Psychic Experiment appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though not unwatchable, the transfer tended to be mediocre.
Sharpness was a concern. Close-ups and two-shots demonstrated fairly good delineation, but anything wider turned somewhat fuzzy and indistinct. Overall definition remained acceptable but not better than that. No real issues with jaggies or moirť effects occurred, but I saw some edge haloes, and the movie tended to be rather noisy. At least it lacked noticeable source flaws.
Colors were bland. Much of this seemed to stem from visual design, but even so, the hues remained awfully flat, as they lacked much clarity and tended to be mushy and runny. Blacks were drab and somewhat gray, while shadows looked rather dense and opaque. At no point did the image seem better than average for SD-DVD.
At least the filmís Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack proved to be more successful. The soundfield emphasized the forward channels and worked quite well within that realm. The front spectrum was nicely broad and blended together cleanly. The elements remained in the appropriate locations and panned smoothly across the channels
Surround usage tended toward general reinforcement and atmospherics, though the rear speakers came to life pretty well during action or surreal sequences. These channels didnít dazzle, but they brought some life to the mix.
Audio quality always seemed good. Speech was consistently natural and crisp, with no signs of edginess. Music was clean and concise. The score appeared well-recorded and dynamic. Effects also came across as lively and distinctive, and they lacked distortion. Bass response was deep and firm. Overall, the audio was more than fine for the story.
We get a decent set of extras here. These begin with an audio commentary from writer/director/editor Mel House and actors Melanie Donihoo, Reggie Bannister, Debbie Rochon, Shannon Lark and Denton Blane Everett. All sit together for this running, screen-specific chat about cast reactions to the script, characters, story and performances, locations and music, effects, influences and reflections of real life experiences.
The last element proves to be the most informative, as House tells us about how his life impacted aspects of the story. He gets into some brutal experiences and these give us good insight.
Otherwise, this tends to be a spotty track. On the positive side, itís not nearly as messy as expected. At the start, House offers a disclaimer that leads one to believe the commentary will be a crudely-recorded mess, but thatís not the case; itís perfectly clear and not as chaotic as he implies.
But that doesnít make it especially informative, unfortunately. While we do find some nice details Ė like those influences I mentioned Ė far too much of the track simply involves praise from the participants. We hear about everything they like Ė and they like everything. Thereís still enough good material to make the commentary worthwhile, but it can become tedious due to all the happy talk.
A featurette called Burned Guys and Dolls: Behind the Scenes goes for 16 minutes, 49 seconds and includes notes from House, Donihoo, Everett, Rochon, Bannister, Lark, producer/actor James LaMarr, special effects artist Marcus Koch, cinematographer Philip Roy, and actors Natali Jones and Adrienne King. We learn a lit about the filmís development and story, Houseís work on the set, cast, characters and performances, photography and various effects. A few decent notes emerge here, but this is mostly a general promotional piece.
Seven Deleted/Extended Scenes last a total of 17 minutes, seven seconds. A few offer additional gore, but most add some character expansion. None of these do anything to really further story or character issues, so donít expect much from them, though the first throws out some enjoyable gratuitous nudity.
We can view these with or without commentary from House and Donihoo. They tell us a lot about the scene specifics as well as why the sequences got the boot. They offer a chatty take on the material.
The disc opens with ads for Camp Hell, The Hunters, Needle and ďFear.net OriginalsĒ. Also from Lionsgate provides the same promos, and we get the trailer for Experiment as well.
At its heart, Psychic Experiment boasts the potential to become a decent supernatural thriller. Unfortunately, it comes with a mix of flaws that rob it of nearly any effectiveness; itís too erratic and amateurish to succeed. The DVD provides mediocre picture, good audio and a decent set of supplements. Nothing here stands out to make Experiment worth my recommendation.