The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 114 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alice Braga, Colin O’Donohue, Ciaran Hinds, Rutger Hauer
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Music by: Alex Heffes
Written by: Michael Petroni
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 17, 2011
"You can only defeat it when you believe"
Inspired by true events, this supernatural thriller follows a seminary student (Colin O’Donoghue) sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in spite of his own doubts about the controversial practice and even his own faith. Only when sent to apprentice with legendary Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who has performed thousand of exorcisms, does his armor of skepticism begin to fall. Drawn into a troubling case that seems to transcend even Father Lucas’s skill, the young seminarian glimpses a phenomenon science can’t explain or control – and an evil so violent and terrifying that it forces him to question everything he believes.
The Rite is based on the book, The Rite: The making of a modern exorcist, by Matt Baglio and is partially based on the experiences of real life exorcist Father Gary Thomas. I find that with supernatural horror films it is essential that the elements contained within the story allow us to identify with it on a level that successfully draws us in prior to unleashing the evil required to generate chilling suspense and terror. I didn’t have that experience with this film. Michael Kovak the young priest in training and central character was uninteresting and the vagueness of his back story failed to provide any viable connection to him or the story. The first act moved slowly and the characters introduced in the second were underdeveloped which essentially left me not caring about them. This included Father Lucas Trevant (Hopkins), the exorcism specialist that Michael travels to Italy to learn from. Things do pick up near the end of act two although much of what occurs is the demonic possession type stuff we have all seen before. The third act offers a series of horror clichés and dramatic hokum but not much else. Anthony Hopkins is solid of course but the script gives him little to work with. Alice Braga and Rutger Hauer unfortunately don’t get enough screen time to be a factor and Colin O’Donohue’s performance in the lead would best be described as wimpy. Casual viewers might find The Rite to be decent popcorn fodder but discerning horror film fans will probably be put to sleep.
The rating is for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images and language including sexual content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Rite comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn’t diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are exquisitely detailed and sharp with discerning depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a clean, pristine quality that enhances dimension and offers a looking through a window effect.
This is a decent lossless audio soundtrack. Being a film that is driven by elements of horror and suspense it surprisingly makes primary use of the front soundstage. Vocal reproduction is tonally descriptive and full bodied which adds depth and audible texture to spoken dialogue. While it doesn’t make aggressive use of the surround platform, high level detail and extended dynamic range combine to invigorate the sounds/effects during several sequences. Low frequency effects are room energizing as the film’s frightening elements are accentuated but palpably deep bass. Low level detail and off camera cues are reproduced with enriching clarity and pinpoint imaging. On a number of occasions I found myself completely immersed in this well executed audio presentation.
- (HD) The Rite: Soldier of God – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Alternate ending
- (HD) Deleted scenes – 12 minutes
- BD-Live enabled
- Bonus DVD/Digital Copy of The Rite
Based on the book, The Rite: The making of a modern exorcist, by Matt Baglio, The Rite is a slow moving and formulaic horror film that falls into the isn’t bad but isn’t good category. True genre fans will find it unaffecting but on a dark rainy night with plenty of popcorn it might be passable. It makes its way onto Blu-ray via a technically satisfying offering from Warner Home Video that features excellent audio/video quality, a limited supplements package, and a bonus DVD/Digital copy in case you want to take it on the go. If you’re curious it’s worth a rental.
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