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Into the Abyss Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run Time: 107 Mins.
  • Studio: IFC Films/MPI Media Group
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

[amazon-product]B006Z7Z3JA[/amazon-product]

Purchase Into the Abyss on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Documentarian Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) has an uncanny ability to capture all facets of the human experience in his films in such a wide-eyed manner they usually can’t help but captivate one with their subject, whatever that may be. With Into the Abyss he continues his quest to explore all corners of human experience by diving into the story of death row inmates. A triple homicide in Conroe, Texas is the focal point for Into the Abyss‘ story of death row inmate Michael Perry, facing execution in eight days from his appearance in this film. A young man with an off-putting, jovial personality, as a teen, Perry was convicted of and readily admits to killing three people, along with friend Jason Burkett, convicted to life in prison, in order to steal a car. Sadly, he seems to show no remorse at all for his crime.

After starting off the documentary with a “prologue” that sets a tone that feels like Abyss is going to be a 90-minute apologetic plea to save the life of Perry, Herzog quickly switches gears and shifts to the brutal crime scene. Here, however, is where the film begins to lose focus. While Herzog is to be applauded for seeking to tell the story of the victims, as that often gets lost in many of these death row stories, his meandering style leaves the film without any clear purpose or narrative. Herzog drifts from the families of Perry and his accomplice Jason Burkett’s victims, to violent anecdotes of acquaintances of these inmates from around this small Texas town. Herzog even includes the story Jason Burkett’s incarcerated father’s plea to the court during the trial (separate from Perry’s) to not sentence his son to the death penalty.

All of this adds up to a bit of a messy look into a horrific story that could have been told in a much better, tighter manner. Perhaps longer and stronger interviews with both Perry and Burkett with tougher, less softball questions would have been a good starting point.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Like most documentaries, Into the Abyss presents a rather straightforward, realistic presentation. Life-like imagery with a reasonable amount of clean and textured detail mingles with some lesser quality standard definition archival footage for an overall solid presentation in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encodement from IFC/MPI.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The soundtrack is offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) and LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit). While there is little difference between the two, I would still recommended the 5.1 track for the slightly more open sound with subtle atmospherics in the surrounds and a better sense of dynamics.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

Only the original theatrical trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24) is provided on this release.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Into the Abyss is not one of Werner Herzog’s best works, but it still holds a lot of value. It’s a compelling documentary that could have used just a little reworking to make it a little better. With that being said, it’s definitely worthy of a rental.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006Z7Z3JA[/amazon-product]

Purchase Into the Abyss on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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