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Headspace: Director’s Cut Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: AB (No Region C)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 84 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: MVD Visual
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 19th, 2012
  • List Price: $24.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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]

Headspace tells the story of Alex (Christopher Denham, Shutter Island) and his encounter with a mysterious stranger, and its side effects. After said meeting, Alex begins to get smarter and smarter with each passing day. Now, akin to that of numerous other films of this nature, with these improved side effects come….dangerous side effects. Headaches and visions plague Alex at every step. Soon, local unexplained murders are tied to him as well. Now it’s up to Alex to figure out the source of this evil, and whether or not it just may not be of human origin. What results is a somewhat entertaining horror film.

While the overall concept of Headspace really is nothing new, I will admit that the film isn’t entirely bad. The acting is solid, particularly that of Paul Sparks (best known for his role as Mickey Doyle on HBO’s excellent Boardwalk Empire). Outside of Sparks and lead actor Denham, the other cast members never really brought anything to the table that would make one remember them outside of this initial viewing. Minus the acting, I found the overall flow of the film to be quite stylistic. For this to be Director Houten’s 1st film, and for it to be watchable, is impressive in its own right. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t really expect much here as this sounded kind of like a rip-off of Paranormal Activity (which, in its own right, is really a rip-off of other films). But, in the end, if you’re looking for a horror film with a few solid performances, give this one a look.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Shot using Arriflex Cameras, the provided 1:78:1 aspect ratio, AVC MPEG-4 transfer arrives with somewhat lackluster results. The immediate inherit issue lies in the manners in which the film was shot. Dark sequences are awfully (and unnecessarily) tough to make out, so much that detail is frequently lost. In a film of this nature (you know one where they want you to be…ummm….frightened), dark scenes can be used to benefit the horror; however, when scenes are so poorly lit that you literally can’t make out anything, this becomes a huge problem.

Barring this issue, I will say that there are some signs of quality here. The original source is still intact with its heavy grain level. Color timing, contrast levels, and flesh tones (while somewhat toned down) do seem accurate throughout. All in all, this isn’t a ‘bad’ transfer per se. It’s that I just expected more.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Arriving with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track, this does what a lossy offering can do. Dialogue is well reproduced via the center channel, while the film’s atmosphere can vary from scene to scene. The quieter moments, obviously, tend to rely more on the front, while the more ‘scary’ moments open up the field a bit. LFE does offer up a bit of deep low end, thanks in part to the score by Ryan Shore. Even though this is a rather front heavy mix, I found the results to be decent considering the use of a lossy audio codec.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The included supplements are featured in a mix of High Definition and Standard Definition:

  • “Fractured Skulls” The Making of Headspace [SD] – This runs 26:34 and is a fairly solid behind-the-scenes glance into the making of the film. Mixing in interviews with a bit of footage, this is definitely something fans will want to watch.
  • Filmmakers Commentary with Director Andrew Van Den Houten and Cinematographer/Producer William Miller
  • Filmmakers Commentary with Composer Ryan Shore, Editor Elwaldo Baptiste and Makeup FX Artist Jamie Kellman
  • “Headspace Revisited” [HD] – This 21:56 feature is a conversation between Director Houten and Christopher Denham about the film.
  • Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes [SD] – Nearly an hour (53:06) of scenes are shown.
  • Never Before Seen Audition Videos [SD] – Here we get a series of audition videos from various cast members.
  • FX Journal [SD] – This runs 7:13 and shows us the different kinds of makeup used in the film.
  • Production Slideshow [HD] – 2:10 worth of production stills.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Outside of the normal horror genre limitations, Headspace is better than initially expected thanks in part to a few solid performances. MVD Visual’s Blu-ray, on the other hand, is a somewhat mixed bag with a lackluster video transfer and a lossy audio presentation. I do suppose if you’re looking for a well-acted horror movie, give this one a look. Otherwise, I’d say skip this one.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Headspace on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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