The Babadook (2014) | Limited Edition | 4K Blu-ray Review


Boutique U.K. distributor Second Sight Films has been continuing to impress with quality limited edition releases. One of their latest releases is a 2014 film out of Australia and is the directorial debut of writer/director Jennifer Kent. A horror/drama on the surface, the film touches on a myriad of themes with the strongest dealing with the societal stresses of motherhood, grief of loss, and mental illness. While the film was released in the U.S. on standard Blu-ray, this limited edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray package is only available in the U.K. So should fans of the film consider spending the extra money to import this limited edition release?


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Released By:Second Sight Films
Release Date:June 28th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution:4K: 
Upscaled 4K, 2160/24p 
(3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)

BR: 
Full HD, 1080/24p 
(1920 x 1080 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Digital Intermediate (DI):2K from digital RAW
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K): DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), LPCM (48kHz, 24-bit

English (BR): DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), LPCM (48kHz, 24-bit
Subtitles:English, English SDH
Packaging:Dual disc DigiPack
Rigid Slipcover
Art Cards
150 page book
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region B**

** Requires region compatible player

Video Review:

This release is an absolute gem in the higher resolution of the 4K format. The amount of detail extracted in the upscaled 4K picture is remarkable given it was shot digitally. The details revealed in closeups of Amelia’s face, the crispness of the environment of her home and the

While in HDR10 on the 4K version, do not expect an explosion of vibrant colors. It’s just not that kind of movie and the drab/muted colors better reflect the content and theme of the film itself. That said, the colors of the red Mister Babadook book do stand out amongst the seas of blacks, gray and muted colors just a bit more than on the standard blu-ray, but you would really need to compare them side to side to notice the differences.

The overall black levels are very strong on both versions of this film, with the 4K naturally winning out in this category. The blacks are dark, inky and robust when needed without eliminating all detail. That said, there are scenes where certain parts of the picture are intentionally crushed to black, like the dark corner of the room they are in, to hide what lay beyond.

The standard Blu-ray is also quite good in this category, only losing a little bit due to the 8-bit color depth resulting in very subtle color banding on a couple of scenes.

Video Score (4K): 4.7 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.5 / 5

Audio Review:

Both discs feature identical audio tracks including a strong DTS-HD Master Audio track in 5.1 surround and an uncompressed LPCM stereo mix. The surround mix is definitely the way to experience this film. When the Babadook is near the panning of sound around the surround speakers absolutely heightens the suspense and chilling experience of this film.

While it would absolutely have loved an object-based mix, I am not entirely sure it would have really resulted in a track that much surpasses the included 5.1 mix given the nature of the film.

Bass and LFE effects were strong where they needed to be, but not overpowering. The sound of a thunderous knocking on a door, or the low-end rumble as Sam is pulled by a mysterious force up the stairs, absolutely enrich the experience of watching this film. Could it have been stronger? Yes, but not not much more without starting to become distracting. 

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.6 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

It would not be a proper limited edition release without top notch bonus features and packaging. Second Sight does not disappoint. The entire package is encased in a rigid slip cover with custom artwork on both the front and the back. More notably, upon picking up this DigiPack, one would absolutely notice the additional heft. Most of that comes from the included printed hard cover book which contains over 150 pages of essays, production information and stills, history and interviews. While I usually like to page through these over time, I actually could not help myself but read through the entirety of this book. Additionally the package includes 6 beautifully printed art cards.  The movie itself is contained on two discs inside a dual disc case. 

Contents of the Limited Edition packaging

Now that we have talked about the tangible special features, the pile gets deeper as you jump onto the discs. Across both discs you will find numerous, and new, interviews with actors, producers, composer, editor and more. To my delight the interviews are not quick little blurbs, but instead fairly lengthy, in-depth dives with the respective contributors. It also includes several featurettes that take the viewer behind the scenes of the making of the film, the special effects, the stunts and more. We also get a breakdown of one of the memorable scenes of the film. Lastly we also get the audio commentary of the film featuring

The only thing that was missing, and this may not have been any fault of Second Sight, was any interview or commentary from Jennifer Kent, the writer and director of the film.

Editor’s Note: How Essie Davis, and Jennifer Kent, were left out of contention for any awards for this film is still head-scratching.

Features Score: 4.8 / 5

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

OK, so you either own the Blu-ray or are considering buying this movie for the first time. Which do you get/keep?

If you are a fan of this film, have some extra cash, and want to see it in its absolute best form, then you can not go wrong with this version (even with the import shipping costs). If you have never seen the film, and are located in the U.S. you cannot go wrong with the IFC Midnight release of the standard Blu-ray which is much cheaper (currently under $14 as of publication). If you end up enjoying it, you can always double dip in the future assuming this limited edition release is still being produced.


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES (with caveats based on cost)

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

Second Sight has put together an absolutely wonderful package for true fans of this film. The 4K version, in my opinion, is the way to watch this film for existing fans, but the Blu-ray is equally strong in its class. The amount of detail from the original source is impressive, and the 5.1 mix plays a strong companion to the visuals of this film. Special features, both physical and on the disc, absolutely provide a bountiful treat for those who already have enjoyed the film.

Experience Score**: 4.7 / 5 

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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