After years of letting the original Scream series settle in and make its mark on horror director Wes Craven decided to return to the series with his fourth entry. Luckily for us main writer Kevin Williamson was back this time, unlike the third film, which has been universally called the worst. There were a lot of things going against Craven and Scream 4, things like Craven’s own credibility and how they were going to make another film that managed to still feel relevant and capture that original meta charm the first two films had, plus the fact that the horror genre has changed and not exactly for the better. The days where story and characters mattered were gone and replaced with buckets of blood and guts and a wave of PG-13 friendly remakes.
Craven hasn’t had the best run since the original Scream‘s and even A Nightmare on Elm Street. His quality has reduced to films like My Soul to Take, a truly horrible film. Before My Soul to Take I couldn’t recall an R rated horror film that was made by a guy who helped mold the genre that ended up so piss poor.
Scream 4 had its work cut out for it and against all odds it actually came out really good. I’m a fan of the original trilogy, not the biggest, but a fan none the less. I hold the first one high on my horror list and the second one falls somewhere below it with the third not even registering. The fourth film I’d say is on the same level with the second in terms of quality. It’s what Scream 3 should have been, but many years later. Craven’s still got it or maybe it’s Williamson. It’s always hard to pinpoint the success of a troubled production like Scream 4. Writers came and went, while Bob and Harvey Weinstein overlooked the whole thing with worry. Dimension Studios and The Weinstein Company hasn’t been doing the greatest and they honestly can’t take any more big chances, which made Scream 4 that much more interesting.
The film continues in the way of its meta roots while incorporating modern social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. They make good use of the cellphone this time around and they never lose that tension whenever Ghostface is on the screen. You’ll be laughing one minute and screaming the next, well maybe not screaming, but you’ll be enjoying a good old fashioned horror film, full of the usual creepy atmosphere and bloody results. The film also successfully manages to blend the original cast with a new crop of youngsters that are just as clever. Scream 4 follows the same formula as the first two without ever feeling like a boring and unnecessary rehash.
Click here to read my theatrical review for Scream 4.
Video: Scream 4 comes to Blu-ray with a very striking 1080p transfer that tops the previous three in every way possible. Detail is much more present here with excellent coloring and grain structure. The transfer takes advantage of the films dark setting, keeping the blacks very strong and deep while still popping during the brighter daytime scenes. Every fabric can be seen on Ghostface’s costume and every drop of sweat if visible as the teens run from their death. I’ve never seen such an impressive transfer for such a dark film. Black colors are tricky to balance and Scream 4 never has a problem with them, which makes for an even more terrifying experience!
Audio: What’s a Scream movie without the creepy score to help build tension? Scream 4 comes with a 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track that is almost as good as its video counterpart. Scream 4 relies on its clever and witty dialogue, which can be heard without any problems through the front channels, while the rear acts as your engaging channels. The score as well as general audio noise can be heard loud and clear. Horror movies are some of the best films to watch with HD audio due to the added clarity and depth of the sound and Scream 4‘s audio transfer is a knockout.
Scream 4 comes with a respectable amount of features, all of which are presented in standard definition. Check them out below:
- Audio Commentary: Director Wes Craven and actresses Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts and occasionally Neve Campbell share this track with a decent amount of random knowledge. This isn’t the most interesting track, but due to its random structure there is quite a bit of information to be had, such as planned ideas, locations of shooting and the films general structure. It’s an okay track, but nothing that needs to be heard.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (SD): 26 minutes worth of deleted and extended scenes that is really hit or miss. A few give the film a different tone, but most weren’t worth making the final cut. A great watch for fans of the series, but not really worth it if Scream 4 is just a random rental.
- Gag Reel (SD): A nearing 10 minute gag reel, again nothing too great here.
- The Making of Scream 4 (SD): Wes Craven discusses the making of the film like who he worked with and plot development. This is your usual making of doc that doesn’t offer much more than cast and crew comments.
- Scream 4 Video Game Promotion (HD): Two screens promoting Scream stuff that can be had on Android, Apple or X-Box 360.
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Scream 4. I really didn’t think Craven had it in him to make another good film and I think Williamson is mostly to blame here. The film reproduces what worked in the original films while adding some modernization to it. The original cast shows their passion to the characters they helped make famous while mingling well with the new cast. Scream 4 is the movie that we all wanted Scream 3 to be and it’s sad that we had to wait all of these years and it’s even sadder that it didn’t click at the box office.
There really isn’t anything new or groundbreaking to be had in Scream 4 that we haven’t seen in the previous three titles, so if you weren’t a fan before you won’t be a fan now. The Scream series isn’t for everyone, but for the people it does cater to there will be much enjoyment to be found here.
Anchor Bay knocks it out of the park with the Blu-ray for Scream 4. The video is grainy, colorful and full of detail and the audio is high quality with enough effects to keep you on the edge of your seat. The only downer with the package is the special features. This is really your typical release with a handful of deleted scenes and generic making of documentaries and audio commentaries. There really isn’t anything special here and mostly all of the features are in standard definition, which is a big distraction after watching such an impressive Blu-ray. Still, fans of the series will find more than enough stuff to keep them engaged with the film. Scream 4 also comes with a DVD copy of the film as well as a digital copy, so now you can relive the terror virtually anywhere.
Movie – 8/10
Video – 9.5/10
Audio – 9/10
Special Features – 6/10
Click Here to buy Scream 4 from Amazon.com