Rite, The

Featured In Issue 158, July/August 2011

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Mikael Hafstrom
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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The Rite follows a seminary student (O'Donoghue) who is sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in Rome. Initially filled with skepticism, he encourages his superiors to explore the idea of mental illness rather than demons when treating patients. However, he is quickly introduced to a darker side of his faith after meeting an unorthodox priest, Father Lucas (Hopkins), who is known for pushing the darkest edges of his spirituality in the service of God. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurette Soldier Of God, with Father Gary Thomas, the Vatican-ordained exorcist whose life story inspired the film (HD 06:40); deleted scenes (HD 12:39); an alternate ending (HD 01:41); BD-Live functionality; a DVD version; a digital copy; and up-front previews.

The 2.40:1 1080p AVC picture is darkly hued throughout, with impressively deep black levels that border on black crush, and darkly layered shadow delineation. The one brief scene looking down on a snow-white covered burial ground dotted with black umbrellas that frame the grave is dramatic. The overall visual scope is darkness. Still, contrast is nicely balanced, with brighter highlights exhibiting dramatic contrasts against the "blackness," which enhances the sense of dimensionality. Fleshtones are remarkably natural throughout. The color palette is strongly hued with warm tones. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail exhibited in facial features, clothing, and object textures. The overall visual impact creates a dark, foreboding sense of fright that is haunting. The imagery is pristine throughout, with an impressive sense of presence. This is a well-crafted picture that is really satisfying. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack can be characterized as an eerie presence. Creepy sound and atmospheric effects are effectively used to heighten suspense and fright, with a range of tortured screams of the possessed and other supporting sounds that heighten fear. The soundfield at times develops into a vast spatial and immersive space, with aggressive and startling directional effects localized in the surrounds, supported by an eerie ambiance. Sound effects and voices are effectively panned around the soundfield, which heighten the visceral exorcisms. Atmospherics, such as thundering rainstorms, further enhance the sense of space and the underlying suspense and fright. The .1 LFE channel is used effectively to punctuate low-frequency energy. The orchestral and choral music score is effective in suspending disbelief and enhances the overall eerie presence. Dialogue is nicely presented with good spatial integration. This is an impressively effective holosonic® experience that really produces an emotionally charged, frightening experience. (Gary Reber)