The Spine of Night (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Spine Night 4K UHD Blu-rayThis epic fantasy tale, about the history of a land that never was, begins when an ambitious young man steals forbidden knowledge from a sacred plant. He falls to its darker temptations and in so doing, unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. As his power grows over the years, it falls to people of different ilk and culture to attempt to stop him. Among those who stand against him are a daring tomb-robber, star-crossed lovers, a maniacal necromancer, winged assassins, and an undying guardian. The Spine of Night is now available on 4K UHD Blu-ray!

Spine Night UHD Blu-ray


The Spine of Night is one of those animated films that crept in under my radar. I had no idea what it was or where it came from. I just saw that it had some fantastic artwork on the steelbook and some cool R-rated trailers. On that alone we were off to a great start.

The Spine of Night is the story of various peoples brought together by the lure and legend of a small blue flower. Whoever possesses this blue flower has the power to take over the world. The film is spread out through different timelines and many different people have come into possession of the blue flower, with differing points of view on how to use and cultivate its power. Not everyone wants it for good.

What Spine of Night does well is how it weaves different timelines seamlessly. The film only runs a little over 90-minutes, but feels like a fully fleshed out epic twice its length, like Conan the Barbarian or even Beastmaster. We go from a fantasy sword and sorcery tale to full on steampunk and science fiction. It’s a nice touch that kept me engaged. Not only was I fully engaged, but the action and violence were hardcore.

There’s plenty of familiar talent lending their vocals to the project. Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, and Joe Manganiello provide awesome and distinct voices to these characters.

The biggest selling point of the film is that it was done via rotoscope, which means that actors were shot in live action on sets, and the animators drew and painted over them. A tedious process, so much so, that from beginning to end this project was about seven years in the making. It was a labor of love that came through in the end. It reminded me of the old Ralph Bakshi films, along with the Heavy Metal film. It’s not for kids and features full frontal male/female nudity. With this 4K UHD Blu-ray release I hope more people discover The Spine of Night for themselves. It’s a journey worth taking.


Spine Night UHD Blu-ray


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 2160p

Dolby Vision: No



Size: BD-66

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: The Spine of Night is a 2-D animated film and unfortunately does not received an HDR or Dolby Vision pass. It’s 4K SDR. Some of the character designs are basic and lack detail, but the painted backgrounds and special effects do stand out in a positive way.

Depth: The character animations lacked depth by design but the painted backgrounds really popped out, as did some of the sporadic CGI effects.

Black Levels: Black levels were deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: The characters do not have three-dimensional shading, they’re mainly painted in one solid color, whether it’s skin or clothing. The scenes involving bursts of color really benefit in 4K. Banding was not an issue here.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: There’s a healthy coat of fine grain that adds some nice texture to the characters, who are generally “flat” in their depictions.

Spine Night UHD Blu-ray



Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: The Spine of Night has a full DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. There is no immersive audio on this release. What we do get is a pretty dynamic soundtrack since this is a hybrid film in terms of its themes involving fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE-subwoofer gets to shine during the various action sequences. From charging warriors to low thuds of swords crushing skulls, the bass design is terrific on this release.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels are used sparingly – mainly for ambiance. Arrows and whirling demons do hang out in the back, but those scenes are few and far between.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are relatively clean and crisp. Depending on who is speaking, the tone may sound soft in timbre.

Spine Night UHD Blu-ray


There’s a full making-of featurette that absolutely rocks. On a film like this, I really wanted to see how they made it. Since it’s a rotoscoped feature, looking at the raw filming elements is such a trip, because it’s low budget and looks beyond hokey. Once the art is overlaid, then you can see how much work went into the overall process. The Mongrel and Exordium shorts are also cool but have a crudeness to them since those are pretty much DIY one-man shows. Stuff from those shorts was ported over to Spine of Night.


  • The Making of The Spine of Night
  • Exordium and Mongrel Short Films
  • Blu-ray
  • Steelbook (4K UHD Blu-ray only)


Spine Night UHD Blu-ray



The Spine of Night was really cool project and the 4K UHD Blu-ray (SDR) was awesome. The technical specs were top notch and I really enjoyed the special features. It was a nostalgic trip down animation memory lane, but such a brand-new beast of its own. The Spine of Night is highly recommended!



The Spine of Night is now available on

4K UHD Blu-ray!


Paid Advertising Link


Spine Night 4K UHD Blu-ray


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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