Darkness, The

WSR Score3.5
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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Thematic elements, some disturbing violence, brief sexuality and language.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Greg McLean
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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In The Darkness, a young son (Mazouz) brings home five mystical stones he found on the family's camping trip to the Grand Canyon. His parents, Peter (Bacon) and Bonny (Mitchell) begin to notice strange things happening in their house. Having wakened dark forces bound to the rocks, the family fights for survival as malicious demons feed on their fears and threaten to destroy them. (Gary Reber)

Special features include nine deleted scenes (HD 09:49), an alternate ending (HD 09:01), upfront previews, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture was digitally photographed and exhibits an engaging color palette with warm and rich hues that are naturally rendered throughout. Both exteriors, such as the scenes in the Grand Canyon and interiors of the family's home, are nicely contrasted. Black levels are deep, with excellent shadow delineation. Resolution is particularly excellent in the Grand Canyon scenes, with fine detail exhibited in the intricate rock formations and the reddish dirt. Interior scenes exhibit good detail in facial features, hair, clothing, and various object textures. The imagery is consistently clear, with no apparent artifacts to mar definition. The saturation of colors are strong and well rendered, even in the darker scenes, with accent lighting and in the more contrasted scenes with the earthy hued rock formations framed against the deep blue sky. As the story progresses, the scenes become darker, with effective black levels. Fleshtones are generally quite natural, even in the darker scenes. Clarity is excellent and the picture quality is quite wonderful throughout, with a production design that varies effectively. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is sonically effective and true to the realism it imparts to both exterior and interior scenes. The soundtrack is nuanced throughout with realistic atmospherics during the Grand Canyon scenes and the initial interior scenes, and intensifies as the haunting progresses in the family's home. Of course, sound effects enhance the intensifying frenzy of the rock demons with all sorts of energized .1 LFE bass sounds. Atmospherics and sound effects are aggressively extended to the surrounds and at times create a wonderful holosonic® soundfield. At times, bass extension is intense and at sub-25 Hz frequencies. Following the initial reserved interior scenes, the sounds excite the building mayhem. The orchestral score is reserved but effective in establishing the mood. The music is spread across the soundstage and extends to the surrounds. Dialogue is consistently intelligible and nicely integrated spatially. This is an effective dynamic soundtrack with the prerequisite sound effects that fully engage the viewer in the horrifically evil proceedings. (Gary Reber)