Blu-ray
One to Avoid
2 stars
Overall Grade
2 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
2 Stars
HD Video Quality
2 Stars
HD Audio Quality
2.5 Stars
Supplements
0 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
One to Avoid

Ghost Hunters: Season 6 - Part 2

Street Date:
October 11th, 2011
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
October 21st, 2011
Movie Release Year:
2011
Studio:
Big Vision
Length:
230 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

It seems every basic cable channel has its signature version of a paranormal investigation show, one where a team of investigators goes to haunted old mansions, creepy houses, and abandoned psychiatric wards to learn if ghosts and ghouls reside there. They bring gobs of equipment with them from heat sensitive cameras to digital recorders to EMF detectors. It all appears so scientific. Well, at least the equipment is, the people involved... less so.

'Ghost Hunters' on the SyFy channel is a reality show about The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS). Each week there's a new haunt they have to visit to find out if it really is haunted. They talk to the owners or curators of the places that they go to in order to get a feel for the kind of crazy things happening there. The trot in with their gear and team, set up cameras in strategic locations, and then three teams take turns investigating the house for anything that goes bump in the night.

There are quite a few problems with 'Ghost Hunters,' which are pretty much similar to the problems that many other paranormal investigation shows face. First and foremost, the people involved are quite often difficult to spend any lengthy amount of time with. The people of TAPS are no different. Secondly, the rigid structure of each episode is mind-numbingly boring.

The team starts off explaining where they're going. Then we get a shot of them all riding in the official 'Ghost Hunter' SUVs as they talk about the weird experiences at the future destination over their walkie-talkies. Then they go on a tour of the house with the owners. Then they do their investigation walkthroughs. Then they present their findings. They usually do two places per episode, so all of this is pretty tightly packed.

There are a few things that really irk me about these types of shows. I can't stand that they have a horror movie-esque soundtrack going on in the background. A soundtrack that usually covers every slight bump and thump that the investigators respond to. The investigations are usually full of, "Huh!" "What was that?" "What the hell was that?" "That was freaky!" "Did you hear that?" No, we didn't hear that because the soundtrack was raging on like the girl from 'The Ring' was going to pop up at any second.

Do they ever capture definitive proof that there are ghosts lurking about in these places? Not really. It's all circumstantial evidence at best. A weird blob on the heat vision camera, a strange stinky smell that mysteriously appears and disappears at will (funny how they're all trying to blame that on the ghosts!), and weird sounds that seem like very light voices when digital recordings are played back. Nothing definitive, but for the believers it's enough and for the non-believers it's most likely going to be a bunch of hooey.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind sitting down to watch one of these shows if it was constructed decently. As of now most of the different paranormal investigation shows that I've come across are all pretty similar in structure and the number of annoying hosts.

In the end though it's simply a few episodes of mindless entertainment if you're into that sort of thing. It's an easy way to waste away a few hours if that's what you're looking for, but just don't go in expecting any creepy revelations.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

This SyFy show is an Image Entertainment release. It's a 3-disc set with each disc being a 25-GB Blu-ray disc. It's a region free set which is packaged in a slightly oversized keepcase that has one swinging arm in the middle to hold two discs back-to-back. Finally, there is a slipcover included.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Ghost Hunters' is presented in 1080i with and AVC encode. Boy does this video presentation have its share of problems. Compression artifacts abound as the season wears on. You may feel like you're still watching your compressed digital cable signal rather than a Blu-ray.

I would say a good 60 – 70 percent of the show is actually shot with night vision cameras. All the investigations take place under the cover of night, because I guess only ghosts come out at night. Anyway, the show's night vision is full of noise, and blocking that can easily be seen around the edges. As the sliding gray scale meets the blackness, macro-blocking routinely appears and is extremely noticeable throughout. Now, we all know that night vision usually has problems when it comes to transferring well to HD. Many nature Blu-rays before this have shown that. However, the compression artifacts don't stop at just the night vision scenes. For one example take a look at the episode where the team visits the Baseball Hall of Fame. As the guys are sitting down with the curator of the museum showing him their findings check out the marbled pillar behind them. In this well-lit scene blocks run rampant all over the image. It's pretty ugly. Banding and aliasing are also issues that persist throughout the entire season.

Contrast wavers wildly. Daytime outdoor scenes feature some decent clarity, but far too often do skin tones seem to burn hotter than they should. Colors in well-lit scenes are pretty vibrant though, which is a good thing. However, there aren't too many good things to say about the video presented here. It's simply full of too many compression related artifacts to ever be considered as looking good in high definition. You're better off just watching it on your compressed cable signal because the quality is going to be just about the same.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'Ghost Hunters' features a pretty anemic uncompressed LPCM 2.0 track for each episode even though for some strange reason the back of the case states that these are Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. Either way the LPCM track doesn't sound much better anyway.

I know that most of my problem comes with the way they've decided to present the show. The soundtrack is way too loud and often covers up any sounds. Some investigator will whisper "Did you hear that?" and I'll say, "No, there were violin strings screeching on the soundtrack. I couldn't hear anything." There are so many slight noises and soft sounds that the investigators are listening for and it's almost impossible to hear them when they happen. You have to wait until after when they loop back through all the strange happenings.

I know that most of my problem comes with the way they've decided to present the show. The soundtrack is way too loud and often covers up any sounds. Some investigator will whisper "Did you hear that?" and I'll say, "No, there were violin strings screeching on the soundtrack. I couldn't hear anything." There are so many slight noises and soft sounds that the investigators are listening for and it's almost impossible to hear them when they happen. You have to wait until after when they loop back through all the strange happenings.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

There are no special features included.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no Blu-ray exclusives provided.

Final Thoughts

There wouldn't be a variety of these types of shows if there weren't fans out there. If you're a believer and you really like these kind of shows then who am I to tell you not to get it? They don't appeal to me though, mostly because I usually can't stand the hosts. Far too often they seem to get themselves too worked up, which almost always leads to what seem to be erroneous findings. The real killer for this set though is the Blu-ray presentation. The video is downright bad in just about every aspect, while the audio doesn't fare much better. My recommendation is to avoid this set, even if you are a fan. You'll get the same exact quality and effect just by watching the show on TV and I'm sure they rerun shows like this often.

Technical Specs

  • 3-Disc Set

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080i/MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • Uncompressed LCPM 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English

Supplements

  • None

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