Misery (1990) | 4K Blu-ray Review

Kino Lorber is out with another 4K release, and this time it’s a horror fan favorite in 1990’s Misery. We have seen a handful of releases over the years, with each having some negatives. Most recently Scream Factory released a Collector’s Edition in 2017, but Kino is now taking their swing at it. Let’s see if their upgraded 4K hobbles the competition.

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

Misery, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Released By:Kino Lorber
Release Date:October 12th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
Native 4K, 2160/24p 
(3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)

Full HD, 1080/24p 
(1920 x 1080 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from 35mm negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K):
DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
DTS-HD MA 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Packaging:Dual disc snap case w/ slipcover*

*Slipcover may only be available on initial pressing
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

Remastered from a 4K scan of the original camera negatives, Kino Lorber’s presentation of Misery is anything but excellent. First off, it is noticeable the very slightly cropped field of view, as compared to the presentation from Scream Factory’s release, and it’s closer to the original MGM releases. And everything between the edges of the frames is gloriously sharp, detailed and very natural looking. With the exception of a handful of frames which present a softer look, 98% of this film is very sharp, with incredible fine detail revealed in skin (especially those Annie Wilkes close ups), textures of garments on clothing and bed linens and even revealing details in the many items throughout the Wilkes home. Grain is absolutely present, but well formed and very organic looking. Even imagining this film without grain feels like it would detract from the experience.

Now on to color, the movie overall is not a spectacle awash in brilliant colors. The drab, neutral colors of much of the environment are. However where colors are present they definitely get an upgrade, while keeping them very natural. While the older MGM releases were a little warm, the Scream Factory release went the other way with a much cooler/blue tone to the presentation. Kino has brought the color back towards natural, adding life back into skin, white back into snow, and a noticeable subdued vibrancy to Paul Sheldon’s pink shirt. In addition to the enhanced color grade, the whites had more brilliance, especially the daytime snowfall, and black levels were deep, and inky without much crush.

The standard Blu-ray in this set is also quite good, using the best of the format’s capabilities to preserve what it was able to from the 4K presentation. Overall it stacks up well to comparable 1080p discs.

Video Score (4K): 4.7 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.5 / 5

Audio Review:

Onboard we have the 5.1 surround and original 2.0 stereo mixes. The mixes do sound similar if not the same as what we have received on past releases, including the one from Scream Factory. Fans of the film know this is a very front heavy presentation. While I enjoyed the slightly wider soundstage of the 5.1 mix, with its wider soundstage, and light use of atmospheric elements, my preference was actually for the 2.0 stereo mix. It sounded more natural for a film primarily focused on the dialog and interplay between the two main characters, and presented clear articulated speech along with music and ambiance with great ease. While the LFE channel is present in the surround mix, it is very limited. As such the bass presented in the 2.0 mix is more than sufficient for the auditory experience.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.3 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

Features for this release, and found mostly on the Blu-ray disc (except for a couple of audio commentaries), is the same list of special features we have seen in past releases, and in the same quality. There are a couple of features missing, such as the interviews with Rob Reiner and Greg Nicotero from the Scream Factory release, and the photo galleries from the international MGM releases, but the rest of the list is present. If you have never seen them, they are definitely worth a watch, but if you already have the Scream Factory copy, you are not gaining anything new.

Packaging is appropriate, with the theatrical artwork adorning the slipcover and case. In typical Kino Lorber fashion, the discs are adorned with the standard black and gray “KL” across the face and white writing on the surface. What you would expect from a Kino Lorder release, but nothing exceptional that I would excitedly show off.

Features Score: 3.8 / 5


Here’s the thing. If you are a fan of this film and you want the best version, you need to have this release for its superior picture quality alone. If you own the Scream Factory Blu-ray release, you could sell that to help offset the $25-27 asking price (as of publication). The audio and features are nothing new, so if you would be basing your decision off of getting more on the discs, you would be disappointed on that front. Overall this is the best release of the film currently available.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

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

Summary and Overall Scores:

From a visual standpoint alone Kino Lorber one-upped all other releases of this film. Is it perfect? No. There are still a couple of soft moments and a very small amount of speckling here and there, but it’s definitely up there. While we got nothing new on the audio front, the original stereo mix is more than enough to carry this film. The only real miss was nothing new on the special features front and even losing a couple of features from the Scream Factory release. Overall that’s what held it back from a top tier score, but it’s still excellent.

Experience Score**: 4.5 / 5  (Excellent)

** 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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