Sinister appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a positive presentation.
Sharpness was solid. Only a smidgen of softness ever occurred, so the majority of the flick offered strong delineation.
No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. In terms of source defects, I witnessed no specks, marks or other issues, as the Blu-ray gave us a clean transfer.
In terms of palette, Sinister went with a subdued sense of tones. These leaned toward a mix of amber, teal and blue, but nothing that overwhelmed. Within the quiet visual choices, the colors worked fine.
Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows showed appropriate clarity. I felt happy with the image.
Similar thoughts accompanied the fairly good DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Sinister. This wasn’t exactly an action-packed mix, so one shouldn’t expect constant auditory shenanigans. When appropriate, the soundscape kicked to life well, but much of it focused on ambient information and music.
Audio quality worked fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music offered good range and impact, and effects followed suit. These elements contributed fine dimensionality, with strong low-end at appropriate times. All of this led to a worthwhile soundtrack, if not a memorable one.
The disc comes with an array of extras, and we locate two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Scott Derrickson, as he provides a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, various effects, cast and performances, music and sound design, cinematography and various visual choices, and related domains.
At the start, Derrickson relates that he'll leave screenplay topics for the second commentary, and he remains true to his word, as this solo chat focuses almost exclusively on production subjects. This doesn't mean we find a dry track, though, as Derrickson delves into a wide array of filmmaking choices and turns this into an effective discussion.
For the second commentary, we hear from Derrickson and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters, influences, cast and performances, and various production notes.
True to his word, Derrickson largely avoids subjects from his solo commentary, and we find a heavy emphasis on the story/character/cast domains. Derrickson and Cargill form an entertaining pair and make this a lively and informative chat.
Two featurettes follow, and True Crime Authors runs nine minutes, 16 seconds. It includes remarks from Cal State Fullerton Assistant Professor Jason Shepard, Pepperdine University Professor John Struloeff, and authors Steve Hodel and Chip Jacobs.
They discuss aspects of the "true crime" genre. This becomes a pretty good overview, especially due to Hodel's family connection to the subject.
Living in a House of Death spans 11 minutes, 32 seconds and involves Villisca Ax Murder House owner Martha Linn, VAMH guide John Houser, real estate economist Randall Bell, realtor Valerie Torelli, and various VAMH guests.
We get some notes about homes where violent crimes took place here. Some of this seems moderately interesting, but too much of the featurette just feels like an ad for the VAMH.
Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of four minutes, 55 seconds. Most offer minor additions, but we find totally new footage in which Ellison interacts with a problematic neighbor.
Those add a bit of background/depth, but they seem largely superfluous. Not much about the cut footage feels meaningful.
We can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Derrickson and Cargill. They tell us about the sequences and why they cut them. They deliver some useful notes.
The disc opens with ads for Texas Chainsaw 3D, The Last Exorcism, The Possession, and The Haunting in Connecticut. We also get the trailer for Sinister.
When I see Ethan Hawke in a movie, I expect a certain level of quality, even when he appears in the well-worn horror genre. Unfortunately, Hawke cannot redeem Sinister, a slow, fairly pointless tale that fails to deliver any actual scares. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio along with a nice roster of bonus materials. Sinister found a decent audience but I can’t figure out its appeal, as it seems virtually fright-free to me.