Genre(s): Horror, Suspense
Lionsgate | R – 111 min. – $19.99 | March 29, 2011
Directed by: Wes Craven
Writer(s): Kevin Williamson (written by)
Cast: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore
Theatrical Release Date: December 20, 1996
Features: Feature Commentary, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 4.25/5
There were probably many reasons why Scream shouldn’t have been a success. You have a couple TV stars (Courtney Cox on “Friends”, Neve Campbell on “Party of Five”), a star not yet on the rebound (Drew Barrymore), a slew semi-unknowns (David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy and Rose McGowan), a new writer and a director who was in need of a hit after the turkey known as Vampire in Brooklyn. Add in a December release date for a horror film and all the ingredients were there for a classic bomb, the kind of film you pass by the shelves at Blockbuster and vaguely remember it being in theaters. What we got instead was a horror film that redefined the genre, two sequels (with a third on the way) and a cast who is better known even if they mostly have not gone on to bigger and better things.
The story you already know: A serial killer known as “Ghostface” is offing people from the quaint little town of Woodsboro where a year earlier the mother of our main character, Sidney Prescott (CAMPBELL), was murdered and her killer (LIEV SCHREIBER in a very brief appearance) was sent to prison based off of Sidney’s testimony. Who is the killer? What does he (or she) want? What’s the motive? What are the rules to make it out alive of a horror movie?
That last bit is why Scream is a classic even if it’s only been 15 years. Screenwriter Kevin Williamson took the horror genre and all of its clichés and turned it on its head bringing us a new era which some have tried to emulate but few succeeded. Ironically enough, Williamson would go on to sell another horror screen in the form of I Know What You Did Last Summer which also had an interesting cast but with a ho-hum, been there plot, the kind Scream was mocking.
Now, while this is a horror classic, I’ve always had a couple issues mainly with the convenient comings and goings of the killer. Spoiler territory here but even with two killers, how he manages to plan almost to the slightest detail to get and out of tight spaces in mere seconds before the intended victim turns around is a bit much, also it makes no sense as to why in one scene “Ghostface” is seen inside a convenience store seemingly following Sidney and best friend Tatum (ROSE MCGOWAN). I know Wes Craven chalks it up to being in Sidney’s head or something along those lines but it makes no sense. Another issue – and this is really minor – but in another bout of convenience all the parents are seemingly gone. As I said, it’s a minor thing, but it’s something that always struck me as odd.
All that being said, Scream is one hell of a horror flick and one that deserves its place with the likes of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13thbecause years later it still works so well even with the typical mid ‘90s technology. Neve Campbell has been resistant to keep going with the franchise and although she’s not nearly on the same level as Jamie Lee Curtis, she plays up the part of Sidney so well with both vulnerability and strength which only grew with each subsequent sequel.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2/5
All of the features, sans a trivia game, have been ported over from the original DVD release (and all are in SD): An informative commentary by Craven and Williamson, a boring and short production featurette (6:12), an even shorter On the Scream Set (3:25) featurette which gives a fly-on-the-wall view of the production; Drew Barrymore (2:53) where the actress gets her own fly-on-the-wall featurette; a Q&A with Cast and Crew (TRT 5:15) which is just sound bites from interviews; and trailers and TV Spots for Scream.
There are also previews for Scream 4, Saw Blu-rays releases and general Lionsgate Blu-ray horror releases.
VIDEO – 3.25/5
Scream makes its United States debut (it’s been available in Canada for some time now) and overall, it’s not a bad looking transfer and sure as heck an upgrade over the letterboxed DVD version, but there are times that it wasn’t so hot. While the film does seem to be void of dust, scratches and other flaws, at the same time, however, I wonder if the DNR process was used as there were a couple times that the image looked too devoid of noise or film grain. That being said, there were also many more instances where the image looked… blotchy and even oversaturated. So needless to say, this is a mixed bag of a transfer but because it is an improvement over the DVD version, I moved the rating from a 3 to a 3.25 with prejudice.
AUDIO – 4/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track meanwhile is quite good if not par for the course compared with other catalog Blu-ray releases. You get a solid range from the blood-curdling screams (of course) to Marco Beltrami’s fantastic and now instantly identifiable score which makes use of every channel. Dialogue levels were also very good being clear and easy to understand throughout. This is most certainly an upgrade over the DVD’s letterboxed widescreen transfer.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, I can’t say it enough that the original Scream is right up there with Halloween and Friday the 13th with an amazing cast ensemble and a production that overcame the odds and made an iconic movie. Although the Blu-ray doesn’t quite measure up to expectations in both the video transfer and features department (would’ve been nice to include some of the material from the bonus disc), it’s still a slight upgrade over the original DVD.