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Blu-Ray : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: July 11th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2023

Beau Is Afraid

Overview -

Beau Is Afraid brings Joaquin Phoenix to the big screen in his most ambitious role to date with Ari Aster behind the camera. The result is an attack of all senses in the most spectacular and frustrating ways. There's nothing quite like it. The 1080p HD transfer looks amazing and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track sounds fantastic. The one extra is entertaining too. Recommended!

 

Following the sudden death of his mother, a mild-mannered but anxiety-ridden man confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey back home.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Length:
179
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™, English Descriptive Audio
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, Spanish
Release Date:
July 11th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Anxiety and guilt are real. But never before have those feelings been visualized on the big screen quite like in Ari Aster's new film Beau Is Afraid. This turbulent journey into horror with flashes of dark comedy is unlike anything that's ever been released. Tackling these frightening components in such a way could go in many different directions, but with Aster at the helm and Joaquin Phoenix front and center, Beau Is Afraid is a film operating under its own terms with a severe haunting effect that lingers. What an experience, for better or worse.

What is it exactly that Beau Is Afraid of? The simple answer is anything and everything with sex hitting a keynote in that mix. Aster, the director of Hereditary and Midsommar comes to Beau Is Afraid without that simplistic narrative that served his previous horror films. Beau Is Afraid is in a category all by itself set within three acts, each with an hour to further its story. Beau (Phoenix) is a kind man who is afraid to do anything or really talk with anyone. It's as if Aster wanted to show What About Bob? navigate a hellish landscape in a hardcore R-rated film that translates later into a Hobbit-sized journey similar to an Odyssey from O'Brother Where Art Thou. In fact, Beau Is Afraid comes across as if O'Brother Where Art Thou, What About Bob?, and Raising Arizona had a three-way that resulted in a demonic child with existential issues that asked complex questions right out of 2001: A Spacy Oddysey if it only were all set in all levels of hell. That's really what Beau Is Afraid wants to convey.

How Aster arrives with his results is something of a different matter entirely.  The first act of the film plays out like a far-out, extremely scary horror movie about a man's anxiety and fear literally attacking him in physical form. It's the scariest part of Nightmare on Elm Street mixed with Mad Max as Beau receives a call to visit his mother. A simple trip to the convenience store across the street might as well be on the moon to Beau as anything outside is trying to kill him and how Aster reveals these fears is pure blissful horror. In its second act, Aster allows room to breathe and gives everyone a half-time break as Beau crosses paths with a commune in the forest who have erected a stage to act out a play. Soon enough, Beau realizes the complete strangers are acting out a play about his present life and future life, which then sets in motion a big What If? chapter in the film of maybe how Beau could have lived his life if it weren't for his crippling fears and anxiety. It's sweet to see but is entirely too long and stale to keep invested. 

READ THE FULL FILM REVIEW HERE...

 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Beau Is Afraid channels its way to Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code via A24. The discs are housed inside a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. There is an insert for a digital code. The artwork is the same as the poster for the film that features all four iterations of Beau through the ages. 

Video Review

Ranking:

Beau Is Afraid comes with a fantastic looking 1080p HD transfer on Blu-ray. The color palette looks delicious and covers the complete rainbow spectrum of color in its three-hour runtime.

The opening 45 minutes has an amber tint to the image with tons of tans, browns, and other glowing images. Once Beau manages to escape that personal hellscape, he arrives at a family's house where the color palette has a more natural aesthetic with brighter greens, blues, and other primary colors. The image slowly grows to a cooler blue-like filter which leads Beau to his alternate lifestyle in the form of fantasy with animation and visual effects. This is where the rainbow of colors comes into place and they look amazing. When Beau is at his mother's house, red is the dominant color that surrounds her wooden interior. The picture also grows to a darker, low-lit series of images where the black levels are rather inky and rich. Skin tones are natural as well.

The detail is sharp and vivid throughout, even in the darker scenes in the attic and in the final twenty minutes of the movie. Beau's individual hairs on his scraggly beard or on top of his head look wonderful, and the scars, bruises, and open gashes reveal those great practical effects. The textures in the wardrobe are wonderful and the numerous background items and people all have their intimate details revealed. The special effects of one certain monster in the attic look excellent here as well. There are no major issues with banding, aliasing, or heavy noise. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

This release comes with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track that is simply splendid. That opening birth sequence immediately gives the speaker system a workout with some violent sounds and faint ambient screams and talking. This transforms into a wicked-sounding track with explosions, gunshots, people running, screaming, talking, along with fiery vehicles driving by. The full surround speakers deliver the full dynamic range of audio that is wonderfully immersive. The low end of the bass comes with a fantastic rumble to it. Other times it has a harsh rockiness to it for the tonal effect that is exquisite. The score always adds to the suspense and chaotic storyline perfectly. The dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow. There are no audio problems here.

 

Special Features

Ranking:

There's only one extra here coming in at 16 minutes. Like Aster's last release, it's certain that A24 or other studios will release a more elaborate version with more extras. 

  • Finally Home: Making Beau Is Afraid (HD, 16 Mins.) - This is a super fun EPK featurette with some great interviews with the cast and crew, along with some on-set footage, and a small glimpse at the visual effects. 

Final Thoughts

Beau Is Afraid is a wonderfully scary, painfully frustrating, prototype of a film that could only come from the chaotic brains of Ari Aster. What an experience. The 1080p HD image looks extraordinary and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track sounds phenomenal. The one bonus feature is worth the time, but it's virtually assumed that more will be on the way with future releases. Recommended!