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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 DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 3/29/2011

• Audio Commentary with Director Wes Craven and Writer Kevin Williamson
• Production Featurette
• Two Behind the Scenes Featurettes
• Two Q&As with Cast and Crew
• Trailers and TV Spots
• Previews


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 [Blu-Ray] (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 19, 2015)

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.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Scream appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image was somewhat erratic.

Sharpness tended to be good. Some shots were a little soft and some blockiness appeared, but otherwise, the image boasted fairly positive clarity and definition. However, the movie took on an oddly “processed” look at times and could seem a bit unnatural; while it showed appropriate grain, mild edge haloes popped up consistently throughout the movie and created distractions. In terms of print flaws, I saw a few specks but that’s it.

Scream went with a pretty natural palette, but the tones tended to veer toward the heavy side. That added to the movie’s vaguely unnatural appearance, as the hues could seem strangely artificial. They could be attractive at times, though, so that wasn’t a consistent concern. Black levels also seemed deep and firm, while low-light shots were generally fine; as I noted, some of these tended to be a little soft and flat, but they were usually solid. This wasn’t a poor transfer, but it lacked consistency and ended up as a “C+”.

I felt more pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 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.

How does this Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio sounded fuller and warmer, while visuals came across as tighter, smoother and cleaner. While the Blu-ray came with problems, it easily topped the original DVD.

When we shift to extras, we launch with 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.

A Production Featurette goes for six minutes, 12 seconds and offers notes from Craven, Williamson, and actors David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Rose McGowan, Drew Barrymore, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, and Neve Campbell. We get some basics about the movie’s plot as well as cast/performance issues. Other than a few quick shots from the set, this one’s essentially a long trailer; it includes very little substance.

Two pieces appear under Behind the Scenes: “On the Scream Set” (3:25) and “Drew Barrymore” (2:53). In these, we find no remarks from the participants; instead, we simply see footage from the shoot. They’re too brief to be meaningful, but they still give us decent glimpses of the set.

Another two clips pop up within Q&A With Cast and Crew: “What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?” (2:44) and “Why Are People So Fascinated By Horror Films?” (2:31). The first involves Craven, Campbell, Cox, McGowan, Williamson, 2nd 2nd AD Dan Arredondo, boom operator Sean Rush, producer Cathy Konrad, co-executive producer Stuart Besser, costume supervisor Gary Saldutti, on-the-set dresser Josh Elliott, executive producer Marianne Maddalena, 1st AD/associate producer Nick Mastandrea, unit publicist, Claire Raskind, assistant location manager Thomas Harrigan, and actors Jamie Kennedy and W. Earl Brown. In the second, we hear from Craven, Lillard, Maddalena, Kennedy, Campbell, Williamson and actor Linda Blair. We get various opinions on the questions presented; the results are mildly interesting but that’s about it.

The disc opens with ads for Scream 4 and the Saw series. These show up under Also from Lionsgate as well. In addition, the Blu-ray provides two trailers and seven TV spots.

Arguably the most influential horror movie 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 Blu-ray offers inconsistent visuals along with good audio and supplements highlighted by an informative commentary. I like the movie a lot but this ends up as a erratic release.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of SCREAM

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