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THE RITE

Without too many jolts, THE RITE ($36) is a fairly clinical horror movie that looks at exorcism from the point of view of a skeptic, who finds himself thrust into the midst of the supernatural. While some will find the material a bit too antiseptic for a typical horror offering, THE RITE does feature the redeeming presence of Sir Anthony Hopkins, who elevates the film with anther terrific performance as the world-weary priest, and requisite expert on exorcism, that provides the young skeptic with a firsthand introduction to real evil. THE RITE stars Colin O'Donoghue as Michael Kovak, who enters the seminary as a means of escaping from the family mortuary business and getting himself a free college education. Upon completing his education, Michael announces his intention resign to his superior, before taking his final vows. However, his superior takes a hard line with Michael, who finds himself facing the possibility of having to repay $100,000.00 student loan if he leaves the seminary immediately.

As something of a "way out" Michael agrees to travel to Rome and attend a course on exorcism before making a final decision to walk away from the priesthood. In Rome, Michael attends the course on exorcism, but his innate skepticism towards the material leaves him continually questioning his instructor Father Xavier (Ciarán Hinds). Father Xavier recognizes that the classroom will do nothing to change Michael’s mindset, so he decides that his student would be better served by some practical experience… so he sends Michael to see his old friend Father Lucas (Hopkins), an experienced exorcist. Shortly after arriving on Father Lucas’ doorstep, a pregnant sixteen-year-old girl also arrives at the elder priest’s home, and discovers that she is the subject of an ongoing exorcism. Even when presented with evidence of the supernatural, Michael’s skepticism causes him dismiss that possibility and attribute the girl’s maladies to mental illness. Eventually, Michael’s ongoing disbelief is shaken, when evil begins taking a personal interest in him… and those closest to him. The cast of THE RITE also features and Alice Braga, Toby Jones, Marta Gastini, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Arianna Veronesi, Andrea Calligari, Chris Marquette, Torrey DeVitto and Ben Cheetham.

Warner Home Video/New Line Home Entertainment has made THE RITE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Overall, this is a very solid 1080p presentation that is certain to please. Despite a prevailing sense of darkness to the film’s cinematography, the image is sharp and demonstrates very good levels of clarity and dimensionality. Colors appear nicely saturated, while the flesh tones are true to life. Blacks are pure, whites are crisp, plus the picture produces relatively smooth contrast. Shadow detail is intentionally stunted in places to add to atmosphere and horror. The elements from which THE RITE has been mastered are free from flaws. A fine element of grain is present in the image, which maintains an organic quality.

THE RITE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Have to give the soundtrack kudos; THE RITE is a pretty aggressively mixed horror offering. All the discrete channels are well implemented for sound effects placement, plus the effects move about around the sound field effectively- the demon/exorcism sequences are very well done. In addition, there is plenty of atmosphere, not to mention the requisite creepy sound effects, which set the right mood and raise the tension level. Thanks to the lossless encode, there is terrific clarity for the film’s music, as well as the fully convincing sound effects. The bottom end of the track also has a surprising amount of force. Voices are warmly recorded, plus the English language dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. The Rite: Solider Of God is a seven-minute featurette that looks at the realities of exorcism in the modern world. Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending close out the standard extras. THE RITE is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc three offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray. An authorization code is provided for a Digital Copy of the film, which is just a download away.

THE RITE is a bit too clinical to provide serious jolts as a horror movie. Still, there is the redeeming presence of Sir Anthony Hopkins, who is always interesting and fun to watch. The Blu-ray presentation is very solid and is definitely the way to go if you are intending to see THE RITE.

 
THE RITE 


The Rite (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (2011)

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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