Threshold appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though shot only on iPhones, the image looked pretty good.
Overall sharpness seemed positive. Occasional instances of softness occurred – especially during some interiors – but most of the movie felt fairly tight and well-defined.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. In terms of source flaws, I saw some artifacts in darker shots, but those remained minor.
Colors went with a lean toward teal and amber. These trends didn’t seem overwhelming, and the hues generally appeared reasonably full.
Blacks could feel a bit crushed, but they usually came across with appealing depth, and most low-light scenes offered acceptable delineation. These could seem a little murky and suffered from the artifacts mentioned above, but they still worked fine most of the time. Really, this was a surprisingly attractive image given its origins, even if it didn’t match up with the standards set by films shot on “real” movie cameras.
Threshold didn’t rely on cell phone audio recordings for its DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, so the mix worked fairly well – within its restrained ambitions, at least. The soundscape stayed low-key most of the time, as it only popped open on a couple of occasions.
Music offered good presence, though, and used the speakers in an effective manner. Occasional instances of directional dialogue occurred as well.
Audio quality seemed adequate, with effects that appeared acceptably accurate and full. Music worked best, as the snatches of score seemed lively and rich.
Speech seemed distinctive and easily understood, but the lines could feel a bit “off” because the movie required so much looping. The nature of the production forced the actors to re-record a lot – all? – of their dialogue, and these dubs don’t seem especially natural.
Still, the lines come across as concise at least, so even though they don’t always blend with the visuals, they sounded fine. This turned into a competent track for a moody indie flick.
We find a mix of extras here, and the disc includes two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from co-director Powell Robinson, writer/co-director Patrick Robert Young and editor William Ford-Conway, all of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, music, editing and connected domains.
One might expect the directors to dominate this track, but instead, Ford-Conway plays the most important role. He leads the discussion and gives us the strongest layer of concrete information.
This means we get a good look at the movie’s editing challenges but it seems less substantial in other ways, as we don’t get a ton of insights related to the rest of the production. Though this still becomes a fairly informative piece, I wish the participants covered a broader array of topics.
For the second commentary, we hear from co-director Powell Robinson, writer/co-director Patrick Robert Young, producer Lauren Bates and actors Madison West and Joey Millin. All of them sit together for their running, screen-specific view of cast and performances, sets and locations, music, story/characters, and various production challenges.
While the commentary brings a decent array of insights, it tends to feel awfully loose and jokey. I like a light/lively discussion, but this one can come across as too oriented toward “buddies chatting” than actual movie-related information. Though a perfectly listenable track, the commentary seems inconsistent.
Under The Making of Threshold, two segments appear: “Crossing the Threshold” (1:28:25) and “Elevating iPhone Footage” (2:57). Obviously “Crossing” becomes the more substantial of the pair, as it brings notes from Young, Robinson, Ford-Conway, Bates, West, Millin, sound designer Charles Moody, dialogue editor Jerry Robinson, composer Nick Chuba and actors John Terrel and Dan Stevens.
“Crossing” covers the filmmakers’ prior project and the development of the movie, the choice to shoot on iPhones and photographic issues, cast, characters and performances, the story outline and improvised nature of the project, audio, vehicles, locations, editing, music, and valedictory thoughts.
Given that it enjoys nearly an hour and a half, “Crossing” gets plenty of room to breathe, and it uses the space well. Inevitably some material repeats from the commentaries, but we find plenty of new information, and the availability of behind the scenes footage helps make this an effective documentary.
With “Elevating”, we get a quick examination of the color correction process used for the film. This comes with no narration but on-screen text explains the work, so it becomes reasonably illuminating.
Two Roundtables follow. Moderated by Scott Weinberg, “Something from Nothing” goes for one hour, one minute, 50 seconds and brings a panel with Robinson, Young, and fellow filmmakers Brandon Espy, James Byrkit, Zach Donahur and Elle Callahan.
They discuss topics related to the creation of micro-budget films. Only some of this addresses Threshold, of course, but we still find a pretty useful view of this particular kind of indie filmmaking.
For the second “Roundtable”, we get “The Power of Indie Horror”. Moderated by Zena Dixon, this one fills 44 minutes and offers comments from West, Millin, and fellow actors Kelsey Griswold, Gabrielle Walsh and Ryan Shoos.
Here we learn about the actors’ careers, with the expected emphasis on their work in loosely-made indie horror. This becomes an engaging take on the topics.
With The Sounds of Threshold, we find the film’s full score. Presented PCM stereo, this takes up 24 minutes, 14 seconds and will be appreciated by fans of isolated movie music.
A text feature, we find the film’s General Outline Script. This 24-page document offers a mix of actual screenplay – with specific lines – and general notions of what to shoot. It becomes a cool addition to the disc.
In addition to two trailers, the disc ends with an Image Gallery. It shows 27 shots from the movie and feels utterly forgettable.
Shot for the Hollywood equivalent of pocket change, Threshold seems much more professional than one might expect. Unfortunately, even with better than expected production values, the movie’s lack of compelling story and characters makes it a dull viewing experience. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture and audio as well as a strong roster of bonus features. I appreciate the ways the filmmakers stretched to accomplish a feature film with so little money, but I can’t find an interesting movie here.