Which VVitch is Which?

So here's a re-release that's come around the bend pretty fast: 2015's The VVitchThe VVitch is a very stylish, somewhat mainstream horror film that came out on DVD and blu-ray in 2016.  4k Ultra HD discs were the brand new thing at the time, and we all said this should've come out on UHD.  It was a new release from a major studio (Lions Gate) with a heavy emphasis on its look and atmosphere - perfect for UHD.  But no, just the DVD and BD.  But I guess enough of us kvetched about it that LG has brought it back to stores as one of their attractively-priced horror UHDs, in line with Halloween, American Psycho and Evil Dead 1 & 2.  This definitely would've been the sweet way to go in 2016, but since we were all forced to grumble and buy the BD then, is it worth double-dipping already now?
The VVitch (double v's to tip us off to the film's old English trappings) is an immediately impressive horror film: an atmospheric slow burn.  Subtitled on-screen as A New England Folk-Tale, the film follows a family of early American settlers who separate from their puritan community and attempt to make their way on their own.  And almost immediately they are set upon by a seemingly endless succession of signs and effects of witchcraft.  It's a real potpourri of classic early American folklore and earnest reports of witches out of New England history.  This gives us a wonderful combination of authenticity - helped immensely by the cast and production design's ability to capture the period - and an entertaining kind of hellzapoppin' madness where anything can happen next and you never know what's around the next corner.  And despite centering around a nuclear family, The VVitch isn't precious about keeping the unit whole or elevating children and animals out of harm's way.  It's a rare horror film where you genuinely don't know who, if anyone, will be alive by the end of the film.  And yet the characters are flush enough that it winds up satisfying on a dramatic level as well.
1) 2016 LG DVD; 2) 2016 LG BD; 3) 2019 LG UHD.
The VVitch is a dark film, where you'll be struggling to make out imagery in the low contrast, candlelit footage from start to finish.  And the naturally subtle, darker tones of HDR actually increases that.  But when you do lean forward and really peer into the darkness, you can see there actually is more detail to be deciphered in those patches.  But we're really talking about subtle shades of gray here, and I'm not saying that just because this film is by its nature hugely under-saturated.  But it's one of those situations where casual viewers may have a hard time seeing the differences, apart from the dimmer highlights.  The colors generally are a little richer when you can make them out, however (like the mother's green shirt in the second set of shots).  The 4k resolution is easier to demarcate, however.  The blu looks distinctly grainier than the UHD; but remember, this film was shot on digital, so we're not talking about capturing grain the way we usually are with catalog titles.  On the UHD, that's peeled back giving an almost softer look, but when you get in close, it's obvious that the UHD is smooth and photo realistic well into the point where the blu-ray is breaking down into jagged, pixelated edges (for example, look at the boy's eyes).  Also, curiously, the 1.66:1 aspect ratio of the DVD and blu shifts ever so slightly to 1.67:1 on the UHD.

All three discs give you just the one, official 5.1 mix, lossy on the DVD but in DTS-HD on the blu and UHD (yes, it's the same DTS-HD track on both).  And they all include optional English and Spanish subtitles.
Extras are also good but the same across all editions, except for the one minor advantage that the UHD doesn't have an over ten minute stretch of on-startup bonus trailers you have to skip like the DVD and blu.  But they've all got a fairly engaging, if not super enlightening, audio commentary by the director, a roughly half hour Q&A with the director, star & two authors on Salem witches who dominate a little too much of the conversation, a nice but brief featurette that finally lets us hear from the rest of the cast, and a neat little stills gallery of design sketches.  All three editions also each come in slick slipcovers.  Oh and yes, the BD in the UHD combo-pack is the exact same BD that was sold in 2016, including the outer label.
So, is it worth double-dipping?  It depends how dedicated you are to the Ultra HD.  This is a solid 4k UHD that honors the uptick in format, but you're not getting a massively improved transfer or any new special features or anything.  This is really a disc we should've gotten in 2016, but at least the price is alright, so a double-dip won't sting too badly.  And hey, better late than never.  But I imagine a lot of fans who would've bought the UHD version in 2016 will now just stick with the BDs they were stuck buying at the time.  But if you've gotta have that UHD, it's finally here and it's as good as it should be.

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