The Treatment Blu-ray Review

A chilling Belgium crime thriller that explores the darkest depths of human evil

The Treatment is the most disturbing crime drama I’ve ever seen done in a realistic manner. The Belgium film follows a desperate police detective investigating a case involving a pedophile and a missing child. Taking cues from David Fincher’s demented Seven, the dark thriller pushes every possible button in its intricate narrative. Artfully made by Flemish director Hans Herbots, The Treatment’s unflinching portrayals of physical and mental torture will greatly polarize viewers. The subject matter is so graphic and disturbing that many simply won’t be able to process it like a normal movie. The Treatment is an uncompromising movie from beginning to end.

The unsettling premise of The Treatment is based on British author Mo Hayder’s international bestselling book. Police inspector Nick Cafmeyer is investigating a mysterious case that is critical in finding a missing child before the child turns up murdered. An unknown person kidnapped the child’s family and locked them up for three days, only to disappear with the child when interrupted. The parents barely survive the ordeal and the information they give the police isn’t helpful in finding the child or stopping this person from committing the act again. Soon Nick is drawn into a world of pedophiles, child slavery rings and even more unspeakable dangers as he hopes to discover the missing child in time. He will need every ounce of his detective skills to solve this deepening quagmire.

A haunting unsolved mystery from Nick’s past unexpectedly appears in the middle of his investigation that pushes the desperate inspector even further down the looking glass. The troubling connection between Nick’s past and this case comes to the surface, threatening to sweep away any chance of rescuing the child. The lonely Nick is driven to solve it by any means necessary, all the while dealing with his own problems.

The utterly realistic and convincing criminal drama explores the darkest recesses of the human psyche…

The Treatment is the kind of movie you merely survive watching. It’s draining emotionally due to its grim subject matter and tone, many will simply check out before it ends. The utterly realistic and convincing criminal drama explores the darkest recesses of the human psyche, experienced through Nick’s tortured and confused path as he attempts to solve the case. The ongoing mystery is purposely left vague on details. An incredibly stunning reveal happens in The Treatment’s last act about the nature of this “treatment” by the serial killer. It’s possibly the most dehumanizing and sickening element of a movie that pushes its subject matter to the limit. The most horrifying things on film are not vampires or other fictional creatures, but the true psychological terror of knowing this could actually happen in our world.

This is not a movie for everyone. The Treatment will likely earn a notorious reputation like A Serbian Film as Euro horror that takes things one step too far. It’s not told or shot in an exploitative fashion but can’t help escaping that reputation. Despite being presented with clockwork precision, the crimes it covers in minute detail are so vile and heinous that ordinary viewers are warned to avoid if possible. The Treatment is a depressing statement on some very depraved parts of humanity which sadly exist in the real world.

Movie ★★☆☆☆

The Treatment Blu-ray screen shot 2

Artsploitation Films delivers a decent, if unspectacular, presentation for The Treatment on Blu-ray. This is not a reference Blu-ray by any stretch but delivers a mostly satisfying Hi-Def experience. The 131-minute main feature is encoded in AVC at 16.15 Mbps. It should be noted that The Treatment is limited to 500 copies and all of them will be on BD-Rs. They’ve promised switching to replicated BDs for all future releases. The 1080P video does receive a sub-par video encode, leading to moderate banding and some other examples of compression artifacts. The Treatment is presented in its native 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

The sharp picture has its inconsistencies. Some ISO noise creeps into the digital cinematography. The overly dark shading strikes the right mood for the gritty thriller but limits how much depth it creates. As you would expect, the drab palette strongly avoids brighter primary colors. Contrast and shadow delineation are ordinary.

The unfiltered transfer lacks incredible detail, though it does help set an appropriate tone. The Treatment looks fairly standard on Blu-ray in the noir/crime category, lacking some of the polish and clarity seen in bigger Hollywood productions.

Video ★★★☆☆

The primary soundtrack is an average 5.1 Dutch Dolby Digital soundtrack at 448 kbps. The lack of lossless audio is puzzling but Artsploitation Films is rather new to the Blu-ray game. The dialogue-driven film has a somber, moody score. The mix adds a touch of atmosphere but most of it occurs up front. I couldn’t tell if the lack of punch was due to the film or the lack of a lossless audio choice.

Optional English and English SDH subtitles are included for the Belgium movie. They display in an off-white font inside the scope aspect ratio at all times.

Audio ★★★☆☆

The Treatment Trailer (02:17 in HD)

Premiere Featurette (07:42 in HD) – A mildly informative piece from the night of the movie’s premiere with the director and critical cast members. We get a better sense of what the director wanted to tell in the movie.

Deleted Scenes (08:30 in HD) – Five short deleted scenes that were mostly cut for time. The movie’s pacing is a little stretched out as it is, adding these scenes would have made it seem even longer. None of them materially change the narrative.

Der Samurai Trailer (01:53 in HD)

Horsehead Trailer (02:29 in HD)

The House With 100 Eyes Trailer (01:44 in HD)

Reckless Trailer (01:49 in HD)

Extras ★★☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For more information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.