PictureTower Block comes to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with a 1080p video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Although not exactly a stunning demo vehicle, this is a fairly good-looking, reasonably stylish production, especially considering the low budget origins of the piece. Sure, many will see right through the sepia-steeped ‘style’ as being little more than a thin veil covering up said limited budget, but it still pushes the piece in the right direction, and suits the gritty setting. Detail is generally very good – again not stunning, or reference quality in any respect – but allowing us some decent close-up face shots and good coverage of the surroundings. There aren’t many wider panoramic shots – because of the claustrophobic setting – but that doesn’t stop the detail from looking pretty good at all levels of depth. The colour scheme, as you might have only expected, is limited and skewed by the style, but the range of tones on offer – often biased towards browns and greys – still allows for some decent tones and solid enough blacks. There are no wildly distracting digital issues presented here, although there’s a hint of edge enhancement and a smidge of crush. As stated, it’s not a pretty picture, and won’t win any awards, but it looks decent enough in High Definition, and certainly outshines the low budget origins of the piece.
SoundOn the aural front the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track similarly won’t win any awards, but does a decent enough job promoting the material, building and maintaining the tension and crafting a suitably oppressive environment within which the story can evolve. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely dominating the frontal array, but bending to the surrounding elements where appropriate. Effects tend to be limited to two areas: the kinds of sounds you would expect to hear in a block of council flats and high-powered rifle blasts (and the resulting skull-splatting), but that doesn’t mean we don’t get some decent atmospherics, and some surround separation as well; even the gunshot blasts range a little bit depending on the weapons encountered. The score is fairly unobtrusive, which often works to the benefit of the piece, but, by the same token, it’s nothing in the least bit memorable. Overall it’s a solid but unexceptional accompaniment to the main feature; again, better than you might have expected from the budget, but difficult to compare or compete with against anything bigger in production scale and budget.
ExtrasThe only extra feature comes under the guise of a ‘Behind the Scenes’ supplement, but is merely a selection of interviews with the main cast and crew.
VerdictA smart and stylish new Brit thriller, largely breaking free of the limitations of its low budget origins with competent direction, a decent enough cast and a good hook of an opening premise. Sure, it doesn’t quite deliver on the initial promise, with the filmmakers struggling to deliver a truly satisfying conclusion, but the 90-minute horror-styled thriller that evolves in the interim is certainly worth your time.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get solid video and audio – nothing spectacular, but nothing that particularly hammers home the low budget restrictions – as well as a few interviews in the way of extras. Fans of decent, original Brit thrillers should definitely give it a look.
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