4K review: Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’ is a visual masterpiece in 4K-Ultra HD
“What happens comes back” is the moral tale of alley of nightmares, a classic novel that gets a new adaptation from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. Nominated for Best Picture, The Projector images the movie is coming 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray days before this year’s Oscars. Whether you’re already a fan or want to check out the Oscars competition, this home video release offers the best picture and sound for videophiles to experience it in the best way possible, because movie theaters are no maybe more of an option.
Drifter Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) stumbles upon a carnival and soon embarks on a job with a “seeing” act (Toni Collette and David Strathairn), learning the ropes of their trade and taking his sweetheart Molly (Rooney Mara) along with him to greener pastures. But when their new act is interrupted by Doctor Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), a psychologist who makes him reveal his tricks in exchange for information on the wealthy and the elite. As Stanton pursues darker, more twisted ways to scam people out of their money, he discovers that karma is ready to strike back.
With a devilishly funny story and in the expert hands of Guillermo del Toro, alley of nightmares is visually striking and exciting. All of the actors are at the top of their game, and it’s easy to see why the film has been so powerful this awards season. On the home video, fans can also take a look behind the scenes with a few bonus features.
- Del Toro’s Neo-Noir (11:19) – Writer-director Guillermo del Toro and his exceptional cast unravel the dark and convoluted world of Nightmare Alley. The filmmaker reveals how his vision of noir is rooted in classic cinema but offers an accessible and modern narrative.
- Beneath the Tarp (8:26) – Production designer Tamara Deverell and her talented team have expertly delivered both a decaying traveling carnival world and gilded Art Deco high society with striking visuals. We explore how this design supported del Toro’s genre cinema.
- What Exists in the Fringe (5:23) – Costume designer Luis Sequeira opens up about his collaboration with Guillermo del Toro and reveals the symbolism that is constantly at play in the film’s carefully crafted wardrobe design.
A visual masterpiece, alley of nightmares looks exquisite in 4K. Darker scenes contain rich, inky blacks while vivid colors, used to powerful effect, pop off the screen.
The audio options are the only place of confusion for this release, with the Blu-Ray favoring an English 5.1 DTS-HDMA mix over the standard 7.1 for newer versions of the format. The 4K equivalent is a Dolby Atmos mix that appears to fill those bonus channels. Other audio options on both discs include a stereo descriptive audio mix, as well as French and Spanish in 5.1.
The 4K/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy combo pack, also known as the “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”, comes in a standard black Blu-Ray box with a cover in its original pressing. Both discs are held inside the case, with only the 4K disc including disc art. The only insert is a Movies Anywhere digital copy code.
There is no preview on both discs. The main menu is a static image that repeats the illustration of the case front set to score.
alley of nightmares is spectacular and deserves all its nominations. Whether you’re looking to catch up before the Oscars or want to savor this neo-noir masterpiece over and over again, home video output delivers the best picture and sound available. Although the bonus features are a bit light, they are at least insightful.
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Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).