Scream 4 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As far as SD-DVD transfers go, this one looked average, though it had its ups and downs.
Sharpness was usually fairly good, though. Wider shots tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t major, and the movie usually demonstrated pretty decent clarity and accuracy. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I saw some light edge enhanement. Source flaws weren’t a factor.
Colors were decent. Unlike many modern horror movies, Scream 4 didn’t opt for a strongly stylized palette; it tended toward natural tones that favored a bit of a golden tint. The colors seemed fine; while they didn’t have great clarity, they were acceptable.
Blacks tended to appear somewhat loose and inky, and shadows were often too dark. The shadow scenes weren’t horribly dense, but they could be a bit tough to discern. All in all, there was enough positive material on display for a “C+”, but it wasn’t an inspiring presentation.
I thought that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Scream 4 seemed fine. Given that we didn’t find a lot of action here, the mix tended to keep things spooky and atmospheric. It threw out the occasional jolt but mostly stayed with environmental material. The louder scenes offered nice involvement, while the quieter ones placed us in the action in an effective manner.
Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B“ and matched the movie’s mood.
The DVD comes with a decent array of extras. We open with an audio commentary from director Wes Craven and actors Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, and Neve Campbell. Craven, Roberts and Panattiere sit together for a running, screen-specific chat; Campbell shows up for a “special guest appearance”. Via the phone, Campbell pops up fairly early in the film and remains until roughly its mid-point. Panattiere leaves not much later, so a substantial portion of the conversation features only Craven and Roberts.
The commentary covers some story and character topics, deleted/changed scenes, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and various effects. Don’t expect a wealth of good information here, though, as the chat tends to feel fairly insubstantial. The actresses often talk about how much they like this or that, and we just don’t learn a whole lot. The piece moves along well enough to keep us with it, but it’s never better than mediocre.
20 Deleted Scenes run a total of 26 minutes, one second. The majority of these offer fairly quick expository bits; they flesh out some character and story elements in a minor way. None of them prove to be especially interesting.
An “Alternate Opening” changes the manner in which the Woodsboro girls die at the film’s start. It doesn’t affect the plot – they’re just as dead in the final cut – but it does deliver something a little different. As for the “Extended Ending”, it takes the theatrical version’s finale and adds some character moments as a coda. It’s not effective.
We can view the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Craven. He gives us some notes about the sequences and occasionally – but not always – tells us why he cut them. Craven wasn’t an especially engaging presence during the main commentary, and he’s still pretty low-key here. He throws out a few decent details but doesn’t add a lot.
A Gag Reel goes for nine minutes, 17 seconds. Much of the reel shows the standard goofs and giggles, though we get more practical joke-style scares as well; usually someone will jump from behind a door or the like. A few funny moments emerge – mostly via improv from Anthony Anderson – but don’t expect a lot of hilarity.
Finally, we get the 10-minute, 28-second The Making of Scream 4. It features notes from Craven, Campbell, Roberts, Panattiere, and actors Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Courteney Cox, Alison Brie, and David Arquette. The show offers quick thoughts about story and characters, cast and performances, Craven’s work and the continuation of the series. This is a basic promotional piece, so there’s not much of interest on display.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for The Zombie Diaries 2: World of the Dead, Children of the Corn: Genesis, the Scream trilogy, and Scream 4: The Mobile Video Game. No trailer for Scream 4 appears.
For reasons probably due more to flagging careers than to creative inspiration, a successful horror franchise comes back to life with Scream 4. The film won’t inspire a new run of flicks, though; it didn’t do much at the box office, and the movie lacks the zing and power to inspire “cult classic” affection. The DVD delivers decent picture, good audio and a reasonably useful set of supplements. This is a lackluster (probable) end to the series.