Cast: Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Michael K. Williams
Release Date: February 16, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8/10
Based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his childhood friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip from Chicago across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father, Montrose Freeman (Michael K. Williams). Their search-and-rescue turns into a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and monstrous creatures that could be ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft paperback.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Based on the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, ‘Lovecraft Country’ accompanies Atticus Freeman (Majors) as he returns to his hometown in the 1950’s in search of his missing father after receiving a strange note. After reuniting with family and old friends, Atticus is joined by his Uncle George (Vance) and childhood friend Leti (Smollett) who embark on a dangerous journey across unknown counties and towns (often with uninviting, racist police and townspeople populating them) in the hope that they can reach their destination and locate his father before it’s too late. Yet, little does Atticus realize that this dangerous journey across the unsettling countryside will only be the beginning of the peculiar situations, characters and life defining choices that he and those closest to him will be forced to face as everything around them only becomes increasingly more odd and dangerous when they discover that magic and monsters are in fact quite real.
‘Lovecraft Country’ is a fairly intriguing series that balances some interesting subject matter and nods at old Lovecraft stories and similar supernatural storylines with the very real horror of racism in 1950’s America. It occasionally seems to struggle with the balance between its key focus on various individuals and situations although for the most part it keeps you caring for these characters and engaged in what might come next. It definitely doesn’t hesitate to get dark when necessary either with some extremely unpleasant, albeit necessary moments throughout; particularly in its detailed exploration of the suffering and racist acts and hatred that these characters must endure as people of color living in 1950’s America. While racism is quite clearly the key villain of the story, there are naturally still plenty of supernatural elements at play within and much of the season showcases the various ends of the spectrum with an almost police procedural approach that largely focuses on one strange event, person or situation each episode. With plenty of entertaining twists and a fair share of noteworthy gore to keep horror fans interested as well. I would encourage anyone that’s already intrigued by the series to try and give it a whirl whenever it might be convenient, although those who haven’t yet had a chance to check it out may want to hold off on a purchase of the Blu-ray release until you do because it’s probably not a show everyone will want to revisit multiple times, and some folks may also be expecting something quite different from what the show actually is.
Overall, the debut season of ‘Lovecraft Country’ may not be entirely what some are expecting, but aside from a few hiccups such as a bigger than necessary focus at times on somewhat irrelevant situations and scenarios, it manages to deliver an entertaining adventure that balances supernatural dangers and real life evils into an engaging tale of the unknown that’s benefited by a solid cast. As far as the technical merits of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s 3-disc Blu-ray release of ‘Lovecraft Country: The Complete First Season’ are concerned, it brings home all ten episodes from the show’s first season with solid high definition video and audio presentations on each, along with a nice collection of bonus content on the third disc that takes you deeper into the series and bringing it to life. The release is definitely recommended for any fans of the series considering a purchase.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Lovecraft Country: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the debut season’s episodes. The video presentations look great altogether and deliver sharp, smooth and richly detailed presentations on all ten episodes without any notable problems or issues to be uncovered throughout. They hold up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit, fast moving and heavily populated sequences, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are solid high definition video presentations that look quite great and shouldn’t disappoint the series fans in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 10 Season One episodes. These multichannel soundtracks are a constant pleasure and provide crisp, clean and fairly aggressive audio presentations on every episode. They repeatedly take full advantage of all five available channels in order to send music, creatures and action effects, plus vehicle and nature elements, and a great deal more consistently zipping throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity, while always making certain that any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements never become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, these are fantastic 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks that deliver splendidly while contributing plenty of extra tension and excitement to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Lovecraft Country: The Complete First Season’ features a nice collection of bonus content, the entirety of which can be found on Disc Three. Included on the release are various Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore bringing the series to life, the talents of the cast and crew and more, featuring behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew. They include: ‘Orithyia Blue and the Imagination of Diana Freeman’ (running approximately 11 minutes in length), ‘Lovecraft Country: Compendium of Horrors (running approximately 12 minutes) and ‘Crafting Lovecraft Country’ (approximately 28 minutes). We’re also treated to 2 Collections of brief Featurettes focused on individuals both in front of and behind the camera; the first collection is ‘Exploring Lovecraft Country’ which focuses on the actors and includes ‘Aunjanve Ellis’, ‘Abbey Lee’, ‘Courtney B. Vance’, ‘Jada Harris’, ‘Jonathan Majors’, ‘Jurnee Smollett’, ‘Michael Kenneth Williams’ and ‘Wunmi Mosaku’ (running approximately 1 minute each). The second collection ‘Lovecraft Country The Craft’ explores some of the behind the camera talent involved and includes: ‘Afua Richardson’, ‘Eric Yamamoto’, ‘Carey Jones’ and ‘JP Jones’ (approximately 1-2 minutes apiece).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 8/10
‘Lovecraft Country: The Complete First Season’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from HBO & Warner Bros Home Entertainment
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