Scream 4 Blu-ray Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
Blu-ray released by Entertainment in Video
Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Kevin Williamson
2011, Region B, 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Blu-ray released on 22nd August 2011
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courtney Cox as Gail Weathers
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Emma Roberts as Jill Roberts
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed
Marielle Jaffe as Olivia Morris
Alison Brie as Rebecca Walters
Rory Culkin as Charlie Walker
Erik Knudsen as Robbie Mercer
Marley Shelton as Deputy Judy Hicks
As a diehard Scream fan, the second cinema tickets were available to book for Scream 4, I was online securing them. I even went for premiere seats and made sure they were central for maximum screen exposure, this is no joke or exaggeration, it is just how much of a nerd I am. Suffice to say I jumped at the chance to do this Blu-ray review. First time round I was more than pleased with what Scream 4 had to offer and I really wanted to go back to see if it holds up a second time.
The film heads back to its roots in the town of Woodsboro where Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is on the last stop of her book tour. She should have known something was going to happen as this date coincides with the anniversary of the original murders. Living in town is Dewey Riley (David Arquette), who is no longer a deputy, but the Sheriff, and has married ex-reporter Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox). Soon copycat murders start happening and Sidney is the focus of them once again. And it is not just her this time, she has family still in Woodsboro and her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) soon finds herself, and her friends, wrapped up in family history repeating itself.
A lot of people may have been put off going to see this film due to Scream 3, but I've always been a big believer in how it would come round full circle and produce another great addition to the series. I do, however, have an appreciation for all Scream films, even the third one. It is a comedy for sure, and of course not a patch on the first or even the second. Being a Wes Craven film it was going to start parodying itself and it did that well, the exceptional casting of Parker Posey was a genius idea. Craven knows exactly what he's doing and so to compare it to the first one is no good. There's just no point, take it as it is. That being said, the fourth takes the franchise back to its origins and although we still have that ridiculous element gained through the sequels, we also have the terror, intelligence and mystery back in full force. The worst thing an anticipated film like this can do is let you down in the last few reels, the reveal in the third film admittedly was a major let-down, but here in Scream 4 it is nothing but superb.
In terms of gore, it is a lot bloodier than previous films, but not excessive. Scream proves once again it doesn't need to go over the top to produce scares, it is a true slasher film that has many digs at the "torture porn" craze, of course it is all done tongue in cheek, but there is something to be said for the style on show here.
There is a great mix of old-school characters and new ones and each set complements the other well. I think it is a great return to form for the original characters, Sidney is back and she is stronger than ever. It is a testament to her character when in one scene, where anyone else would have been running away, she blazes into a house to try and save someone. She has grown up and is a scream queen the horror genre should be proud of. It is interesting to see how the Dewey and Gail relationship has progressed, especially with Gail settling in Nowheresville, trying to write her first book. I really enjoyed the new additions to the cast, I was worried about how they would all mould together, but it really worked. Emma Roberts also plays a strong lead, she is definitely an actress to look out for. As her previous work like It's Kind of a Funny Story has proved, she is versatile and talented. Other stand out performances are Hayden Panettierre as the nerd Kirby, a very cool role proving girls know their horror trivia as well as the boys, a true character throwback to the original. I also found creepy deputy Judy (Marley Shelton) a great addition and perfect partner for Dewey. The movie nerds who run the cinema club played by Rory Culkin and Erik Knudsen also fill that hole Randy left many years ago, so it's great getting that element back in. The theories on how it will all play out are always an exciting addition.
All this being said, there are some areas where the film does not match expectations. The pre-credit sequence was very disjointed on first viewing, I wasn't sure it sat right with the rest of the feature. It definitely sat better the second time round, but this was a risky way to begin the film. It does capture Craven's love of manipulating an audience, but it is particularly over the top and at times, cheesy. I also felt a little disappointed in the amount of screen time a lot of the characters had, it felt like each one was off doing their own thing and I would have liked to have seen more substance from a lot of the characters, especially Sidney and Dewey.
There is a very glossy, new feel to the end product of Scream 4, but I think it is the closest we've had to the original in terms of content and enjoyment. It definitely bookends the series well, and although I absolutely love this film, I would be wary of them pressing on with anymore. I regard Scream 4 as a great achievement in bringing back the essence of what made the original so iconic, it may not surpass the original but it sure gives it a good go.
Video and Audio:
There is an audio set up of 5.1 DTS HD and Master Audio with an option for English Subtitles. As I've said, there's a real glossy look to the film, so images are really clear which is good for all the night time scenes. It really makes Ghost Face's ghost face shine.
This is where I get let down; there are no special features on this disc. Surely with such a massive fan base the Scream franchise has gained, they would give us a making of or a reunion feature? They have a trailer on the Blu-ray, which has always puzzled me, why would we want to watch a trailer for a film we just bought? Anyway, the trailer shows us scenes that are not actually used in the full length feature, one in particular caught my eye as it has all the young teenagers sitting around the fountain in the same way the kids from the first movie sat around at lunch. That would be interesting to see in its entirety. This is where deleted scenes and goofs come in, that's what I want to see here. Not just a scene selection.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are not a reflection of the Blu-ray image. They are promotional images.*
Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.