The Sender (Blu-ray Review)

SenderTwo-time Academy Award-nominee Shirley Knight (Best Supporting Actress for Dark At The Top Of The Stairs and Sweet Bird Of Youth) stars as the malevolent mother of the mysterious psychiatric patient known as John Doe #83 in the chiller The Sender.  As terrifying, dream-like episodes escalate, the audience is drawn into a realm that lies between the waking and sleeping world.  Rounding out the cast in the Roger Christian (Bandido, Prisoners Of The Sun) directed film are Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark) as Dr. Denman, Dr. Farmer’s skeptical colleague, and Shirley Knight (As Good As It Gets) as Jerolyn, a woman who holds the clue to the identity of The Sender.

Sender 4


In this psychological horror film, John Doe #83, a patient admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. When Dr. Gail Farmer, the psychiatrist assigned to his case, begins experiencing vivid hallucinations, she suspects that she may be telepathically connected to her new patient, envisioning what he is experiencing in real time.

The Sender is a rock solid horror venture in the veins of mental hospital thrillers that seemed to have a little niche carved in the 70s and some of the 80s.  Apparently…and here’s an amalgum of crazy to get to this point…on the Hot Fuzz commentary, Quentin Tarantino mentions that this is his favorite horror film of 1982.  That’s a tall order considering films like Poltergeist, The Thing, Tenebrae and Creepshow came out that same year to name a few.  I would say it is in the top half for sure.

This is a horror film that maybe inspired many (I’m not sure it was), but one that kind has a predictable pattern you can trace around.  However, its actually well enough directed and performed that this works very well, still providing scares and carving its own niche to make it stand tall.  There are “all timer” scenes in this movie that should have any horror fan going nutso over.  My particular favorite is a bathroom scene where the mirrors crack on their own and then proceed to bleed out.  Its an incredible visual that is both shot and cut in such a way that you just can’t take your eyes away and don’t want it to end.

Bringing you this horror is director Roger Christian.  The Sender is his feature film debut.  His first?  It was the short film Black Angel.  Doesn’t ring a bell?  Black Angel ran before The Empire Strikes Back during its initial theatrical run.  It just became available for all to see on the internet this past year and a remake is apparently coming.  What might seem more familiar to you about Roger Christian is one of the biggest dumpster fires ever.  He is the man who whelmed the L. Ron Hubbard / John Travolta epic Battlefield: Earth.  Yeah, same guy.  Let’s just say he fairs better here in The Sender and shows much potential.

I may not be as high on The Sender as many, including Quentin Tarantino, are but I was engaged enough and had many take aways from it.  Kathryn Harrold gives a fine performance and it was great to see the work of a young Zeljko Ivanek playing our creepy patient John Doe #83.  All in all, a solid, spooky, vintage horror affair that many should definitely revisit this coming fall in October or whenever you fancy.

Sender 2


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  While being 1980s, its early 80s so this film has a very 1970s look, which this disc from Olive Films translates very well.  The image is as sharp as it can get without faking it and surprises with a clean look and plenty of detail.

Depth:  This one looks pretty decent.  Characters and objects appear free and loose in their environments.  Movements are cinematic and smooth.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and do hide some detail and also have a tiny bit of crushing present.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are kept in check to a natural look for the most part.  The red letter jacket on John Doe does pop quite a bit though.  Greens also translate nicely.

Flesh Tones:  Details look pretty solid in close ups as the skin tones stay natural and consistent throughout.

Noise/Artifacts:  Grain and specs/dirt throughout.  A minimal scratch or two happened, but they were very very small.  A few blocking issues do occur but probably won’t bee noticed by the untrained eye.

Sender 3


Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This little 2.0 track does its best to deliver the horror goods.  Sounds effects are varied in volume, loud and jumpy when they need to be and very well rounded and distinct.  Glass shattering sounds lovely here.  There is also a healthy balance between the vocals, music and effects without any of them stepping on one another.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Its a dialogue heavy film and the vocals are up to the occasion, delivering a clean and volume level appropriate performance.

Sender 5


The Sender contains no supplemental features.  Menu offers “Play Movie” and “Chapters”.

Sender 1


Olive Films delivers a very nice presentation of 1982’s The Sender.  The video and the audio both perform quite adequately.  I’m sure some are longing for some bonus material, but I must remind that this is the only release of the film on the Blu-ray format available in any country around the world.  If you’re a fan of the film, that’s the most important thing, that it looks and sounds nice, and here it does.  So pick it up and program it into your horror-marathon this coming fall and Halloween season.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

Comments are currently closed.