The Witch: Subversion Blu-ray Review

A high school student with amnesia tries to uncover what has happened to her. All leading her into deeper troubles ultimately revealing a darkness she could not have imagined. Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Witch: Subversion from Well Go USA.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

88

Details:

Studio and Year: Well Go USA – 2018
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 126 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): Korean DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio
Subtitles: English
Starring: Kim Da-Mi, Jo Min-Soo, Choi Woo-Sik, Go Min-Si, Park Hee-Soon, Da-Eun
Written & Directed by: Hoon-jung Park
Music by: MOWG
Region Code: A

Release Date: March 10, 2020

“Some Things Are NEVER Forgotten”

Synopsis:

“A high school student with amnesia tries to uncover what has happened to her. All leading her into deeper troubles ultimately revealing a darkness she could not have imagined.” – Well Go USA

My Take:

10 years ago, Ja-yoon escaped from a secret government facility in the midst of an inexplicable incident. An old couple finds her alone near death in the woods and takes her in even though she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. She grows up to be a bright high school student and enters a nationally televised audition program to win the top prize and help her struggling family. But as soon as she appears on TV, strange people start appearing in her life and Ja-yoon falls into turmoil as her seemingly ordinary life turns upside down in a blink of an eye.

I knew nothing about The Witch: Subversion going into viewing it but, having read positive things about it, looked forward to seeing what it had under the hood. Korean cinema has its share of solid offerings within this genre and luckily this one is no different. At 2 plus hours its story is a slow burn that plays out in two distinct and very difference acts. I really liked that aspect of the film. The film opens with an unexplained and violent event before nestling into a seemingly ordinary drama about a shy high school aged girl, living with her older adoptive parents, who are having financial and, health difficulties that she wants to try and ease.

Along that route, a few questions surface that lead you to see that there is more to her than meets the eye. Just exactly what that is becomes presented as a bit of a mystery. The answers to that are what act two is about. The abrupt shift in thematic tone is really well done and as the events unfold and escalate, you’re treated to a solid action/thriller that rewards any impatience/frustration experienced in the first hour of the film.

Writer/director Hoon-jung Park knows how to deliver engaging action, well framed characters and solid production elements. I really enjoyed The Witch: Subversion. It is definitely presented as a part one story and leaves the door swinging wide open for a follow-up. I am not sure what the status of that is but, when it comes along, I will be anxious to see what comes next.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

This film contains language, violence and disturbing images.

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.**

Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

The Witch: Subversion comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is a solid looking high definition rendering from Fox that sports plenty of fine detail with sharp edges and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Colors range from warm, vivid and inviting to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Blacks are rich and noticeably deep with a slight boost to contrast that is just enough to give the video a visually dynamic aesthetic without negatively impacting fidelity. Visible detail in low lit scenes/backgrounds isn’t always definitive and I noticed some innate softening however neither proves problematic. I didn’t see any obvious signs of video related artifacts as the video had a pristine and generally pleasing quality.

The high resolution DTS-HD MA surround mix (Korean) delivers the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb. The soundtrack has good dynamic range, and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to derive the most from the film’s recorded elements. The music, coupled with well-integrated discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in the presentation. The low frequency effects channel is frequently active as the subwoofer kicks in during the action to energize the room with palpable bass. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage.

Bonus Features:

  • Trailers

Final Thoughts:

Written and directed by Hoon-jung Park The Witch: Subversion is an entertaining thriller that succeeds due to the total sum of its parts rather than being a wholly gratifying end to end film experience. It comes to Blu-ray from Well Go USA featuring excellent high definition audio/video quality. When you’re up for a dark action thriller/drama The Witch: Subversion is just the ticket, so feel free to toss it in your rental queue, and take it for a spin on Blu-ray.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems