Scre4m Blu-ray Review
Scream 4 comes to US Region A-locked Blu-ray complete with a solid if unexceptional 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. I’m sure the presentation here is pretty reflective of the style that the director was going for – the same style prevalent in the previous trilogy – but unfortunately this does not always lend itself well towards demo-quality visuals; indeed you are not likely to stick on Scream 4 in an effort to show off your home cinema equipment.
Still detail is generally very good throughout, again, not exceptional, and suffering from more softness in the background, but overall pretty good, and consistent with what you would expect from such a recent, reasonably-budgeted release. The colour scheme is strong, rich and vibrant, the colours themselves running hot as is clearly intended, with many tones varying in quality depending whether the scenes were daytime, or indoor/night-time, the latter being far richer – particular in terms of blacks, which suddenly seem to come to life at night. There are issues: some blooming, moments where colours bleed, things like the police lights – but, again, it all appears intentional, just not all that pleasant, and, more often than not, really quite distracting. Overall it’s a strong but stylised video presentation that will never stand up to comparison against similar recent releases but does do the movie, and its intentional style, justice.
On the aural front we get a slightly easier-to-judge DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is indisputably impressive from start to finish. Dialogue gets keen presentation, largely dominating the fronts and centre channels where appropriate, and the score has an integral part to play in heightening the tension and keeping the pace going, taking over as the dominant lead wherever necessary. The effects, however, really show off the quality of this rendition; the movie boasts a wide array of noises and is clearly the perfect example of – all quiet... sudden shock noises – that you could think off, allowing for subtle atmospheric representation at one end, and all-out exaggerated slashes, body blows and gunshots at the other. Bass is an integral element in this mix and overall this is a superior aural accompaniment, which certainly does the film justice and goes some way towards making it an even more engulfing, atmospheric horror experience.
There’s a solid selection of extras on offer here, which cover all the bases, but still is not quite as substantial as you would expect from a franchise release of this size.
Director Wes Craven, returning actress Neve Campbell and newcomer stars Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere provide us with an engaging, entertaining accompaniment, which veers a little off-topic sometimes, and can be a bit giggly, but which does contain a fair amount of background information and trivia. Campbell’s contribution is limited, provided only by phone, halfway through, but that’s no huge loss, and Craven manages to keep on top of it all, imparting some nice notes about the script changes and style of the production; more than enough to keep fans interested.
The Making of Scream 4 – This fairly basis, largely fluffy EPK-esque 10-minute offering suffers from being far too short, and from including far too much final film footage, but still, for the sake of ten minutes’ of your life, you do get a few behind the scenes shots, as well as numerous cast and crew interview snippets peppered throughout. It's a shame because there are plenty of elements hinted at; retrospection on the franchise as a whole, which are just ripe for expansion, but there simply is not enough time to explore them all here.
A whopping 26 minutes of extra footage, complete with director’s optional commentary to offer up some background into each and every one of them, and why they were removed. Nothing of particular note here, although fans will certainly want to trawl through them, and will probably find the alternate opening and ending of some interest.
Finally we get a 9 minute gag reel with your usual line fluffs, goofs and mistakes on set – it’s fairly funny, for about 45 seconds.
Whilst I enjoyed Scream, and found even its sequels (at least the first one) to be fairly engaging, I’m not really sure what the benefit is to return to it a decade on. Not enough time has passed for any of the plot twists and turns, however adventurous, to stray too far from predictability; indeed, one has to wonder whether Hollywood will ever be capable of another original slasher movie, after Scream effectively rebooted and retired the sub-genre some 15 years ago. Still, it’s a fairly entertaining horror, all things considered, and fans of the series should regard it as certainly outclassing the third entry, and as a nice return to the Big Screen for their beloved characters/actors.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we get decent video, excellent audio, and a reasonably decent set of extras which should please fans, but probably won’t attract newcomers to add it to their collection – this was never likely to be a demo quality release that you could use to show off your home cinema equipment with, and the movie is certainly not good enough to warrant a blind buy. Rent it, if you like the Scream series. If you enjoyed Scream, and have largely forgotten the rest, then be prepared for this to be another addition to the latter group.
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