TOP, Director's Cut BOTTOM)




Description: From Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson (King Kong, The Lord of the Rings) comes this wicked comedy-thriller. Michael J. Fox stars as Frank Bannister a small-town 'ghostbuster' in league with the very spirits he's supposed to be exorcising. The scam works well until a powerful spirit goes on a murderous rampage forcing Frank to find a way to stop the diabolical ghoul in this special-effects-packed supernatural chiller that's so fiendishly entertaining it's frightening! Starring: Michael J. Fox Trini Alvarado John Astin Jeffrey Combs Peter Dobson Dee Wallace Stone Jake Busey Chi McBride Jim Fyfe Directed by: Peter Jackson.



The Film:

The Frighteners is nonetheless first-rate goofy fun, marred only by a rather weak first act and a truly lame denouement (the final five minutes or so seem to have been imported from some other, considerably dumber summer movie...maybe that one with the tornadoes and Helen Hunt running around in a flimsy white tank top...can't remember what it was called...). And get this: the movie actually has a plot. You remember plots, don't you -- those sequences of events that keep you wondering what might happen next? (If you've forgotten, I can't say as I blame you, as it's been quite some time since a film with a budget this big featured one worth paying attention to.)

Excerpt from Mike D'Angelo at the Panix located HERE


With material for a half-dozen different movies here, Mr. Jackson has no trouble keeping "The Frighteners" spinning. Phantoms skitter across the screen in record numbers, and Mr. Fox presides over the story with dependable skill. Ms. Alvarado, looking attractively like Andie MacDowell, is also a welcome presence, but the actors can't keep the film's mood from verging on hysteria as the story roams all over the map. "The Frighteners" has flitted everywhere, even to heaven and hell, before it's over.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Frighteners - one of the last Universal HD-DVD titles to finally make its way to Blu-ray - offers seamlessly branching of the Theatrical and, 12-minute longer, Director's Cut of the film. Unfortunately there is still some prevailing edge-enhancement. Depending on your sensitivity to it you may not find it very distracting as it is less prominent than we have seen in the past. Other than that the image quality looks pretty good with some depth showing with colors and detail a definite notch above SD. Effects show some of their age but I don't think anything - except am egregious flaw - could detract from the film's fun ride. This Blu-ray is probably the best digital rendition to date and fans of the film will warm to that.



















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio track at 4393 kbps is capably robust - able to handle any situation thrown at it by the film's lively effects and Danny Elfman's score. Bass never gets obnoxious but thee is some depth to go along with the screwball-comedy type high end. There are optional subtitles for both version and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Extras appear to duplicate the past digital editions with the Peter Jackson commentary available on the Director's Cut version along with a 2.5 minute introduction by the director (cited as 10th Anniversary - making it 5-years old). The extensive 'The Making of Frighteners - running almost 4 hours was originally found on the LaserDisc, I believe and remains as a thorough examination of every minute detail of production with interview sound-bytes, Bloopers and more. This, like all video extras are in 480i. There is also a 45-minute Storyboarding feature to sate even the most devout fan who doesn't get enough from the 'Making of...' and there is a theatrical trailer included. The disc has My Scenes / D-Box Motion Controls abilities.



Describing this as a 'cute film' is an understatement. It touches many genres with some adept filmmaking style. The Frighteners has a loyal fan-base - and with good reason. The Blu-ray makes for an enjoyable, if imperfect, digital presentation but the pluses outweigh the minuses and it makes for a heap of fun one night in the Home Theater. 

Gary Tooze

September 9th, 2011






About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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