Scream - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
Twenty-five years later, Wes Craven's Scream remains a cleverly entertaining, postmodern exercise of the horror genre that simultaneously revitalized the slasher movie, filled with humor, thrills and suspense. The 90s horror classic takes a stab at Ultra HD with an excellent 4K video, the same highly satisfying DTS-HD MA track and a decent collection of bonus material. Overall, devoted fans will be plenty happy with this UHD edition and is a Recommended upgrade over the previous disappointing Blu-ray release.
A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
At the time when Wes Craven's Scream terrorized cinemas, the slasher subgenre was little more than a joke, splattering horror-hounds with either campy franchise sequels or contrived, formulaic rubbish that were shadows of their former glory. Aside from a few exceptions, the genre was pretty much limping along in a daze to its eventual death: a painfully slow final breath instead of a quick throat slash. And although Craven's now-classic flick was far from anything ground-breakingly original and didn't exactly reinvent the wheel, it nonetheless reignited a mass, box-office interest offering a fresh, innovative approach by celebrating the formula and relishing in its own self-awareness. Penned by Kevin Williamson (I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty), the script cleverly deconstructs convention while ironically employing it in nearly every scene, even lays out the rules which govern the structure of practically every horror feature while satisfying aficionados with a treasure trove of horror trivia.
Breaking down plot devices and announcing them at the forefront, the film becomes a brilliant exercise in the postmodern, a meta-narrative that knows all too well it is fashioned from other sources. And rather than attempting to circumvent them, Craven embraces them into a mishmash of styles and techniques, paying particular homage to two films that changed and influenced the genre most: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and John Carpenter's Halloween. In satirizing the films of his peers and his own works, he's having fun with the material and many of its self-referential aspects, exposing the flaws in a worn-out structure while simultaneously admiring their finer traits, namely the mystery and suspense. The plot even takes a moment to humorously comment on the social effects of movie violence and the fact that some are willing to profit from real-life murder and mayhem in spite of the pain it might cost victims.
Scream may be a play on convention, but after twenty-five years, the slasher classic remains a frightfully good time at the movies, full of mystery and the standard cheap thrills. Better yet, it's a technical sound motion picture appreciated as the work of a skilled storyteller, proving Wes Craven is a legendary filmmaker who knows how to carefully pace the scares and tension with a patience that methodically builds before making audiences scream in terror.
4K Ultra HD
For a more in-depth take on the film, check out our review of the 2011 Blu-ray Edition HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Celebrating the movie's 25th Anniversary, Paramount Home Entertainment brings Wes Craven's Scream to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a standalone, single-disc edition with a flyer for a digital copy. When redeeming said code, users are granted access to the 4K UHD version in Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. The Region Free, dual-layered UHD66 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.
4K Ultra HD
The 90s horror classic takes a stab at Ultra HD with an excellent HEVC H.265 encode, giving fans a marked improvement over its somewhat disappointing Blu-ray predecessor, which was hindered by distracting artificial sharpening and very mild compression artifacts.
Struck from a brand-new restoration and remaster of the original 35mm camera negatives, the native 4K transfer enjoys a welcomed uptick in overall definition and clarity. The smallest object decorating the homes are plainly visible, the fine stitching and threading in the costumes are highly detailed, and each leaf and blade of grass is distinct from a distance. A few sequences are noticeably softer and blurrier than others, but this is excused as inherent to the style of photography and not an issue with the encode. There is also some evidence of digital smoothing mildly applied in a few areas, but thankfully, it's nothing too egregious as to ruin the overall results. Otherwise, the elements seem to be in outstanding condition while retaining a consistently fine layer of grain, giving the picture a nice film-like feel.
The better and more noteworthy upgrade comes from the subtle and nuanced application of HDR, supplying the action with a brighter, more vivid appeal compared to its HD SDR counterpart. The improved contrast balance allows for better visibility into the far distance of the many scenic views of the valley, as well as within the hottest areas like the various lamps and light bulbs. In fact, the specular highlights furnish a narrower, tighter bloom around those aforementioned spots, exposing some of the finer details while various metallic surfaces enjoy a more realistic shine, and the killer's costume sparkles more brilliantly in the light. Black levels are richer and inkier as well while maintaining outstanding delineation in the darkest shadows, providing the 2.35:1 image with impressive dimensionality and a lovely cinematic quality.
4K Ultra HD
The HDR10 presentation also boasts a more vibrant, sumptuous array of colors from start to finish. This is most apparent in the daylight exteriors, which are bursting with a wider range of greens, from the pine and juniper tones in the distant trees to the shamrock shades of the perfectly manicured lawns. Likewise, reds dramatically pop with an animated punch while still showing impressive variation, like Drew Barrymore's deep ruby lipstick versus the vibrant rose color worn by other actors or the dark cherry crimson shade in the blood. Of the entire cast, Gale Weathers' garish outfits are the most flamboyant and demand our attention, especially the neon yellow-green suit at the start. The interiors come with a warmer glowing yellow shade that varies between a dynamic golden hue and a comfier marigold tint while Dewey's uniform shows a fuller range of browns and tans.
All the while, facial complexions appear healthy with a rosy-peachy tone in the cast and revealing lifelike texture, making for a fantastic step-up over the previous Blu-ray. (HDR10 Video Rating: 78/100)
4K Ultra HD
Ghostface terrorizes home theaters with the same terrifically entertaining DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack as before, and although an object-based option would have arguably added to the visuals, this 5.1 track is nonetheless plenty satisfying and still holds up surprisingly well.
The design is filled with various subtle ambient effects, like birds and crickets chirping in the distance, generating a convincingly immersive soundfield. Pans and movement are smooth and flawless, and channel separation is nicely balanced, creating a welcoming and spacious soundstage. Applying the receiver's Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality further extends some of these atmospherics with satisfying effectiveness, but the musical score gains the most in this respect, evenly spreading across the entire soundstage while lightly bleeding into the rears and height with ease. However, the lossless mix is ultimately more of the front-heavy variety with the focus on the precise, crystal-clear dialogue. The mid-range is expansive and sharply defined, so listeners can enjoy the many loud bursts of terrifying action with precise clarity and detail. Meanwhile, a robust, palpable low-end meets every punch, thrust, gunshot and crash with plenty of weight and force, making for a fun and highly engaging listen. (Audio Rating: 82/100)
4K Ultra HD
For this UHD edition, the same set of supplements are ported over from the previous Blu-ray release, but they are joined with one new extra as part of a promotion for the new installment.
- Audio Commentary with director Wes Craven joins screenwriter Kevin Williamson
- NEW A Bloody Legacy: Scream 25 years later (HD, 8 min) features recent interviews with the original cast and some fresh young faces sharing their love for the movie and the director.
- Production Featurette (SD, 6 min)
- Behind the Scenes (SD, 6 min)
- Q&A Session (SD, 6 min)
4K Ultra HD
Wes Craven's Scream is a well constructed and cleverly entertaining feature that revitalized the slasher movie, as well as the career of the legendary director. Assembled from a postmodern passion for horror, the box-office hit is also a genre exercise, filled with humor, thrills, and suspense. The 90s horror classic takes a stab at Ultra HD with an excellent 4K HDR10 presentation, offering a drastic improvement over its Blu-ray predecessor, but terrorizes home theaters with the same highly satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. Supplemental material, unfortunately, remains the same except for one new addition that's ultimately nothing more than a promotional piece for the latest installment. Overall, devoted fans will be plenty happy with this UHD edition, and given the improvements, it is a recommended upgrade.
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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