Tenebrae: 4K UHD Review

If you didn’t grab last year’s 3-disk Limited Edition release of Dario Argento’s 1982 Italian horror film Tenebrae (aka Unsane) from Synapse Films, this week they dropped the 2-disk Standard Edition 4K UHD.

American author Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is currently on a press tour promoting his latest horror novel, Tenebrae.  Shortly before Neal’s plane arrives in Rome, a young woman is murdered in a way that was inspired by the writer’s work. The mysterious killer also sends Neal a letter informing him that his writing inspired him to go on a killing spree. When Neal checks into his hotel room, he finds a local detective and inspector there waiting for him. While they know he couldn’t have been the killer since he was in the air at the time of the murders, any insight he might have based on his work could be useful.

Unfortunately, more killings take place and Peter decides to try and investigate them on his own as well. The killer is targeting who they think are deviants or perverts. Among the victims are a lesbian couple, a television host and others that have a connection to Peter. This all leads to an unexpected final act that might surprise those who have never seen the film. Tenebrae might be one of Argento’s most overlooked thrillers and it’s a shame because I believe it is also one of his better films. The kills are bloody and plentiful. Argento’s work remains unique and here is no exception. Along with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, they delivered a beautifully shot piece of Italian genre cinema. Of course there is also the incredible score by three of the four members of Goblin.

Synapse Films delivers a 2160p presentation with Dolby Vision. The 4K restoration was sourced from the original camera negative. I have never actually watched this film on Blu-ray in the past, but I have heard that it was a huge improvement over Anchor Bay’s original DVD release. I will say that this 4K presentation is quite impressive. The daytime shots in Rome and even the opening shots in New York are quite stunning. Blood is a major point in an Argento film and this new restoration presents it in glorious deep red. Skin Tones and environments look natural. For audio we have the 2.0 DTS-HD MA in both English and Italian and I have no complaints. This is definitely one of the best Argento remasters to date. If you are a fan of Tenebrae, I recommend grabbing this release.

Bonus Features:

  • 4K UHD (2160p) & Blu-ray (1080p) Combo Pack
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray™ presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio
  • Original Italian and English front and end titles and insert shots
  • Restored original DTS-HD MA lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by authors and critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • Audio commentary by Argento expert Thomas Rostock
  • Audio commentary by Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento
  • Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo, a feature-length documentary charting the genre from its beginnings to its influence on the modern slasher film, featuring interviews with Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Luigi Cozzi and more
  • Being the Villain, a newly edited archival interview with actor John Steiner
  • Out of the Shadows, an archival interview with Maitland McDonagh
  • Voices of the Unsane, an archival featurette containing interviews with writer/director Dario Argento, actresses Daria Nicolodi and Eva Robins, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Claudio Simonetti and assistant director Lamberto Bava
  • Screaming Queen, an archival interview with Daria Nicolodi
  • The Unsane World of Tenebrae, an archival interview with Dario Argento
  • A Composition for Carnage, an archival interview with Claudio Simonetti
  • Archival introduction by Daria Nicolodi
  • International theatrical trailer
  • Japanese “Shadow” theatrical trailer
  • Alternate opening credits sequence
  • “Unsane” end credits sequence
  • Image galleries

By: Marc Ferman