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


Second Sight Films is out once again with a limited edition release for another modern cult thriller, this time in the form of The Guest. Sporting a load of new features, an all new color grade, and strong following for the low budget (but not low quality) film, let’s check out the details and see if this premium-priced release is worth adding to your collection.


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

The Guest, Limited Edition 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Compact Disc
Released By:Second Sight Films
Release Date:October 25th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K:
Upscaled* 4K, 2160/24p

BR:
Full HD, 1080/24p

*unconfirmed
Digital Intermediate (DI):2K* (from digital RAW)

*unconfirmed
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (MEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K/BR): 
DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Subtitles:English SDH
Packaging:Rigid slipcover with 3-disc digipack*
Booklet
Art cards
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region B (locked)

Video Review:

The original Blu-ray release back in 2015 sported a fairly decent quality transfer. In terms of quality of this release, while I suspect this was originally captured at 2.8K, it is unclear at the time of this review the resolution of the digital intermediate used. Regardless, the 4K presentation here definitely reveals more than the 1080p presentation, with fine detail in skin, hair and clothing all seeing a nice uptick, and scenery, both indoors and out, showing sharp and crisp edges and nuance in textures. There is a bit of softness here and there, but it appears more to be based on the capture focus and not from handling in post. That said the softness is fleeting and barely noticeable except under critical examination. Overall this is another excellent presentation on the detail from Second Sight Films, very similar to their limited edition 4K release of The Babadook.

This was shot digitally, but there is a decent amount of digital film grain applied. It looks natural and is apparent throughout the presentation, but never getting too heavy, and provides an organic film look to a modern digital capture, a stated goal of director Wingard for this new release.

On the color front, Adam Wingard was never overly satisfied with the color grade of the original Blu-ray. So Second Sight Films gave him the chance to go back and make it more in line with his vision. There is definitely a noticeable difference in some areas, with the outdoor daytime scenes being much brighter and with an intentional desaturation, which better reflects the scene at hand. Indoor scenes remain slightly warm and punchy, with the finale scene being the most colorful. While Halloween dance is certainly ripe with color it is also the least different from the Blu-ray with both having a solid color palette contrasting with the darkness and mystery of the action. That said, the color grade for other elements, such as Anna’s waitress uniform, or the neon lights in the bar fight scene, all come with a bit more life but without being unnatural.

The included Blu-ray (Region B) is also sourced from the same re-work, but some of the colors in some scenes, especially the outdoor scenes have a lower level of visual impact and brightness. Overall it’s still excellent on the detail front.

Video Score (4K): 4.7 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.4 / 5

Audio Review:

The audio mix on both discs sounds the same as was used on the previous Blu-ray. While I always welcome the more expansive sound of a well-used object based mix, this movie would have only had a few scenes that would have benefited as most of the action lasts only a fraction of a time of the dialog driven build-up.

That said, the mix here is very good, with clean and clear dialog up front, and a good use of surrounds to drive the more immersive aspects. The soundtrack, which features prominently, but not overtly distracting, is well presented with clarity and authority when needed. For LFE, this is not sub-buster, but the bass is definitely present when it needs to be with punch coming through in gunfire, and solid bottom end provided to the musical features.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.4 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

Second Sights’ past limited edition releases have all delivered on the special features front, and this one is no different. There is a deep list of new features, as well as ported features from the past Blu-ray. From a new audio commentary from the director and the writer, a host of interviews from individual actors, to director of photography, producers, production designers, composer and more, more deleted scenes and outtakes (which also include optional commentary), the list of fan-benefiting and insightful content is all here and very well done. In particular I enjoyed hearing the new audio commentary as it includes a new perspective from Wingard on the movie since it gained a cult following. A very refreshing experience which is typically not afforded to most other releases. Top that all off with the soundtrack on a separate CD and there’s a lot here to enjoy.

The packaging is also excellent, with new eye-catching custom artwork on the rigid slipcover, as well as on the interior case and book. The book consists of over 160 pages of written essays, interviews, behind the scene photos and more, and as is typical of Second Sight and other boutique distributors, we get some art cards. As usual, I typically do more than look through them, but I think I would miss them if they stopped including them.

The Guest, Physical special features

Features Score: 4.9 / 5

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

At a normal price, this would be a no-brainer purchase, but there’s always the value aspect to focus on. This is not an inexpensive set, coming in at around £50 in the U.K. Top that off with shipping and you could be looking at $75-$80 to have this in hand. That’s a lot of money for a single movie release, no matter how premium. That said, it’s a very well done set, with beautiful artwork, a ton of great features and a top notch visual presentation paired with an enjoyable audio mix. So if your budget supports it, and you love the movie, then pick this up. It is limited to 5000 copies, so it may not be around forever.

That said, if you don’t want to drop that kind of money, there are rumors that Second Sight may be dropping a standard edition release as well, much like they did for Dawn of the Dead, which should save you a few dollars more. And if that is too much, you can try your luck at hunting down the U.S. Blu-ray, although it is currently OOP, so the used market may be the only thing in the ballpark.


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: Possibly…

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

Summary and Overall Scores:

Second Sight followed up their excellent The Babadook 4K release with another winner in a the form of The Guest. The cult fan base of this film would absolutely love this release with its stronger detail and color grade, and a load of features. However, it is a pricey import, so that alone may keep the U.S. market waiting for a standard edition release.

Experience Score**: 4.6 / 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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