Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: SCREAM



This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
36 replies to this topic

#1 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted March 28 2011 - 10:37 AM

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Scream (Blu-ray)

 

Scream turns fifteen this year, and it’s hard to remember that this landmark in pop culture was ever anything but a surefire success. Director Wes Craven didn’t want to make another gory film; head honcho Bob Weinstein hated the killer’s mask; both casting and script were in flux; and just days before shooting began, the school board of Santa Rosa, California rescinded permission to film at its high school (and is appropriately dissed in the film’s credits). But obstacles like these become mere bumps in the road when the result grosses $170 million worldwide on a $15 million production budget. Even better, Scream’s self-reflexive approach to slasher films revived the genre for a generation that had grown up with it and already knew all its tricks. Kevin Williamson’s script worked in 1996 for its sheer novelty, but its inventiveness still holds up today.

 

Note: This Blu-ray from Lionsgate contains only the theatrically released R-rated cut of Scream.




Studio: Lionsgate

Rated: R

Film Length: 111 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

HD Encoding: 1080p

HD Codec: AVC

Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

MSRP: $19.99

Disc Format: 1 25GB

Package: Keepcase

Theatrical Release Date: Dec. 20, 1996

Blu-ray Release Date: Mar. 29, 2011

 

 

The Feature:

 

In the small California town of Woodsboro, someone is killing people. It may or may not be the same person who, almost exactly one year earlier, raped and murdered Maureen Prescott, mother of high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). The whole experience has left Sidney traumatized and sexually reticent, to the frustration of her boyfriend, Billy (Skeet Ulrich). But Sidney’s inhibitions are probably a good thing at the moment, since the killer appears to be an afficionado of slasher films, and according to the rules of the genre – as enumerated by video store clerk Randy (Jamie Kennedy), who just happens to have an unrequited crush on Sidney – only virgins survive to the credits.

 

SPOILER ALERT! Having been referenced, ripped off and parodied so extensively, Scream is sufficiently well known that I’m going to assume everyone knows certain plot points. Still, one of the reasons why the first film was the best in the series is that everything was new. So if you’ve somehow managed to miss out on the Scream series, stop reading now.

 

In a move that would become a trademark, Scream opens Psycho-style by killing off a character who appears to be central – in this instance, Casey (Drew Barrymore), who receives a strange phone call when she’s home alone. The twelve-minute sequence establishes the killer’s methodology, which combines encyclopedic knowledge of horror films with a sadistic delight in reenacting them. It also shows us the killer’s disguise of choice: a generic Halloween costume with a mask based on the Edvard Munch painting entitled The Scream.

 

The remainder of the film is set among the town’s high school population, most of which finds the latest murder epidemic to be an exciting diversion, especially when it causes Principal Himbry (an uncredited Henry Winkler) to cancel classes. What better excuse for a party? (Another reason why Scream is the best of the trilogy is that slasher films require the victims to behave stupidly, and adolescents supply thoughtless behavior better than most characters. In the later films, the key characters were older.) The party is thrown by Stuart (Matthew Lillard), the goofball dating Sidney’s best friend, Tatum (Rose McGowan).

 

Sidney attends, because she’s staying with Tatum, her father being out of town on business, even though it’s the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death. Also, Sidney’s getting calls from the killer. Suspicion initially falls on Billy, but he’s cleared by phone records. Now Sheriff Burke (Joseph Whipp) is concerned, because Sidney’s father (Lawrence Hecht) isn’t in the hotel where’s he’s supposed to be. Indeed, he can’t be found at all. The sheriff tells his deputy, Dewey (David Arquette), to keep an eye on Sidney.

 

As it happens, Dewey is Tatum’s brother; so it’s not so odd when he shows up at the party thrown by his sister’s boyfriend. But accompanying him is the aggressively nosy reporter, Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), on whom Dewey has a crush. Gale (whose name is a bad pun on an old-time TV actress) made her reputation with a book about Maureen Prescott’s murder and the ensuing trial that, Gale contends, sent an innocent man (a briefly glimpsed Liev Schreiber) to death row. Of course, it’s obvious to anyone watching that this new rash of violence supports Gale’s theory that the real killer is still at large. It might even give her another best seller. People have killed for less.

 

As Randy the video clerk says, everyone’s a suspect.

 

Williamson delights in playing with references and genre beats, especially when he has the partygoers watching Halloween or slips in names like “Wes Carpenter” or has a character declare that all the sequels to Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street “sucked” (this presumably includes Craven’s own New Nightmare). And Craven gets into the game as well, throwing in little touches like a cameo by The Exorcist’s Linda Blair and doing his own quick cameo in a Freddy Krueger sweater. In the end, writer and director even manage to give the killer a passable motive, while at the same time declaring that motives are irrelevant. After all, what excuse does one really need for a good old-fashioned cinematic blood bath?

 

 

Video:

 

In a cruel irony, the best of the Scream films suffered the worst treatment on DVD. Despite multiple issuances, Scream was never mastered with 16:9 enhancement, which makes its release on Blu-ray especially welcome. Unfortunately, this first wave of releases from the newly formed partnership between Lionsgate and a newly reconstituted Miramax is not without issues.

 

With a few caveats that I’ll get to in a moment, the image is finely detailed with good black levels and only occasional hints of so-called “crushing” (or, as I think of it, indistinctness) in some of the outdoor night scenes. This may be due to the original photography, because the credited DP was Mark Irwin (with additional photography by Peter Deming), and Irwin’s work is not notable for deep blacks. In any case, colors are vividly and, as far as I can tell, accurately rendered throughout, and flesh tones look normal, especially in contrast to the copious amounts of (fake) blood that flows in the last third of the film.

 

So what’s the problem? Well, normally I can just recite that I saw no evidence of digital tampering, but in this case I can’t. Here and there, I kept spotting telltale signs of slight, but definite, edge enhancement – nothing on the order of what we used to see on DVD, but enough to create an occasional ringing around a figure or a slight shimmer in a background. When noticeable, the effect was transient and did not detract from my overall viewing experience. Had I not been watching as a reviewer, I might simply have tuned it out. But on a display larger than my 72" RPTV, it could be much more distracting, and really it shouldn’t be there at all.

 

Although I can’t know for certain, I suspect these are the artifacts of crowding a nearly two-hour film, with extras and lossless sound, onto a BD-25. It’s a dubious practice under any circumstances, but especially in the case of a film that hasn’t been finished on a digital intermediate. Whatever one may think of the pros and cons of the DI process, it seems to have the advantage of better preparing a film for the compressionist, maybe because DI colorists have to think in terms of large-format projection. The kind of artifacts I saw on the Scream Blu-ray would not be tolerated on a release print or digital source, and they shouldn’t be allowed on a consumer Blu-ray either.

 

The alert reader will have noticed that I did not use the term DNR. For the unalert reader, let me stress that I am not, repeat, not criticizing this transfer for the application of noise reduction or any similar technology. To my eye, all of the image’s detail is intact. (If someone with a larger screen sees it differently, please let me know.) I don’t know why artificial sharpening was applied to some scenes; I just know that I saw the kind of artifacts that result when such sharpening has been done.

 

 

Audio:

 

Presented in DTS lossless, the 5.1 mix is typical of its era, in that its rear-channel effects are somewhat more showy and obvious than you would expect from sound designers today, who try to blend the channels more subtly. The thud of footsteps overhead (using the rear speakers) or cars driving from back to front are typical of the effects used in Nineties films, but they still work. The dialogue is clear and effective, and so is Marco Beltrami’s original score, along with the entertaining soundtrack selections. I’m not sure Craven would have been willing to use “Fear the Reaper” so liberally, if Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners hadn’t bombed earlier that year (if you’re a fan of Jackson’s film, the song is inseparable from images of Michael J. Fox and Trini Alvarado running around a cemetery). But it all worked out for the best.

 

 

Special Features:

 

All of the special features have been ported over from the 1998 Miramax “Collector’s Edition”, which was also included in the 2000 “Ultimate Scream” boxed set. In the interest of saving time, I haven’t revisited them. The video features are in standard definition at 4:3.

 

Commentary with Director Wes Craven and Screenwriter Kevin Williamson.

 

Production Featurette (6:12).

 

Behind the Scenes. Divided into two parts: “On the Scream Set” (3:25) and “Drew Barrymore” (2:53).

 

Q & A with the Cast and Crew. Also divided into two parts: “What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?” (2:44) and “Why Are People So Fascinated by Horror Films?” (2:31).


TV Spots. There are seven spots, reflecting various marketing strategies.

 

Trailers. Both green and red band theatrical trailers are included as separate extras. At startup the disc plays trailers for Scream 4, the Saw collection and Lionsgate horror and cult classics on Blu-ray. These can be skipped with the chapter forward button and are also available from the special features menu.

 

The missing. Not included from the “Collector’s Edition” are a special effects gallery with drawings and stills; cast and crew profiles; and a collection of horror film trivia entitled “Did You Know?”

 

 

In Conclusion:

 

While not the most auspicious beginning for the Miramax/Lionsgate partnership, this is still the best that Scream has ever looked since I saw it in the theater. Maybe they’ll do a better transfer for Craven’s director’s cut (the one with even more blood).

 

 

 

Equipment used for this review:

 

Panasonic BDP-BD50 Blu-ray player (DTS-HD MA decoded internally and output as analog)

Samsung HL-T7288W DLP display (connected via HDMI)

Lexicon MC-8 connected via 5.1 passthrough

Sunfire Cinema Grand amplifier                                                                                                                                       

Monitor Audio floor-standing fronts and MA FX-2 rears

Boston Acoustics VR-MC center

SVS SB12-Plus sub


COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#2 of 37 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss

    Screenwriter



  • 2,779 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 2001
  • Real Name:Neil Middlemiss

Posted March 28 2011 - 12:54 PM

Thank you for the review, Michael. This and the others in the trilogy will soon be mine.
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science" – Edwin Hubble
My DVD Collection

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Todd H

Todd H

    Screenwriter



  • 2,065 posts
  • Join Date: May 27 1999
  • Real Name:Todd
  • LocationGeorgia

Posted March 28 2011 - 02:36 PM

Gonna have to disagree. I have it and it looks terrible. The edge enhancement is beyond light and is annoyingly noticeable on my calibrated 52XBR4. Not to mention digital noise rears its ugly head quite often. What we have is an ancient master that has had digital tricks applied to it to make it look better. And it is a failure. I fear that Pulp Fiction will be treated with the same disrespect. :(

#4 of 37 OFFLINE   TravisR

TravisR

    Studio Mogul



  • 22,344 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 2004
  • LocationThe basement of the FBI building

Posted March 28 2011 - 03:18 PM

Thanks for the review, Michael.


Did you get a review copy of Scream 2? That movie is a really underrated sequel.



#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted March 28 2011 - 03:53 PM


Originally Posted by TravisR 

Did you get a review copy of Scream 2? That movie is a really underrated sequel.


Yes, I received all three, but they came in after some other titles. I bumped Scream to the top of the pile, because I knew that one was what most people cared about. I haven't even spun up Scream 2 yet.




Originally Posted by Todd H 

 

 What we have is an ancient master that has had digital tricks applied to it to make it look better.


What "ancient master" would that be? The one that wasn't even good enough to make an anamorphic DVD? Or some other one that was created, never used, then put in a vault somewhere?


I have no problem with people evaluating a transfer differently than I do; it happens all the time. But in the absence of actual knowledge, let's not start rumors about an "ancient master", especially when they make no sense. If one compares the Blu-ray to the existing DVDs, it's almost impossible that it's the same transfer. There's too much detail on the Blu-ray that simply isn't there on the DVD. Digital "tricks" have come very far, but compared to what it would take to paint in the detail on every frame, a new transfer is a whole lot cheaper.


COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Jason_V

Jason_V

    Producer



  • 4,843 posts
  • Join Date: May 07 2001
  • Real Name:Jason
  • LocationBothell, WA

Posted March 28 2011 - 04:22 PM

Scream takes me back to a much simpler time in life when I could just enjoy without it being spoiled by every website and magazine in the world.  I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the first movie, and less soft for the other two.  I've got the Scream Collection DVD box.  As much as I'd love to get this new set, I don't know if I can justify it right now.  Maybe at Halloween when it will be part of some Halloween sale...



#7 of 37 Guest__*

Guest__*
  • Join Date: --

Posted March 28 2011 - 05:18 PM

I'm getting this later this Spring.



#8 of 37 OFFLINE   Todd H

Todd H

    Screenwriter



  • 2,065 posts
  • Join Date: May 27 1999
  • Real Name:Todd
  • LocationGeorgia

Posted March 29 2011 - 12:40 AM

What "ancient master" would that be? The one that wasn't even good enough to make an anamorphic DVD? Or some other one that was created, never used, then put in a vault somewhere?

 

I have no problem with people evaluating a transfer differently than I do; it happens all the time. But in the absence of actual knowledge, let's not start rumors about an "ancient master", especially when they make no sense. If one compares the Blu-ray to the existing DVDs, it's almost impossible that it's the same transfer. There's too much detail on the Blu-ray that simply isn't there on the DVD. Digital "tricks" have come very far, but compared to what it would take to paint in the detail on every frame, a new transfer is a whole lot cheaper.

Perhaps in my anger over seeing one of my favorite movies get such a shoddy treatment I misspoke. Let me restate that: "In my opinion, it appears that perhaps an older master may have been used for this Blu-ray release." I've got to stop letting my emotions get the better of me. I think it's just because I expect more from Blu-ray and have been disappointed too many times as of late. I'm the type that refuses to accept that a Blu-ray "is at least better than the DVD." Given the format's capabilities, it should be an order of magnitude better than the DVD. I still believe that this is a sub-par release that is riddled with an overuse of edge enhancement and a good bit of digital noise. And knowing that the same studio will be releasing one of my all time favorites in Pulp Fiction, I am worried that it will be treated with the same disregard. I guess we shall see when the time comes. So sorry if I came across the wrong way Michael. No offense was intended.

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted March 29 2011 - 01:42 AM

I'm not offended, Todd. I just don't see any basis for the conclusion (now restated as an "opinion") that's it's an older master. It's quite possible to perform a subpar transfer today, especially if the technical people are being given the wrong marching orders. In this case, that could very well be: "Make sure it fits on a BD-25."


COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   Jim_E

Jim_E

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 62 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2000

Posted March 29 2011 - 01:57 AM

I'd have to agree with the opinion that this is an older master. It looks to me like the Canadian release from last year so probably derives from the same source. It's not utterly awful, but, in my opinion, it has a harsh digital look rather than a nice filmic appearance. Not sure Lionsgate would have had a lot of time to produce a new version specifically for this release from when they got the rights. Maybe it was made for HDTV broadcast, rather than Blu-Ray.


Scream will probably never look pin sharp, but I'd expect with a bit of care and attention that it can look better than this attempt. And next time can we finally have the unrated version so I can retire my Japanese DVD?



#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted March 29 2011 - 02:27 AM


Originally Posted by Jim_E 

I'd have to agree with the opinion that this is an older master. It looks to me like the Canadian release from last year so probably derives from the same source. It's not utterly awful, but, in my opinion, it has a harsh digital look rather than a nice filmic appearance. Not sure Lionsgate would have had a lot of time to produce a new version specifically for this release from when they got the rights.


If that's true, that would make this the same master as the Alliance release from August 2010 -- a date that is hardly antique.


However, it's my understanding that those Alliance discs had few or no special features, which again suggests that overcompression is an issue (assuming that master was used).


COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,874 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted March 29 2011 - 02:42 AM

Thanks for the review, Michael.


Sounds like I'm gonna hold off on this one until it hits the bargain bin or something given the PQ issues (and my sizeable backlog of titles) -- could always wait til closer to Halloween or something when the mood might strike me enough to do the upgrade.


Yeah, it's disappointing to see this, but like I mentioned during its PR, I had serious doubts that this release will be all that good under the circumstance.  And given who's involved, makes sense that Lionsgate may simply have just recycled the master/transfer from the Canadian release or maybe some HDTV broadcast.


FWIW, if anyone wants to check out some screencaps, blu-ray.com has some in their review.  Haven't checked DVDBeaver yet, but I imagine they'll put up some soon enough, if they don't have them already.


Maybe they'll do right by this flick in the next year or two like they've done previously for some others.  In the meantime, I'll just play the wait-and-see game w/ this one...


Thanks again, Michael...


_Man_



Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Jim_E

Jim_E

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 62 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2000

Posted March 29 2011 - 03:58 AM




Originally Posted by Michael Reuben 



If that's true, that would make this the same master as the Alliance release from August 2010 -- a date that is hardly antique.


However, it's my understanding that those Alliance discs had few or no special features, which again suggests that overcompression is an issue (assuming that master was used).


If the master is the same for both releases I personally doubt it was made specially in 2010 for the Alliance release then, but obviously I can't say for sure that it hails from an earlier time. I agree that compressing down to fit on a 25gb disc can't have helped though.


Ultimately the reason for the look isn't really important to me, I'm dissapointed with it regardless. Given Lionsgate's history I doubt this is the last version of Scream we'll see from them though, and since they've often released uncut versions of their titles before maybe it will get that treatment next time. If so I'd imagine they'll need a new master, so hopefully we'll get a better looking version at some point, especially if they're not under as much pressure to rush something out ahead of the sequel being released.





#14 of 37 OFFLINE   TravisR

TravisR

    Studio Mogul



  • 22,344 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 15 2004
  • LocationThe basement of the FBI building

Posted April 06 2011 - 10:42 AM

Costco has all three Screams on sale for $8 each.



#15 of 37 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,874 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted April 06 2011 - 11:17 AM


Originally Posted by TravisR 

Costco has all three Screams on sale for $8 each.


Niiice!  But LOL, why does that always happen the day *after* my wife makes a trip to Costco? Posted Image  She finally picked up the new version of Memento for me at the $8 price just yesterday -- wonder how she'd feel about making another trip to Costco in a week or so. Posted Image


_Man_



Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Mark Edward Heuck

Mark Edward Heuck

    Screenwriter



  • 1,156 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 25 2000

Posted April 06 2011 - 07:55 PM

No one has discussed if, longshot as it may be, this transfer uses the uncensored edit that was released on laserdisc in the '90's.  I doubt it, which is galling for many reasons, not least of which is that in the Craven/Williamson commentary, they are looking at the uncut master, which means when applied to the domestic rated version, they are discussing restored footage that is still cut!


"As I looked back over my life, I realized that I enjoyed nothing--not art, not sex--more than going to the movies." -- Gore Vidal

#17 of 37 OFFLINE   RickER

RickER

    Producer



  • 5,130 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 04 2003
  • Real Name:Rick
  • LocationTulsa, Oklahoma

Posted April 06 2011 - 11:42 PM

Thanks for the review Michael.


I never owned the DVD of Scream, and this was cheap enough on release, so i got it. To bad they crammed it on a BD-25!


Anyway, from the sound of things, it seems we are better off with LionsGate than Echo Bridge, who also has Miramax titles coming out. LionsGate is the lesser of 2 evils, or so i hear.



#18 of 37 OFFLINE   cafink

cafink

    Producer



  • 3,043 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 19 1999

Posted April 07 2011 - 01:15 AM


Originally Posted by Mark Edward Heuck 

No one has discussed if, longshot as it may be, this transfer uses the uncensored edit that was released on laserdisc in the '90's.  I doubt it, which is galling for many reasons, not least of which is that in the Craven/Williamson commentary, they are looking at the uncut master, which means when applied to the domestic rated version, they are discussing restored footage that is still cut!


It was discussed in a couple of other threads on the subject, and sadly, you are correct.  The Blu-ray contains only the R-rated theatrical cut.


 

 


#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul



  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted April 07 2011 - 02:42 AM



Originally Posted by Mark Edward Heuck 

No one has discussed if, longshot as it may be, this transfer uses the uncensored edit that was released on laserdisc in the '90's.


The review mentions this in two places:


Studio: Lionsgate

Rated: R


In Conclusion:


 

While not the most auspicious beginning for the Miramax/Lionsgate partnership, this is still the best that Scream has ever looked since I saw it in the theater. Maybe they’ll do a better transfer for Craven’s director’s cut (the one with even more blood).


In addition, when I first received the review copy, I immediately reported that it was only the theatrical cut, because I knew people would want to know. Extended discussion followed.


Edit on 4/8/11: To avoid any possibility of further confusion, I have added an additional note after the review's introduction.


COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   cafink

cafink

    Producer



  • 3,043 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 19 1999

Posted April 07 2011 - 02:48 AM

Didn't Lionsgate's Saw Blu-ray list the R-rated version on the packaging but actually contain the unrated cut?