Imaginary (Blu-ray Review)

I have always been fond of the horror genre. Ever since I was a little kid terrified of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, yes you read it right… I have had a very real fascination with the genre. There’s definitely something psychological going on while you watch a horror film, and in my opinion something almost therapeutic.  You’re able to face the fear in the dark with an audience or at home and come out OK despite your discomfort.  That’s sort of special isn’t it? Blumhouse has been churning out films steadily over the last decade or so, with some sizable success with PG-13 horror films such as the Insidious series or M3gan . We’ve also got some R-rated thrills with Jordan Peele’s masterpiece Get Out, the rebooted Halloween trilogy, or the comical The Hunt. Now we have Imaginary, which I won’t even wait until after the jump to tell you was a massive disappointment. Read more about Imaginary below, and if you feel so inclined after my review, there’s a paid Amazon link accessible by clicking the cover art at the end!


When Jessica moves back into her childhood home with her family, her youngest stepdaughter, Alice, finds a stuffed bear named Chauncey. As Alice’s behavior becomes more and more concerning, Jessica intervenes only to realize that Chauncey is much more than the stuffed toy bear she believed him to be.

Reading the synopsis should give you a very slight hint of the type of horror film that Imaginary is. Like Child’s Play and even M3gan before it, Imaginary is a film hinging on a child taking a liking to a supernaturally alive inanimate object.  Moving slowly from scene to scene is concerned stepmother Jessica, whose youngest stepdaughter Alice has discovered her childhood teddy bear Chauncey.  It’s all harmless until Jessica and Alice’s vapid teenaged sister Taylor notice strange things happening with Alice. At one point Alice is rattling off tasks on a list that includes self-harm.  Jessica hires a therapist to assess Alice and even the therapist can’t shake that something very wrong is happening to Alice.

Cue the babysitter of the past, Gloria, a cryptic old lady who never seems genuine for a second, but whom Jessica and Taylor blindly follow when Alice is taken to the “Never Ever Realm” by Chauncey the bear…. Yes, you read all that right.  Everything is handled in such a ham-handed, made for basic cable way throughout the film. To get through the whole thing is a slog, with zero scares, and not one believable performance save for little Pyper Braun, who deserves to be in a better film.  DeWanda Wise who made better headway in Jurassic World: Dominion and Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It, sleepwalks through this film, which she is an executive producer on.  I only wish the creators had collectively worked to get something more out of the concept,

This leads me to the style of the movie.  Immediately as the film begins the look of the film is so dark you’re squinting even in the dark to see anything.  Was this a conscious choice? Was the budget that tight? Large chunks of this mess are swathed in a crushed Black Sea of nothing. I watched the film in the dark on my very bright, calibrated TV and was still squinting and wondering what the hell was going on. Had it not been for sound and good guessing, I might still be confused.

At the end of the day, Imaginary will be a stain on the Blumhouse name, and will no doubt be forgotten. This isn’t even in a so-bad-it’s-good category.  To steal from other, better films without even an inkling of good taste is a disappointment.  To waste not only DeWanda Wise but also Betty Buckley (who plays Gloria and has been way better in many other things) is a crime.  Wise is someone who I expect more from, because even in lesser films or shows she has been good, but here she is fully asleep.  I can’t say that I’m not shocked though.  We are talking about a film written and directed by Jeff Wadlow, who also gave us Bloodshot, Truth or Dare, Never Back Down and Fantasy Island. I don’t think many people would defend any of those films, and this one is just another crapshoot to add to the pile.  Skip it.


Stills are for promotional use only and not from the Blu-ray.

Encoding: MPEG-4/AVC

Resolution: HD

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1


Layers: BD-50

Details: Imaginary comes to Blu-ray with a disappointing and dark digital transfer.  I can’t tell you just how hard everything is to see in dark scenes.  There are scenes at night, in another realm and in basements. Anything taking place in the daytime is even slightly dim. There isn’t much in the way of imaginative cinematography and special effects shots not only look phony, but also are somewhat hard to see.

Depth:  Not much to see as far as depth goes as the murk of the darkness kind of sucks the depth of field out of the picture.

Color Reproduction: Colors on the film are muted and dark. Color tones are muted and bland a lot of the time and again, so much darkness, so little color…

Black Levels: Blacks are deep black and that’s most of the film. Blacks often feel crushed.

Flesh Tones: Dark and often hard to see, but when they’re brought to light, flesh tones are even and nicely rendered.

Noise/Artifacts: None.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish and French

Dynamics: At least Imaginary got something right.  The Dolby Atmos mix provides depth and clarity along with some busy atmospheric activity.  At least the movie sounds good.

Height: From above, we can hear echoes and off-screen voices and sounds.  This is also apparent with some thunder in the “Never Ever Realm”, with other more ambient sounds popping up throughout.

Low-Frequency Extension: Bass comes with sound effects and jump scares and hits hard! These moments are not frequent but when they come, they come with power.

Surround Sound Presentation: Surround sound elements are busy like the height speakers, but offering more natural placement of ambience, especially in the house that a big hunk of the movie takes place in.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue sounds intelligible and center staged.


Extras for Imaginary are small. We have a multi-part documentary split into 4 parts and totaling 18 minutes. There is also a commentary from Director Jeff Wadlow and DeWanda Wise. There is a slipcover and a digital code to go with the bundled DVD.


I have no doubt that Imaginary has an audience.  This film is very much tween-centric and therefore it’s a mindless, dull task for anyone over 21 to get through.  I haven’t felt like I’ve wasted time on a film in a while, but with the visual presentation along with the overall execution of Imaginary, I simply cannot recommend it.

  1. No Comments