Reviewed: Stigmata – Available 5/19/15 From Scream Factory

stigmata

I have fond memories of Stigmata. I saw it in theaters upon its release, and I can vividly recall purchasing the DVD on its release date at Circuit City, because at the time, that’s was the cheapest place to purchase new release DVDs. It hasn’t aged well, this film, but I still think it has enough going for it to appeal to newer fans of the genre that aren’t old enough to even recall it as a thing. If you are unfamiliar with the term “stigmata”, legend has it that some people have experienced the pain of Christ’s alleged crucifixion, with wounds from an unseen force showing up on a persons body in the same places we’re told that Christ was injured during that whole process. The whole thing is a bit hooey, but in a horror film, it’s perfect fodder for a solid, but a little goofy, religious horror film.

 

I can’t say that I enjoyed Stigmata as much as I did in 1999. It held up a little better than I feared that it would, but it is still very much a product of its time. Some people consider this to be the poor man’s Exorcist, and while I tend to disagree with that notion, it does hit some of the same beats. Director Rupert Wainwright went on to do practically nothing after this film, other than the dreadfully unwatchable 2005 remake of The Fog. I can’t say that I see the resemblance. In any event, Stigmata does some interesting things, and adds a different kind of twist to a sub-genre of horror that filmmakers are still beating into the ground. It’s certainly better than most of the previous output of religious/possession horror. Movies like Devil’s Due couldn’t carry Stigmata’s jock strap. Patricia Arquette is as lovely as ever, and the rest of the cast is rounded out nicely with Nia Long as the best friend, and Gabriel Byrne as a scientific investigator for the Vatican. Even if the film didn’t tickle my fancy quite as much as it did 16 years ago, I’m still thankful for the chance to revisit it. I have quite a bit of nostalgia for Stigmata, it just seems that the film didn’t age quite as well as some of the other films from around the same time.

Scream Factory’s presentation of the film on Blu-ray is more than acceptable. Like a lot of films produced in the latter part of the Nineties, it looks a little rougher than a film from the previous decade, but as I said, I saw it at the theater, and I saw it again on DVD. This is the best home video representation of the film we’re likely to get. There is no issue with compression that I noticed, and aside from a few instances of dirt and print damage, Stigmata makes its Blu-ray debut with no obvious issues at all. This isn’t one of Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition releases, just a standard Blu-ray, but there are still some extras on the disc. There is a director’s commentary, a couple of documentaries, one of which is around 45 minutes long, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a music video for Natalie Imbruglia’s song Identify, and more. If you are a fan of this film, Scream Factory has put together a competent enough package to warrant the upgrade. Stigmata will be available on Blu-ray on May 19th. You may purchase your copy by clicking here.

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