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Scream: 5-Film Set - Blu-ray Review

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Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

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It’s hard to reconcile fifteen years has already gone by since Wes Craven struck gold twice with a new horror franchise. It’s equally hard to reconcile that this style of self-referential and self-aware horror is nothing but a cliché. But of course, in 1996, Scream was a blockbuster for a reason, and one of those reasons was its originality. Back then, horror was in the doldrums, with most offerings relegated to the low budget, direct to video market, with no name players and little impact in their wake.

A young hungry screenwriter, Kevin Williamson, locked himself awake and wrote what was to become the incendiary for an explosion of new generation slasher flicks, and horror flicks, on the big screen. In very short order, Williamson’s inspired style propagated sequels, imitators, and lampooners. Within a few short years of Scream’s amazing debut, his freshness was stale and, as with most successes in Hollywood, reused to the point of audience fatigue.

The world of movies is in a very different place in 2011 than it was even just a decade ago. With that in mind, the release of a fourth Scream film left this reviewer a little cold, after copious horror remakes, sequels, sequels to remakes, reboots, and anything else that Hollywood would coin to prevent them taking a chance on something original.

Having just sat through all four Scream films, it has reminded me both that the Scream series may not be immune to this epidemic, but it sure as hell was original to begin with.

Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

Scream (1996)

5 Stars

Drew Barrymore was attached. Wes Craven wasn’t interested in the slightest. The film was called Scary Movie. This could have been a very different movie. Drew backed out of the lead and suggested she go the Janet Lee route. Craven changed his mind. A cast of then relatively unknowns (with the exception of Friends star Courtney Cox and Party of Five’s Neve Campbell) all of them destined for solid careers, was assembled, and, in short, movie history was made.

Scream tells the story of Sydney Prescott (Campbell), a troubled teen who is still reeling from the brutal murder of her mother. But a new killer is terrorizing teens in Woodsboro, and as the body count rises, and suspicions transform into paranoia, Sydney must overcome her demons to discover the truth and survive.

This was a one of kind movie. Taking all the long established conventions of a slasher film, having the characters themselves reference such clichés, and then tilting it on its side and killing them with it, was inspired and engrossing carnage at its very best. The script is, pardon the pun, razor sharp, and insanely complex—and written within a couple of weeks, so Williamson tells us.

The performances are equally impressive from the raw cast, and it is no wonder than most of them went on to have very productive careers thereafter. All of the characters in this film are well drawn, uniquely inhabited, and impeccable performed. You actually do care for them as their fates are sealed come the spectacular ending.


This film is a class act all the way, and it was never matched in any of the sequels.

Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

Scream 2 (1997)

3 stars

The amazing opening of this film had this reviewer’s apprehension about proliferating Scream into a franchise abated momentarily—but only momentarily. Craven and his surviving cast returned very quickly, and their sophomore effort comes out of the gate boldly and impressively, but this horse just wasn’t as sturdy as its forbearer.

Sydney Prescott is now in college. Her real life ordeal has been turned into a film Stab, and with its publicity in full swing, Sydney is faced with a lot of unwanted attention and a new killer determined to grab some fame of their own.

Despite an awesome prologue, this film quickly loses traction. This is, by far, the best sequel in the Scream series, and it has its moments, but this time out the characters are not as well draw or memorable (there are a few exceptions; Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf being one of them.) Even returning characters are starting to slip into one not representations of themselves; Arquette’s Dewey, in particular, is on a rapid descent into self-parody that only gets worse in later instalments. A little more depth would have gone a long way. It is still clever enough to keep you guessing until the end, this one, and the reveal of at least one of the killers is satisfying and believable.

The kills are more elaborate in this one, some effective, some starting to smack of that horrid bigger is better mentality, but overall, as sequels go, you can do a lot worse. Unfortunately, they did…

Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

Scream 3 (2000)

2 stars

In the third one, Sydney Prescott is a reclusive work from home gal. The Stab series continues, and its latest cast start falling victim to a new killer. Sydney is reluctantly drawn back into the terror to find the answers one last time (at least that was what they were saying way back when) and finally put all this behind her.

Kevin Williamson, the original writer, was a very busy man come the third entry. He has mentioned to the press of the time that he envisioned a trilogy of films from the outset. But he was committed to a successful TV show (Dawson’s Creek) and in the end, had little to do with the third outing. It shows. This one is, tonally, completely different; the black humour is now bad humour trying to be clever.

Wes Craven is an extremely intelligent and articulate man, so it defies belief that this movie is directed by the same man that helmed the first two. It’s quite simply, terrible, and smacks of too many cooks spoiling the broth, and a lack of cohesion in the final product.

The characterizations of the original three in this one are lacklustre at best, and the supporting players are irritating, unsympathetic, or totally forgettable. There is a distinct effort to consciously comment on Hollywood and its excesses in this chapter, but the heavy handed, slapdash execution only serves to sour the viewer completely. Not even our heroine is enjoyable to follow in this one. She is just a morose, reactionary character and a total bore.

The big reveal in this one is ludicrous and uninteresting, and, due to such shoddy characterisations and poor story construction, no one gives a damn by the end. I remember actually hoping Prescott would by the farm, I was that irritated with following her.

Awful sequel that soured the series. We all thought that was the end. Scream had one more surprise for us.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

Scream (1996)

MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language.
Director
: Wes Craven
Writer
: Kevin Williamson
Cast:
Drew Barrymore; Roger Jackson; David Booth; Kevin Patrick Walls
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Don't Answer The Phone. Don't Open The Door. Don't Try To Escape.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Well, you're not going to be alone any more, right? If you pee, I pee. Is that clear?"
Distributor:
Dimension Films
Release Date:
December 20, 1996
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 6, 2011

Synopsis: A killer known as "ghost face" begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the "Rules" of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.

 

Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

Scream 2 (1997)

MPAA Rating: Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far.
Director: Wes Craven
Writer
: Kevin Williamson
Cast:
Jada Pinkett Smith; Omar Epps; Heather Graham; Peter Deming
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
Gorier, Sexier, Funnier
Memorable Movie Quote: "I don't know about homicide, but you've definetely got me for raising my voice in a public library."
Distributor:
Dimension Films
Release Date:
December 12, 1997
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 6, 2011

Synopsis: Two years after the events of the first film, a new psychopath dons the "Ghost face" costume and a new string of murders begin.

 

Scream: 5-Film Set - blu-ray review

Scream 3 (2000)

MPAA Rating: Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far.
Director: Wes Craven
Writer
: Ehren Kruger
Cast:
Live Schreiber; Kelly Rutherford; neve Campbell; Courteny Cox
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
The Third and Final chapter in the trilogy that made you laugh, and made you Scream.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I don't know about homicide, but you've definitely got me for raising my voice in a public library."
Distributor:
Dimension Films
Release Date:
February 4, 2000
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 6, 2011

Synopsis: Ghostface pays Sidney and her friends a third visit while they visit the set of "Stab 3", the third movie based upon the Woodsboro murders.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Blu-ray

Scream: 5-Film Set - Blu-ray Review:

Major upgrade from the DVD releases. Scream is a solid, consistent transfer that's just a fraction on the soft side but rich in colour (blood, the glorious blood!) and blacks and detail. Scream 2 is a very crisp transfer, slightly colder in palette, but an awesome high definition print. Scream 3 shows some weaker clarity in night scenes but crispness in daylight, making it the most inconsistent of the original three. Scream 4, not surprisingly, being it’s less than a year old, is a very slick modern transfer that’s all business—it’s reference quality.

Note to non-American purchasers. The Scream 5 disc set (which does NOT include Scream 4) this reviewer watched, a bargain at 20 bucks, has the usual annoying Lionsgate problem of region coding. These movies will NOT play on a region B player unless they are chipped or capable of region A compatibility. The documentary discs, including awesome feature length docos, are region free.

Blu-ray

Scream - Blu-ray Review:

Available on Blu-ray - September 26, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Supplemental Material:

Commentary:

  • With Williamson and Craven

Special Featurettes

  • Production Featurette (SD; 6:12)
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Q&A With Cast and Crew
  • 2 Trailers and 7 TV Spots

 

Blu-ray

Scream 2 - Blu-ray Review:

Available on Blu-ray - September 26, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Supplemental Material:

Commentary:

  • With Craven, Producer Marianne Maddalena and Editor Patrick Lussier

Special Featurettes

  • Deleted Scenes (SD; 4:09)
  • Outtakes (SD 8:54)
  • Featurette (SD 7:05)
  • Music Videos
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD; 2:16)
  • TV Spots (SD; 6:19)

 

Blu-ray

Scream 3 - Blu-ray Review:

Available on Blu-ray - September 26, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Supplemental Material:

Commentary:

  • With with Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier

Special Featurettes

  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Craven, Maddalena and Lussier (SD; 13:33)
  • Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary by Craven, Maddalena and Lussier (SD; 10:02)
  • Outtakes (SD; 6:34)
  • Behind the Scenes Montage (SD; 6:20)
  • Music Video
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD; 1:26)
  • International Trailer (SD; 1:39)
  • TV Spots (SD; 5:46)

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