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Scream 2: 25th Anniversary Edition – Steelbook (4K UHD Blu-ray)

The rollout of the Scream films on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray has been a sort weird one. Rather than jumping ahead and just doing a set to start and then maybe a modified one once the fifth one was released, they did a 25th anniversary of the first one, then the fifth one when it came out along with a double of movie 1 and movie 5. Now here for the 25th anniversary of the sequel it gets the jump. Still no word on 3 or 4, perhaps waiting on an anniversary themselves. Scream 2 arrives on October 4th in regular and steelbook packaging. No new bonus features, but the original Lionsgate Blu-ray disc is included. You can order yourself a copy of this groovy collectible steelbook by using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review.

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Film

Away at college, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) thought she’d finally put the shocking murders that shattered her life behind her… until a copycat killer begins acting out a real-life sequel.  Now, as history eerily repeats itself, ambitious reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) and other SCREAM survivors find themselves trapped in a terrifyingly clever plotline where no one is safe or beyond suspicion. 

Scream 2 is one of the greatest sequels in slasher (and horror) history, coming off a film that was pretty much impossible to top in Scream. Its up for the task in moving our characters forward and putting them in danger again. But one of its most important aspect, which is the toughest of any horror part 2 (or 3, 4, etc) is that it introduces a whole slew of new characters that we find ourselves absolutely invested in and caring about through these proceedings about as much as our main cast. Whether they be already likeable personalities (Jerry O’Connell) or just well rounded gems that get great establishment with only 2 scenes even (Sarah Michelle Gellar), it works and has you drawn into every chase, every clue and every reaction on the screen. Any time somebody goes, you feel it.

Directorially, this is Wes Craven’s finest hour. He may be more remembered for some other things and created some great monsters, but from the technical and execution standpoint, he’s never been better. There are some all out fantastic slasher action/chase sequences in this film. Craven fully utilizes his environments and also toys with some playful nature. The sequence of Dewey and Gale in the film building looking through tapes and Sidney and Halle’s escape from the crashed police car are two of the best, most thrilling and most suspenseful sequences in the history of the genre. There’s even a comedic scene where he imitates a more iconic film and therein makes an iconic one in and of itself for the horror crowd to chew on (Derek’s Top Gun inspired “I Think I Love You” proclamation).

Kind of a side step here, but still part of the film – Scream 2‘s soundtrack rules. This is an incredibly varied mix of artists and music stylings that probably felt very in tune with what you’d hear on a college campus at the time. From Dave Matthews Band (“Help Myself”, the only place you’ll find the studio cut of this live rarity is on the Scream 2 soundtrack) to Master P (“Scream”), it runs the gamut. There are great chill songs like the Eels “Your Lucky Day In Hell”, “She Said” by Collective Soul and Sugar Ray’s “Rivers” to more rocking or rapping out in Kottonmouth Kings “Suburban Life”, D’Angelo’s take on Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair” and Less Than Jake’s cover of “I Think I Love You”. This album found lots and lots of spins in this writer’s car back in December of 1996 and continues to rock today.

Scream 2 pulls off the impossible taking the great things from the original and taking them to the next level at almost every turn. The film showcases a fun and fully utilized setting, chilling mystery, well used nostalgia for the first film, great characters, wonderful kill sequences and a finale that really compliments the first film. Its one of the best sequels and one of the best slasher films ever put to celluloid.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from the standard Blu-ray, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail Scream 2 released on Blu-ray back in 2011 with a transfer that was okay for the time but has dated to the point where it just looked like some upconverted DVD. Its not alone in that, as many films of the 1990s stock or something just didn’t really translate to Blu-ray neatly (See other similar horror films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Halloween: H20 or even bigger stuff like the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films). However, with the advent of 4K Ultra-HD these things are finally starting to showcase their beauty. And Scream 2 looks better than ever, with much less noise and compression presenting bolder, richer coloring, natural blacks and a crisper image with some nice grain that helps it have much more majestic and professional look. If you put the work into the restoration, scanning and transfer of these movies, its going to turn out nicely.

Depth: The film opens up so much more on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. Depth of field improves immensely with spacing and scale. There’s a simple exterior walking and talking scene with Sidney and Randy as he exits class that felt incredible different as you had a better sense of distance between the too as she moreso now looks like she is struggling to keep up with him. The campus and its interiors are so much more spacious and grand. Character and camera movements are smooth, filmic and much more confident here with no issues of jitter or blur distortion caused by the more heavy action sequences.

Black Levels: Black levels enhance greatly here as they hit natural levels and are much more nuanced, able to show off more details within the darker areas as well as patterns and textures that maybe weren’t as rich or noticeable as they were before. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors actually exist here now. This used to look more washed out or faded, but here they come to life in bold ways. No, its not some 80s blast of color, but they actually pop and look lifelike as wells and shine in some more vivid areas. The opening sequence with the marquee and lighting utilizes the HDR to give things much more of a glow in the right places. The grass and skies improve immensely here. Seeing the film look like this is such a breath of fresh air compared to what we had with the Blu-ray.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are discernible from any reasonable camera distance. Skin tones are much more flush than they were before. I’d say warmer, but this is more what they should look like as opposed to the old disc. You get stubble, dried blood, wrinkles, freckles and moles in natural and looking through a window-like ways.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin American) 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Italian 2.0 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, German, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish

Dynamics: Scream 2 carries over its 5.1 track that was featured on the standard Blu-ray release. Not a bad thing at all as that one had an effects placement of volumes and very well layered mix with wonderful touches of depth. Its engaging, loud and helps to add to the suspense and thrills of watching the film.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer kicks in with bass and drum on many  of the groovy songs featured in the film. Impalements, punches, crashes, engines, gunfire as well as big musical jumps all get a nice thump from the box on the floor.

Surround Sound Presentation: A lot of focus is up front here, but there are some fun contributions and heavy action in the rear channels when it counts. Many of the bigger chase moments include plenty of bigger score pushes as well as unique sounds and offscreen tracking to good effect.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are crisp and clean.

Extras

Scream 2: 25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook comes with the Lionsgate Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital copy. This particular version comes in collectible steelbook packaging.

Audio Commentary

  • by Director Wes Craven, Producer Marianne Maddalena and Editor Patrick Lussier

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary (SD, 4:09)

Outtakes (SD, 8:54)

Featurette (SD, 7:05)

Music Videos

  • Master P “Scream” (SD, 3:06)
  • Kottonmouth Kings “Suburban Life” (SD, 3:47)

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:16)

TV Spots (SD, 6:19)

Summary

Scream 2 is my pick for the greatest slasher part 2 of all time. Its finally here on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format in either the standard amary casing or a collectible steelpook packaging. The only new thing of note is the 4K video transfer here which is rather rich and finally gives the movie beautiful looking touch that it hasn’t had since its theatrical presentation 25 years ago. Extras from before are still in tow and the audio track is awesome. An instant Day 1 pick up for collector’s and horror fans alike.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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