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Paramount Scares Vol. 1 — Sweeney Todd (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A vengeful barber with a taste for killing returns to his home in Victorian London to take revenge for a wrongful conviction that cost him his family.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street arrives on 4K Ultra HD for the very first time as part of the Paramount Scares Vol. 1 collection, marketed as having a “secret” title, which turned out to be Sweeney Todd. It was in fact one of the worst kept secrets as the rumor mill online had been speculating it would be this exact title.

A macabre and gory musical directed by Tim Burton based on the stage musical of the same name, the film stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alan Rickman. Depp plays the titular character who, in Victorian London, returns to the city seeking revenge upon the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) who falsely charged him with a crime to steal his beautiful wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). Desperate, Lucy poisons herself and leaves behind Sweeney’s and her young daughter, who ends up as a ward in Turpin’s home as he waits for her to come of age and take her as his bride. Meeting up with a meat pie bakery owner Mrs. Lovett (Carter), Todd forms a sinister partnership with thew smitten woman and begins slashing his way through the elite men of London to get his blades on the throat of Judge Turpin.

Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical comes alive with terror on the big screen courtesy of Burton’s direction and visual aesthetic. Feeling more like a film made for the screen than an adaptation, the grimy mise en scéne, the nearly black and white color palette, and the visceral gore that is not held back create a believable, downtrodden, and frightening world. The production and costume designs are intricate and eye-catching, even with the limited color palette. The Gothic frock donned by Carter, and vest and trousers worn by Depp – they both add just the right dose of wickedness.

  • Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
  • Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohen in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
  • Sacha Baron Cohen in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
  • Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
  • Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
  • Paramount Scares Vol. 1 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
  • Paramount Scares Vol. 1 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
  • Paramount Scares Vol. 1 (Paramount Home Entertainment)

The Video

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was originally shot on medium and fast speed Kodak Vision2 200T 5217 and Vision2 500T 5218 35mm film stock. A 2K digital intermediate was used to master the film. Paramount has given no indication that a new master was created from the original camera negative. All indications are it is upscaled for this release to 4K. That said, this release looks fantastic. The 1.85:1 HEVC 2160pm (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement presents the film with pristine clarity, no noise or other egregious anomalies. The color palette, so desaturated it looks nearly black and white, has brilliant contrast with inky blacks and bright whites, which have extra ‘pop’ thanks to the Dolby Vision grading. Colors and light sources have good specular highlight ‘pop,’ although due to the production choices they do not have that 3D appearance. In all, however, this is reference material that has the film looking as good or better than it ever has.

The Audio

The film keeps its English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix for this release. While standard TrueHD surround mixes are rare these days – TrueHD usually popping up as the core for Atmos – the lossless sound is still top level. The musical score and vocals are encompassed by natural reverberant atmospherics and the surround channels carry a lush amount of reverberation. The dynamic range and frequency response does not sound as wide and realistic as the best high-res orchestral recordings, but it still works well for this film.

The Supplements

This 4K release of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is part of the Paramount Scares Vol. 1 collection. The collection has the following bonus features:

  • Collectible Slipcovers for each film
  • Sticker Sheet
  • Logo Enamel Pin
  • Special Fangoria Paramount Scares Edition.

The on-disc extras for Sweeney Todd are all from previous Blu-ray releases and cover a range of topics concerning the production.

Sweeney Todd Bonus Features (On Included Blu-ray):

  • Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd (1080i; 00:26:08)
  • Sweeney Todd Press Conference, November 2007 (SD; 00:19:42)
  • Sweeney Todd is Alive: The Real History of the Demon Barber (1080i; 00:20:08)
  • Musical Mayhem: Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (1080i; 00:12:05)
  • Sweeney’s London (1080i; 00:16:17)
  • The Making of Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (SD; 00:24:03)
  • Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition (1080i; 00:19:16)
  • Designs for a Demon Barber (1080i; 00:08:56)
  • A Bloody Business (1080i; 00:08:53)
  • Moviefone Unscripted with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (SD; 00:11:36)
  • The Razor’s Refrain (1080i; 00:08:40)
  • Photo Gallery (1080p)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:33)

The Final Assessment

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is one of the best big screen adaptations of a musical. Its visual elements and music are all presented with excellent clarity on this “secret” 4K Ultra HD disc. There is no standalone 4K release of this film at the moment, so if you want it, do go out and get the Paramount Scares Vol. 1 collection, which also has 4K releases of Pet Sematary (1988), Crawl (2019), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and Smile (2022).


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is out on 4K Ultra HD October 24, 2023 as part of the Paramount Scares Vol. 1 collection from Paramount Home Entertainment.


  • Rating Certificate: R (for graphic bloody violence)
  • Studios & Distributors: Dreamworks Pictures | Warner Bros. | Parkes/MacDonald Image Nation | The Zanuck Company | Dombey Street Productions | Tim Burton Productions | Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Written By: John Logan | Hugh Wheeler | Christopher Bond
  • Run Time: 116 Mins.
  • Street Date: 24 October 2023 (As part of the Paramount Scares Vol. 1 collection)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English Audio Description
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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A vengeful barber with a taste for killing returns to his home in Victorian London to take revenge for a wrongful conviction that cost him his family.Paramount Scares Vol. 1 -- Sweeney Todd (4K UHD Review)