Discover the Unsettling Atmosphere of This Italian Horror Classic
Phenomena [Two-Disc 4K UHD Standard Edition]
Genre: Crime, Horror, Mystery
Year Released: 1985, Synapse 4k UHD 2023
Runtime: 1h 56m, 1h 50, 1h 23m (three different versions)
Director(s): Dario Argento
Writer(s): Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicolodi, Patrick Bauchau, Dalila Di Lazzaro
Where To Watch: Available for pre-order now, releases March 14, 2023, www.synapsefilms.com
RAVING REVIEW: PHENOMENA, Dario Argento's horror masterpiece, has been remastered in 4K Ultra HD and Dolby Vision, making it an absolute treat for horror lovers. The film's blend offers viewers a surreal atmosphere that differentiates it from other horror movies. I’ll be the first to admit that some of Argento’s films haven’t hit home with me; however, I can now say this is my favorite easily!
The movie's mystery is not your run-of-the-mill whodunit, but rather, the real mystery lies in figuring out who the hero of the story is. The story centers around Jennifer Corvino, played by Jennifer Connelly, a young girl with an unusual gift. When a killer starts hunting down people at her Swiss boarding school, Jennifer teams up with Dr. John McGregor, played by Donald Pleasence, to stop the murderer in Pleasence’s most memorable role for me outside of Halloween. The film's cinematography is breathtaking, especially in this 4k transfer. The music, featuring tracks from Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Goblin, is outstanding (the score screams Italian horror and 80s slasher mixed into one.) Connelly's performance as Jennifer is remarkable, and her eyes convey a sadness and mystery that adds to her melancholic visage.
PHENOMENA's storyline may be a little run-of-mill, but as a fan of 80s horror, it felt right in my favorite subgenre. I’ve read some reviews that target the visual effects of the film. One reviewer said, "the effects don’t hold up to modern movies, and I couldn’t enjoy the film because of that.” Still, the movie's artistic techniques, visual sets, and enjoyable characters set the tone and create a haunting atmosphere that captures the viewer's attention.
While PHENOMENA may not be the scariest horror film out there, it still has moments of suspense. As mentioned, the soundtrack is exceptional, although there are a few instances when the heavy metal background music doesn't match the scene. As I watched it, the music was so intense and out of place that it gave off an eerie feeling, so in the end, it may have been intentional.
My only issue with the film is that I don’t think I found the “correct” audio track for myself. There is an incomplete English track because the original Italian uncut version wasn’t ever entirely done in English. However, the Italian audio track dubs over the English-speaking actors; this was a “me” problem. Once I got into the film, the little bit of Italian wasn’t distracting, so I went with the whole English audio track; I watched with subtitles on anyway. I traditionally try to watch films in their native language, but this still felt natural for the most part.
PHENOMENA is a captivating Italian thriller that delivers a unique horror experience. Jennifer Connelly's performance is remarkable; cinematography and music set the tone and create a haunting atmosphere. Dario Argento's passion for filmmaking shines through every scene. For horror fans, PHENOMENA promises a thrilling experience.
- 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray™ presentations in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
- 4K restorations of all three versions of Phenomena, including the original Italian version (116 mins.), the International cut (110 mins.), and the U.S. Creepers cut (83 mins.)
- Lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 stereo soundtracks on the international version, derived from the original 4-channel Dolby Stereo elements
- Rare alternate DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo mix on the international version, featuring different sound effects and music cues
- Lossless Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 stereo soundtracks, derived from the original 4-channel Dolby Stereo elements
- Lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono and 2.0 'stereo music version' soundtrack on Creepers, mastered from the original 3-track DME magnetic mix
- Lossless “hybrid” English/Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the hybrid soundtrack
- Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
- U.S. theatrical trailer and radio spots for Creepers
- Audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of Murder by Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento (in Italian Version)
- Audio commentary on the international version by Argento scholar and author Derek Botelho and film historian, journalist, and radio/television commentator David Del Valle
- Of Flies and Maggots, a feature-length 2017 documentary produced by Arrow Films, including interviews with co-writer/producer/director Dario Argento, actors - Fiore Argento, Davide Marotta, Daria Nicolodi, and others
- The Three Sarcophagi, a visual essay by Arrow Films producer Michael Mackenzie comparing the different cuts of Phenomena
- “Jennifer” music video, directed by Dario Argento
- Slipcover/o-card with beautiful artwork from artist Nick Charge
- Reversible cover with original Italian Phenomena artwork
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[photo courtesy of SYNAPSE FILMS]