Scream 3 - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
Starting off fairly strong and entertaining, Scream 3 is the weakest entry of the immensely popular franchise and was originally intended to be the final installment to Wes Craven's slasher series. Although the final reveal is considered the plot's biggest disappointment, the second sequel has its moments and is still decently enjoyable. The movie takes a stab at 4K Ultra HD with an excellent Dolby Vision HDR presentation but ports over the same DTS-HD MA soundtrack and collection of supplements as the previous Blu-ray release. Nevertheless, this UHD edition is Recommended.
While Sidney and her friends visit the Hollywood set of Stab 3, the third film based on the Woodsboro murders, another Ghostface killer rises to terrorize them.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
It's sad really when the first two movies in a series (Scream, Scream 2) start off strong — full of laughs as well as smarts — but the last entry ends the entire franchise with a whimper. The laughs and smarts are still there, but it all adds up to a silly conclusion that takes fans to a deep, dark past. It's a plot twist that comes completely out of left field and seems far too convenient to ever be taken seriously. Then again, according to Randy (Jaime Kennedy) in a posthumous video recording, all bets are off in trilogies. The rules don't apply because the point is to explore a deep, dark past, something that changes everything we know about the slasher series. Hence, Scream 3 fails to meet the expectations set by the previous two.
Now, don't get me wrong. I actually enjoyed the movie up to the final reveal (a really stupid conclusion, in all honesty), especially for seeing Wes Craven's return to the stuff he knows best. (His flirtation with other genres was thankfully short-lived. The musical drama Music of the Heart, released the prior year, leaves a rather bitter aftertaste.) Set during the production of Stab 3, the movie starts off with some amusingly intriguing nudges at the Hollywood system, and the kills play out much like they do in the script of the faux-horror flick. Liev Schreiber returns as Cotton Weary complaining about the cameo part where he dies, and Jenny McCarthy makes an appearance as an actress with only two scenes before being taken out by yet another Ghostface killer styling themself after the movie. Gee, wonder what angle they play next in part four?
It's all good, nonsensical fun, however. That is until the ending comes barreling along like a monkey wrench. Then there's the fact that our attention is suddenly turned to the quirky romance of Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). Granted, their banter and below-the-belt remarks are often funny, but it feels strange to see these two, who are clearly meant for comic relief, at the center of the plot. The heart and soul of the series is Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), but she has inexplicably been moved to the background and is living alone in the woods, troubled by really creepy visions and nightmares. By the time she's finally placed in the middle of the action, we're already halfway through the entire picture and running down the list of possible crazed killers, with Patrick Dempsey looking most promising.
Penned by Ehren Krueger (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Ring, The Brothers Grimm), this sudden shift in focus away from Sidney is a bit bizarre since the closing moments reveal the world revolves around her and her mother. But as mentioned earlier, there is plenty of fun to be had in this third installment. The best scares are early on with Sidney's chilling apparitions, but they turn out not to serve much purpose except to freak out the audience. Parker Posey as Jennifer Jolie playing Gale Weathers is a great character and offers a few facetious observations about actors portraying real-life people. And there's also the fun game of name that star in a cameo with Lance Henriksen, Carrie Fisher, Roger Corman and Jay & Silent Bob of all people.
Although lacking some of the smarts found in the previous two movies, Scream 3 does come with some good, hearty laughs and a few witty jabs at the film industry. The problem is the fact that the ending's a terrible cheat to a franchise that originally started as a parody of the horror genre, but eventually evolved into a joke in and of itself. It's not entirely clear if the movie is as invested in breaking down convention as before or venturing to satirize audience reactions to the Scream franchise. One character played by Deon Richmond notes public outcry for filmmakers killing the Randy character in the Stab sequel. There are several good moments to be had in this final chapter (or is it?), but the payoff is not worth the ticket price. Really sad for a fairly good run of horror features.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
A couple of years shy of its 25th Anniversary, Paramount Home Entertainment brings Wes Craven's Scream 3 to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a standalone, single-disc edition with a flyer for a digital copy, granting owners access to the 4K UHD version in Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. The Region Free, triple-layered UHD100 disc is housed inside the standard black, eco-elite keepcase with a glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a static main screen with the usual options along the bottom with music playing in the background.
The previous Blu-ray release was somewhat of a disappointment, hindered largely by some unsightly artifacts and mostly looking flat in general. Thankfully, Paramount corrects that blunder with what appears to be a fresh remaster of the original elements for this Ultra HD edition, and comparatively, this HEVC H.265 encode is a godsend, showing better definition and clarity throughout. Fine lines and objects are distinct and often striking, from the threading of the costumes to the nook and crannies of the film set and various homes.
Boasting improved contrast and brightness balance, the native 4K transfer is overall brighter with cleaner, more vivid whites and crisp, radiant specular highlights, making the daylight sequences look fresher and more energetic. Nighttime scenes, of which there are many, display true, inky-rich blacks with bleak, midnight shadows that never ruin the finer details and penetrate deep into the screen, providing the 2.35:1 image with appreciable depth and a beautiful cinematic appeal. The Dolby Vision HDR presentation also supplies the action with more sumptuous and fuller primaries, particularly the various shades of reds and blues, while secondary hues are more dynamic and varied, and the highly-revealing facial complexions appear accurate and healthy throughout the entire cast. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 84/100)
Making its 4K UHD debut, the third entry in the franchise arrives with the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack enjoyed on the Blu-ray, which is not a bad thing. Here are my thoughts from that review:
"Although it falls a tad on the loud side, the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack for this third slasher flick is still fairly entertaining, offering some fun jump scares.
Rear activity is satisfying and often enveloping, with subtle ambient effects and several directional cues that are discrete and convincing. Music also bleeds into the background fluidly and keeps viewers engaged. The volume understandably jumps a few decibels for moments of shock and suspense, but dynamic range remains clean and sharp, maintaining good clarity detail. Low bass carries a healthy, robust energy which nicely adds to the design's intensity. The front soundstage feels very wide and welcoming with well-balanced channel separation and excellent dialogue reproduction.
In the end, Scream 3 arrives on Blu-ray with a great lossless mix." (Audio Rating: 80/100)
For this standalone UHD edition, Paramount has ported over the same collection of supplements as its Blu-ray predecessor, which is pretty disappointing.
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 14 min)
- Alternate Ending (SD, 10 min)
- Outtakes (SD, 7 min)
- Behind the Scenes Montage (SD, 6 min)
- Music Video (SD)
- Trailers (SD)
Scream 3 was supposed to be the final installment to Wes Craven's slasher franchise, but obviously, that did not happen. The third film actually starts off fairly strong and entertaining, but the shock reveal at the end is so over the top that the entire movie is practically ruined. The second sequel of the immensely popular franchise takes a stab at 4K Ultra HD with an excellent Dolby Vision HDR presentation that offers fans with an outstanding improvement over the previous Blu-ray. However, the same DTS-HD MA soundtrack and collection of supplements have been ported from that same release. Nevertheless, this UHD edition is Recommended.
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review.
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