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"Scream" - (4) - {Blu-ray}
John A. Reese
Studio: Anchor Bay/Weinstein Company
Release Date:
October 4th, 2011
Special Features:

See Below


"Scream" came out in 1996 and it was credited with revitalizing the horror genre. After years of sub-par sequels based off of great horror movies like "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street", it was a relief to see a clever and scary slasher film. The best aspect about Scream is that it poked fun at classic movie clichés and still ended up providing enough thrills to satisfy hardcore horror fans and general audiences. Since "Scream" was a sleeper hit, two more sequels were released.

"Scream 2", which came out a year later, was just as good as the first one. However, "Scream 3" was a huge step down from the previous movies and the franchise went into retirement. Now it has been about ten years after the last Scream movie, and the filmmakers were aiming the make a new trilogy starting with Scream 4. However, was the world really begging for another Scream movie? The film begins on the fifteenth anniversary of the original Woodsboro murders. After an innovative intro, two high school students are murdered by a new killer wearing the infamous Ghostface costume.

The heroine of the Scream franchise, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), is now a successful writer and returns to Woodsboro to promote her new book the day after the murders. However, it looks like Sidney cannot catch a break as the police find some evidence related to the murders in her rental car. Now, Sidney must stay in town since she is a suspect in this new case. At the same time we are introduced to some new characters which include Sidney's cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), and her friends Olivia Morris (Marielle Jaffe) and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), who receive some threatening calls from the Ghostface Killer. Plus Sidney reunites with Dewey Riley (David Arquette), who is now the sheriff of Woodsboro, and his wife Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox). Those two were are the main characters from the previous films. After several murders Dewey is reluctant on letting Gale get involved with the case. So Gale decides to solve it herself since she has already been through these situations in the past movies. Then she meets two high school movie geeks, Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin) and Robbie Mercer (Erik Knudsen), who give her advice on the killer's next move. From this point on I am going to stop because we start running into some major spoilers. Did the world really need another Scream movie? Yes, it did. I was really surprised by this movie. I was expecting another bland sequel to a tired franchise, but the film was pretty good.

The film was funny and filled with witty dialogue. Plus there were enough kills and screams to satisfy the horror movie standards. I liked how the film poked fun at the new crop of horror films from the 2000's, and there were some surprisingly good moments in the film that made me remember why I loved this franchise. Compared to the latest crop of bland horror films (Final Destination, Hostel, Saw), it was a breath of fresh air. I did have a couple of problems with the movie. First of all Neve Campbell seemed to be on auto pilot throughout this whole film. It was great to see Sidney Prescott again, but it felt like she was going through the motions. That goes for the other two returning actors, Arquette and Cox. All of their performances were not terrible, but the characters were not as interesting as they were in the previous movies. Also there were some major plot holes in the movie.

For example the characters in "Scream 4" were all aware of horror movie clichés, yet some of them still ventured out at night by themselves while there was a serial killer on the loose. In addition, it was apparent that the Woodsboro Police Force were totally incompetent at doing their jobs. This was the second time a massacre like this had happened, so you think that the Woodsboro police would get assistance from the state police or even the FBI. Nevertheless, there was still a lot to like about this film..

Image & Sound:

Video and Audio: The 1080p Blu-ray transfer of "Scream 4" is excellent as the details and coloring look great on TV. The night scenes are not too dark, which is a sign of relief. You can still see what is going during the shadowy scenes. The audio presentation for "Scream 4" is just as excellent as the video presentation. The score is high quality and the clarity of the dialogue is clear and concise. Plus the surround sound really immerses you in all the action scenes without it being too loud. -----

Special Features:

There are a decent amount of extras on the "Scream 4" disc. There is an audio commentary with Director Wes Craven and Stars Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts. In addition, Neve Campbell appears for about 45 minutes via telephone. The track has the basic elements like the picture's structure, location details, scrapped and re-imagined ideas and some enjoyable banter. It is decent, but nothing too engaging. Then there are some deleted and extended scenes which total clock in at about 26 minutes. Plus Craven gives audio commentary with these scenes, which is nice.

There is a gag reel and a featurette called "The Making of Scream 4", which is too short in my opinion. There is also a "Scream 4" video game promotion. In addition, the Blu-ray also comes with a DVD and Digital copy of the film, which is always a nice perk. However, all of the special features with the exception of the "Scream 4" video game promotion are in standard definition. If you are paying for a Blu-ray copy, then everything should be in high definition.

Final Words:

Despite its flaws, "Scream 4" is a good horror movie and the best one I have seen all year. It is a welcome return to the franchise, and I will be as bold to say that it is the best one since the original. It is smart, funny, thrilling, and it proves why Wes Craven is one of the best horror directors of all time. If you are tired of the torture porn movies (Hostel, Saw) and found footage movies (Paranormal Activity), then "Scream 4" is a welcome relief.


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