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Wes Craven
Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Henry Winkler, Roger Jackson
Writing Credits:
Kevin Williamson

Don't Answer The Phone. Don't Open The Door. Don't Try To Escape.

A masked killer begins murdering teenagers in a small town, and as the body count rises, one girl and her friends contemplate the "rules" of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.

Box Office:
$15 million.
Opening Weekend
$6,354,586 on 1,413 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 12/2/1997

• Audio Commentary with Director Wes Craven and Writer Kevin Williamson
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Scream (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 11, 2014)

One could argue that Scream became the most influential film of the 1990s. Since the movie appeared in December 1996, many horror/thriller films adopted similar self-referential tones. Just within the first couple of years after its release, we got similar efforts like I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty and a sequel to Scream itself.

Scream also provided the moribund "slasher" genre with a much needed kick in the pants. In a prologue, an unnamed nutbag stalks high school student Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) at her home. The psycho taunts Casey over the phone, kills her boyfriend Steve (Kevin Patrick Walls) and then guys Casey herself.

This sets the local community on edge, and we view events through the eyes of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), one of Casey’s classmates. She comes to this situation with an unusual perspective, as Sidney’s mother was murdered a year earlier.

This places Sidney in a vulnerable situation, one that the killer desires to exploit. We follow additional murders and reactions to them, with an emphasis on how Sidney reacts to the events.

I've seen many horror films of this sort in my 47 years. After all, I grew up during the "slasher" explosion of the late Seventies/early Eighties, with the Halloweens and the Friday the 13ths and the Nightmare on Elm Streets.

I find that these movies often remain interesting mainly to the die-hard fans, especially as the franchises devolve into sequel after sequel. Anyone who's not really into the genre usually finds themselves bored with all the exhaustive – and exhausted – clichés.

That's where I was when Scream debuted, as circa 1996, I had little to no interest in the "slasher" genre. I only gave Scream a shot because it received pretty glowing reviews. And you know what? The critics were right.

Scream delivers a rare film that escapes its genre. Clearly "slasher" fans will have the most fun with it, but the movie is so clever and witty that even those who normally avoid horror films like the plague left this one satisfied.

Scream establishes a level of snappy writing and animated acting not frequently found within this form. Even on repeated viewings, the film pumps the adrenaline and maintains a surprisingly high level of interest for the viewer.

The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Scream appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the imaged has NOT been enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Given that this DVD came out during the format’s first year of existence and it lacks 16X9 enhancement, I expected the disc to look awful. It didn’t, but that doesn’t mean it lived up to modern standards.

Sharpness seemed mediocre. Close-ups displayed acceptable delineation but anything else was somewhat tentative and soft. While the image showed passable definition, it lacked bite. Shimmering was a frequent issues, and I also noticed jaggies and some edge haloes. Digital artifacts became a minor problem, and I noticed light but persistent specks.

Colors tended to appear flat. The movie stayed with a fairly natural palette but the tones failed to display vivacity and remained bland. Blacks were somewhat inky, and shadows tended to seem somewhat dense. Despite all these issues, Scream remained fairly watchable, but it wasn’t a good presentation.

I felt more pleased with the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, for which the soundfield seemed broad and engaging. The movie presented nicely delineated stereo music and also created a good sense of environment. The scenes displayed a solid feeling of environment and added a reasonable number of small touches to make them more believable.

The surrounds mainly bolstered those elements, though they came to life more eagerly during louder sequences. Various scare scenes came across as pretty bold and engaging; these used all five channels well and created a vivid and vibrant sense of atmosphere.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech always appeared natural and distinctive, and I noticed no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Music was warm and rich and showed good range. Both score and songs were lively and bright. Effects also sounded clean and accurate. No distortion occurred, and they presented nice dynamics. Bass response seemed tight and firm. All in all, this was a fine soundtrack that opened up the action well.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get an audio commentary from director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character subjects, influences and inspirations, cast and performances, sets and locations, issues with the MPAA, camerawork and costumes, toying with horror conventions, and a few other areas.

Though it occasionally sags a little, this usually delivers an informative look at the film. Craven and Williamson cover a nice variety of subjects and do so with insight and wit. I especially like the material about ratings concerns and changes from the original script. All of this adds up to a solid commentary.

Arguably the most influential horror movies of the last 20 years, Scream still entertains almost two decades after its release. Even with all those imitators along the way, it remains fun and clever. The DVD offers solid audio and an informative commentary but suffers from problematic visuals. Though I like the movie, this DVD doesn’t present it well.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.7142 Stars Number of Votes: 7
0 3:
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