Imaginary (Blu-ray)

A woman returns to her childhood home to discover that the imaginary friend she left behind is very real and unhappy that she abandoned him.

May 28, 2024 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It’s always raised an eyebrow with me when a Blu-ray/4K disc has “…from the studio that brought you…” and we’re treated to two more successful films. In this case, it’s M3gan and Five Nights at Freddy’s. The latter is, as of this writing, the most successful Blumhouse production. I’m sure the filmmakers were hoping to recreate that with…this. They didn’t. First off, if you’re going to make a horror movie – embrace it. Go for the R rating. This one has a PG-13 rating that surely impacted the film’s performance as they were trying to appeal to a wider market. The same fate bestowed Night Swim, about a haunted swimming pool (yes, you read that correctly). I wonder if they learned their lesson? And when it comes to movies about imaginary friends, well…there are several of those out there as well. With a couple strikes against it, could Imaginary perform or are we better off watching something else. Let’s find out.

We meet an artist, Jessica (DeWanda Wise) who is returning back to her childhood home. She has a new husband and her stepchildren: Alice (Pyper Braun) and Taylor (Taegen Burns). As we might assume, there’s a mystery as to what happened to Jessica as a child. And it so happens that Alice makes an imaginary friend of her own. Again, as we might expect, things start to happen as Jessica figures out there might be a correlation between the two. I could go on with plot points and such, but fear not – if you can’t figure out what’s coming a mile away, then perhaps use the time you’d likewise spend watching this to learn a few things about filmmaking.

I’m always hesitant to classify movies as “good” or “bad.” I feel there’s got to be at least one redeemable thing in every film out there. And, of course, some have more than others. Movies about creepy teddy bears and imaginary friends aren’t really commonplace, so when we get one it’s best to ensure they get it right. I think they missed the mark with this one. As alluded to before, the film’s PG-13 rating most likely hindered a lot of missed opportunities. Didn’t they learn anything from films like Nope, Us or Get Out? Evidently not. If you really want to be scared, there are plenty of other (better) films to choose from. But if you’re stuck watching this one for some odd reason, I suppose you could do worse.

Video: How’s it look?

This film is on the darker side both in physical tone and metaphorically. But the Blu-ray’s included 2.39:1 AVC HD encode handles the “darkness” with the greatest of ease. In the past, some films like this might have been plagued with grain, noise in the shadows and so forth. That’s not the case here. Flesh tones are a bit on the washed out side, but that’s not a fault of the transfer, rather the way it was intended. Contrast and black levels remain strong throughout and I was quite impressed with the overall clarity. It’s a new movie, to be sure, but this looks pretty darn good.

Audio: How’s it sound?

It’s not often that we get a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on a “plain and simple” Blu-ray. But hey, we’ve got one and I’m not going to complain. As with most movies of this genre, there are no shortage of “jump scares” though after a few, they lose their effect. The opening sequence provides a good use of sound while the film’s third act gives us what we were waiting for. Vocals are sharp, pure and crisp. It’s a great track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – If the movie was your thing – congratulations. We can never be friends. Just kidding. Director Jeff Wadlow and actress DeWanda Wise do sit down for a fairly engaging track. Admittedly, I didn’t pay quite as much attention as I should, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be graded afterwards. Suffice it to say that if you’re a fan, this is right up your alley. For the rest of us, though…
  • Imaginary: Exploring the Never Ever – The obligatory multi-part featurette that should have just been one feature is included. We get the typical things with chatting from the actors, the director and so forth. It’s a bit engaging, but honestly – if you do watch these are you ever going to watch them again? Right. Me neither.

The Bottom Line

I can see the appeal in Imaginary. It could have been much better. But, in the “yes, really” department, it could have also been much worse. When it comes to movies about teddy bears, I’ll stick with Ted (or Ted 2). That said, Lionsgate’s disc does look and sound great so if you’re a fan, there’s little to complain about.

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