Top positive review
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Very good Blu-Ray but with one criticism
on 5 March 2012
I last watched Phenomena as a teenager back in the 80's when it was released on VHS under the title "Creepers" with around 30 minutes of the original film cut out of it, making it a very different movie to what we have here. The only thing I remembered about Creepers was that it was quite forgettable, so I had no interest in watching it again until recently when I bought a Blu-Ray player and discovered Arrow Films. I thought I'd try the movie again, this time in its full-length form, and I'm certainly glad I did! Although this isn't Argento's best movie by any means, it still has a lot going for it, and is more than a cut above a lot of Italian horror.
Although I'm fairly new to Blu-Ray I've already bought 7 of Arrow's releases, and can say that the picture quality on Phenomena is very good indeed. The disc has some interesting special features and at under a tenner from Amazon it is good value for money, so I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genre.
As much as I enjoyed Arrow's Blu-Ray transfer of the movie I'm going to knock off one star and rate it 4 out of 5 for this reason:
The native language of Phenomena is English. Arrow's Phenomena has been created using the Italian cut of the movie, and some small parts of the English audio track are missing. This means that when watching the film with its native English audio, there are a few brief occasions when the English voices switch to dubbed Italian with English subtitles. The plus side of this is that we don't miss out on any scenes (great for fanboys), but the negative side is that it is such an oddity to watch a movie that is 99.5% English and 0.5% Italian. It's also a bit weird when, in one of the Italian-dubbed scenes, a woman on a bus says something to Jennifer Connelly in dubbed Italian and Jennifer replies "Sorry, I don't speak German"!
I'm glad we're presented with the full length version of the film, but it would have been nice to have the option of watching a more conventional and slightly shorter English-only version, either on a second disc or as a switchable option in the disc setup menu. Personally, I got used to the ocassional bit of dubbed Italian dialogue, but if you want better continuity you can always watch the entire movie in dubbed Italian with English subtitles.
Overall, and in spite of the small gripe above, I say well done to Arrow on this Blu-Ray of Phenomena. RECOMMENDED.