It’s time for another Saturday night horror review, this time I’m taking a look at a 90s horror film that has become something of a cult film. So without further ado here’s my Stigmata Blu-ray review.
- Stigmata Blu-ray Review (1999) Dual Format Release
- Genre: Horror
- Directed by Rupert Wainwright
- Written by Tom Lazarus & Rick Ramage
- Music by Billy Corgan & Elia Cmiral
- Cinematography by Jeffrey L. Kimball
- Running Time: 102 Mins
- UK Rating 18
- Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
- Released By Eureka Entertainment
- Starring Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce, Nia Long, Rade Šerbedžija, Enrico Colantoni
Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) finds her world falling apart when she begins to show wounds that are not inflicted by any visible person or herself. These wounds appear to be the Stigmata that only deeply religious people are afflicted by. The only problem is Frankie is somewhat of an atheist.
When footage emerges of Frankie suffering a violent attack whilst on the subway the church sends its top investigator Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) to find out if the claims are true.
Style / Direction
It has a fast paced nineties feel that really brings this horror up to date. It may be over 17 years since it came out but there is still a lot that directors of newer horrors could learn from by watching Stigmata.
Stigmata feels like it has one foot in the world of say the Exorcist and the other determined to make if feel relevent in the late nineties. It does both of these excellently and is probably the reason it’s now consider a horror cult classic.
The film moves at a rapid pace bringing more and more shocking revelations.
Music / Audio Effects
The music has a kind of nineties techno beat that really does suit the style of the film. The end titles features the song identify by singer Natalie Imbruglia and in my opinion is pretty awesome in the way it fits the mood and tone of the film.
Acting / Characters
Brilliant performances from both Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne.
Patricia Arquette really does put in a terrific and convincing portrayal of a regular normal person who is suddenly afflicted by something no one seems to being able to help her understand.
Gabriel Byrne is perfect as Father Andrew Kiernan, he is a reassuring figure that the film needs and is the well suited to this role.
Jonathan Pryce plays another key figure within the Catholic Church as Cardinal Daniel Houseman who seems to have his own agenda. Again Pryce is well cast and delivers the performance the film needs.
Conclusion – Stigmata Film Review
I remember watching Stigmata when it came out all those years ago and I really enjoyed it. At the time it felt fresh but still reminded me of true classics such as The Exorcist. Watching it again on Blu-ray I still think has that same feel and I found myself thoroughly drawn in despite already knowing what was coming next.
Stigmata paints the Catholic Church in rather a bad light, the controversy stems around basing the films story around the 1945 discovered scroll, The gospel of St Thomas. It is said to be the closest record of words of Jesus, this challenges and poses a threat to the very existence of the church.
In the end this is indeed a film and you have the licence to tell a good horror story any way you like. Put simply the story works exceptionally well.
Stigmata Blu-ray Review
I’ll get straight to the point this in effect a MGM film released by Eureka Entertainment. Unfortunately that’s means only bad news, as the film has not been restored. It looks like another high definition transfer warts and all. Basically if the print is in good condition the film will look ok but most films require at least a basic clean-up of dirt marks and the like. I can confirm Stigmata does indeed suffer from marking, black marks that are present throughout the film. The image whilst sharper with more resolution than the DVD version still looks like the image should be a litter clearer.
Is it worth buying if you already have the DVD version?
Yes just about the added resolution makes it worth the purchase but really I view this as the interim version until someone decides to do a 4K or 2K restoration / special edition. I would suggest waiting until it can be picked up for around £3 or £5.
- Audio Commentary with director Rupert Wainwright
- Divine Rights: The Story of Stigmata
- Creating Crooked
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending
- Music Video
- Original Theatrical Trailer
A nice set of extras that includes the alternate endings although most of the extras are from the original DVD release.
On to my movie rating for Stigmata (1999)
- Movie Rating: RECOMMENDED / MUST SEE
- Blu-ray: DISAPPOINTING
- Extras: GOOD
Stigmata (1999) is available now on Blu-ray priced £13.16 (as of date of review)
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster with the trailer…
Clip not be representative of the Blu-ray version
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Stigmata Blu-ray Review (1999)
Director(s): Rupert Wainwright
Actor(s): Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Rating
An outstanding, powerful and stylish nineties horror, let down on Blu-ray by the poor MGM print.