The Perfect Husband Blu-ray Review

An English remake of a terrifying Italian thriller

A married couple’s secluded weekend getaway becomes a nightmare when one of them completely snaps. The Perfect Husband by Italian writer/director Lucas Pavetto is psychological horror in the giallo tradition, updated for the 21st Century. Made by an Italian crew, the English-language film stars Bret Roberts and Gabriella Wright. Neither are household names but both make an impression in their lead roles, especially Wright.

The Perfect Husband is a film consciously made for uncomfortable viewing. It is designed to push you into a state of unease until it rips off the niceties and reveals the raw horror. The movie’s terror and violence are fairly realistic, if extreme, when the set-up finally pays off. This is not a movie you’ll want to see if you can’t handle its shocking depiction of violence towards women.

What makes it more frightening is how realistic everything plays out until a certain point in the film’s plot. In the beginning this movie is an intimate psychological drama between two spouses, almost misleading as to its true nature. What begins as a quiet relationship drama about an unhappy couple quickly becomes a fight for survival as the blood begins to fly everywhere.

After a recent family problem that Viola (Gabriella Wright) is still recovering from, Nicola (Bret Roberts) takes her to his family’s isolated cabin for a romantic getaway. While their relationship is seemingly happy on the surface, there are problems going on with both of them. Nicola is a jealous husband, slightly paranoid Viola is cheating on him. Viola is mentally fragile and distant, wandering off at times to be alone. She’s hiding her smoking habit from Nicola. The signs are there this marriage has serious problems. Nicola is hoping this getaway will improve Viola’s happiness.

Right when things are starting to look up, everything falls apart and morphs into a living nightmare of blind rage. Away from civilization, things turn bloody and a desperate fight for survival ensues.

… this is independent horror that doesn’t feel constrained by genre conventions.

Expanded to feature length and adapted from Pavetto’s own Italian short film made in 2009, The Perfect Husband will bore some horror fans with its first two acts. Almost everything is saved for a crazy final act filled with blood and terror. Establishing the current relationship Viola and Nicola have is necessary but feels drawn out.

Director Lucas Pavetto clearly had ambitions for The Perfect Husband as a serious piece of filmmaking, if graphically violent with a nod to horror slashers. Seen as a creative ghetto by many professional critics, this is independent horror that doesn’t feel constrained by genre conventions. He mostly succeeds at that aim in this disturbing psychological thriller. It’s a finely crafted film with real weight behind it, unusual for giallo films.

Gabriella Wright shines as Viola. She carries the film’s tedious parts with her charisma as the vulnerable Viola. In the grand tradition of Italian splatter films, there is more going on with Viola than one may initially suspect. It’s a careful, nuanced performance that elevates The Perfect Husband beyond its mere genre limitations. Bret Roberts gives a solid, if predictable, performance as Nicola. If The Perfect Husband ultimately fails to live up to its inherent promise, it is his character’s fault. The script does his doting husband character no favors. It never truly reveals what makes Nicola tick as a person.

The Perfect Husband is intense psychological horror built around the bonds of marriage. It’s likely too careful in its pacing to entertain everyone, which is a shame. This is thoughtfully constructed horror that generates suspense and eventually delivers on that promise with a wild final act.

The Perfect Husband Blu-ray screen shot 8

Video

Artsploitation Films presents the 2014 thriller in a steady Hi-Def presentation. The digitally shot film offers muted colors in clean definition. This doesn’t feature outstanding resolution or eye-popping clarity, limited by its choice in camera. The 84-minute main feature is encoded in AVC on a BD-25. There are compression artifacts, including light chroma noise in darker shots and occasional banding. It is shown at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

This is adequate picture quality that doesn’t undercut the film’s suspense. Some tinkering with the film’s color timing skews flesh-tones. The restrained palette has tinges of a teal push. I’m not sure it strikes the right tone, betraying the plot’s ultimate turn toward madness. The cinematography by Davide Mancia is adequate. There are disparities between interiors and the better exteriors in depth.

Black levels are never truly black. That is likely due to the nature of the camera used to shoot the movie. The video does offer a consistent contrast with fine clarity. The Italian film looks okay on Blu-ray. This is one case where shooting with actual film may have been a better choice for the moody movie. I guess independent filmmakers often don’t have that luxury.

Audio

The English soundtrack is heard in a decent 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack at the unusual 512 kbps figure. I say unusual because I’ve never come across that audio resolution on a Dolby Digital track before. The problems are less with the sound design and more with its actual mix. Dialogue is placed very low in the mix, barely audible in a few scenes unless one rides the volume control. This most affects scenes inside the cabin between Viola and Nicola.

The actual recording quality is fine for an independent production. One odd thing is that one minor character has their dialogue completely dubbed over, obvious from the poor lip-synching. There is some minor surround activity heard with directional cues. The score by Guiseppe Capozzolo is a moody, minor-key affair.

Optional English SDH subtitles display in a white font inside the scope framing at all times.

Extras

In many ways Pavetto’s original Italian short is stronger than his English remake, cutting out much of the latter’s opening act.

Il Marito Perfecto (40:03 in HD; Italian 2.0 Dolby Digital) – Director Lucas Pavetto’s original Italian film serves as the template for The Perfect Husband. In many ways it’s a tighter experience, eliminating the slow build-up. It is shown in Italian with English subtitles.

The Perfect Husband Behind the Scenes (25:53 in HD) – This is a raw, mostly unedited look behind the scenes as Pavetto directs on the set. You get a great idea of how he interacts with his cast and crew, though some of it is in Italian.

Artsploitation Films Trailers –

Fever Trailer (00:51 in HD)

Observance Trailer (01:46 in HD)

Der Bunker Trailer (02:48 in HD)

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

  • The Perfect Husband
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Summary

A psychological thriller with a much bloodier and twisted finale than expected.

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User Review
4 (1 vote)

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