Tigers Are Not Afraid (Blu-ray Review)

Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray ReviewA haunting horror fairytale set against the backdrop of Mexico’s devastating drug wars. Tigers Are Not Afraid follows a group of orphaned children, armed with three magical wishes, running from the ghosts that haunt them and the cartel that murdered their parents. Filmmaker Issa Lopez creates a world that recalls the early films of Guillermo del Toro, imbued with her own gritty urban spin on magical realism to conjure a wholly unique experience that audiences will not soon forget.

Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray Review



Tigers Are Not Afraid is the daunting fairytale of a group of orphaned Mexican children who navigate their world with caution and a shared optimism of being more than the sum of their parts. They survive by stealing property and pick-pocketing. They are also armed with three wishes. After one of the boys steals the wrong mobile phone from the wrong person, it brings danger to entire clan of youths.

The film does a fantastic job in getting the audience to feel for the children, because they act as our guides through their treacherous surroundings. They also live in a world where most of the law-abiding adults, and their parents, have all gone missing and assumed murdered by the local drug cartels that control their city. The kids are left to squat in abandoned buildings or sleep on rooftops next to fuel drum campfires. Sprinkled throughout this “reality” is the fantasy element that starts out subtle before really coming to a head.

I had been hearing rumblings about Tigers Are Not Afraid for over a year. I knew it was a dark film in terms of subject matter and presentation. I know it garnered more attention when Guillermo del Toro mentioned it and eventually championed it. It is finally available on Blu-ray for the entire world to see and experience one of the best mature fairytales since Pan’s Labyrinth. Personally, I think it shares more with Devil’s Backbone, City of God, and a dash of Lord of the Flies.

Not only is Tigers Are Not Afraid a great film filled with horrors, reality, and fantasy, but it’s also a touching piece if cinema. One of the cool things I enjoyed about the film was when I watched the TIFF interview with writer-director Issa Lopez and Guillermo del Toro and she mentions that this is one of the purest projects that she has ever worked on. I won’t ruin the story, but please watch the TIFF interview in the special features for more insight. Tigers Are Not Afraid is a great film and the future looks brighter than ever for filmmaker Issa Lopez!


Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray Review


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: The Blu-ray has near-reference video quality from beginning to end. Contrast and sharpness levels appear nice and steady, free from unnatural post-production tinkering.

Depth: Tigers Are Not Afraid on Blu-ray has incredible depth – certain scenes appear three-dimensional depending on the composition. I keep my fingers crossed for a future 4K release.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky. Crush was never a problem.

Color Reproduction:  The color palette is rich and vibrant, especially during certain scenes involving the fantasy realm.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look about as natural as can be all things considered. The make-up department did a great job making the children look malnourished and pretty beat up. The Blu-ray transfer enhances this.

Noise/Artifacts: The Blu-ray does not suffer from any noise or artifact inconsistencies.

Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray Review


Audio Format(s): Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Well, there’s no need to sugarcoat the audio rating on this Blu-ray release, because as soon as the opening production credits roll, you can tell that the lossless soundtrack will be hitting viewers right between the eyes and ears.

Low-Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel rumbles and shakes during the many instances involving danger. There are many scenes involving characters in enclosed spaces, where a possible supernatural rumble can be felt.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels were the best part of the soundtrack. It was a three-dimensional experience, as this world circled around me as I watched the children travel this dangerous world of theirs. The surround sound channels were clear and distinct and never ran into the front speakers, which was greatly appreciated.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and easy to understand (yes, I know the film is in Spanish), but the subtitles keep up. Personally, I watched it in Spanish since I speak Spanish – I always go for the original language – there’s an English dub, but screw that.

Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray Review


The special features included in Tigers Are Not Afraid are all of quality. There’s an entertaining and informative audio commentary included featuring writer-director Issa Lopez in which she explains the origins of the project and how it came to completion. There’s a cool conversation featuring Lopez and Guillermo del Toro from TIFF, which is also pretty cool. The making-of featurette, deleted scenes, casting sessions, etc., round out the rest of the set.

  • The Making of Tigers Are Not Afraid
  • Interview with Guillermo del Toro and Issa Lopez at Toronto International Film Festival
  • Director’s Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Casting Sessions
  • Photo Galleries
  • DVD

Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray Review


Tigers Are Not Afraid was a great thrill ride featuring both beauty and despair and even optimism. It’s definitely a mature fairytale that does not mince words or actions in depicting the harsh realities of how it is in certain parts of the world. The Blu-ray steelbook edition of Tigers Are Not Afraid is a fantastic release that has great video, reference sound quality, and entertaining special features. Tigers Are Not Afraid is up there on my list as one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2020!


Tigers Are Not Afraid is

available on Blu-ray & DVD!




Tigers Are Not Afraid Blu-ray Review


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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