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