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Scream: 25th Anniversary Edition (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Crazy to think this December will mark 25 years since Scream hit theaters and became a phenomenon that changed the horror genre. The upcoming fifth Scream film will have more years than between the influencer Halloween when it celebrated 20 years shortly after Scream‘s release. Paramount, the current home video rights holder, is celebrating the milestone with the 25th Anniversary Edition 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release. A debut on the format, it showcases a new little featurette of reflection from the set of 2022’s Scream. The disc came out back on October 19th, but there have been some fulfilment issues getting this one out there, so some people have it and some don’t. Regardless, you can get your order in for this horror classic by clicking on the paid Amazon Associates link below and ordering a copy for when they are in stock.

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Film

After a series of mysterious deaths befalls their small town, an offbeat group of friends led by Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) becomes the target of a masked killer. As the body count rises, Sidney and her friends turn to the “rules” of horror films to help navigate the real-life terror they’re living in.

Being a horror kid and a 90s kid, its evident that Scream and its sequels were a big part of my life and love of movies during that decade. Scream was a gamechanger and brought back a resurgence of my favorite horror subgenre; the slasher film. It brought new style and dynamic to the table while also finding itself a love letter to the films that came before it and the people who made them. Still to this day you can find little nods to little known slashers you may not have known were there.

With 25 years under its belt, soon to be 4 sequels, much written and spoke about in the moment and in retrospective fashion (Especially at those milestones), I’m not gonna attempt to reinvent or bore you with echo chamber thoughts on Scream. We know this film, what it does and how it is so well at this point. Sure, time has dated some of its details a little bit, but I argue 1) that happens to almost every film and 2) the film is written in such a time capsule fashion that its embracing the fact it will some day be dated.

Scream is obviously one of the best slasher films ever made and wound up giving us one of the better franchises in terms of quality productions and consistency between them (Yes, 2 of the 4 are WAY better than the others, but its still fun in the end). Besides the obvious dialogue and meta aspect it introduced to go along with being a fun murder mystery the audience tries to play along with, what else makes this one stand apart and one of the best?

Slashers typically produce a final girl character and next to the killer, she probably gets decently remembered, especially if the performer goes on to a solid career. But with Scream, its the entire cast and characters that proved incredibly memorable. Sure, we remember the girls in Halloween and the original Elm Street Kids, but Scream gives us a big cast and we remember all their names and many of their lines. Its sort of crazy to think about it, but every character in the original is a 90s pop culture staple not unlike that of something like The Breakfast Club. In a genre where there are so many hollow throwaway stereotypes, the care is given in the script, but the actors relish in it and the opportunity. As much as I love Scream 2, which is my personal favorite of them, I can’t argue that its the characters here in the first one that haunt the minds of fans and stick with even the most casual peruser.

Its always great to revisit Scream and remember where I was as youngin’ as well as where I and the horror genre was at the time. It was an exciting time at the multiplex that followed. So many new “quality” slashers with big production value would follow; I Know What You Did Last Summer, Halloween: H20, Urban Legend, Bride of Chucky. Also, stuff like The Faculty would have the pulse of a Scream with a different genre. But among them all, Scream does still loom large tall and the best of them.

Video

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

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Scream arrives for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a native 4K title thanks to being shot on film. There is plenty of improvement as it looks quite good with improved natural black levels, better depth and some great contrast to really bring out more detail and a more true image. For those who may be wondering, this is a pretty big improvement over the original Blu-ray release. It much more well rounded an image, its not noisy anymore and has much better black levels and color saturation.

Depth:  The depth of field shines decently above average with plenty of the more medium shot, static frames looking spacious and with some pushback. Movements are smooth and filmic with no issues regarding jitter or blurring from rapid action.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and the area where this image improves most from its Blu-ray counterpart. There’s good nighttime scenes with more information showing and good contrast to bring out skin color and such. Follicles and textures on dark fabrics and hair follicles impress. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: This is a more “normal” colored film, but the regular browns, dark blues, grays and such have a nice bold appearance. Gale Weathers is probably the most popping thing in any frame as she burst with her bright attire and make-up. HDR comes into play with lights, display screens and some other odds and ends that can provide a little glow.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures like tears/tear stains, sweat, dried blood, wrinkles, make-up strokes and more are decently clear for most any shot in the film.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

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

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

Dynamics: Scream comes intact with its boffo 5.1 mix that it touted throughout its standard Blu-ray years. Its a great track that has a very playful attention to volume. The effects, that have great depth and layering, know just when to strike and pound into the viewer to make them jump and wince. Its a great balanced, mix that finds a place for every aspect in it to shine with great clarity and spaciousness in the lossless atmosphere.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer booms and rumbles big with music stings, impaling stabs, crashing, bashes and many other natural moments that should play for an expected jolt.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s a lot of action up front, but this mix never forgets the little guys in back. They play into concert with big scenes and the score as well as contributing good ambiance and some unique sounds her and there to realize an enviroment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Scream: 25th Anniversary Edition comes with a redeemable digital code.

Audio Commentary

  • By Director Wes Craven and Writer Kevin Williamson

A Bloody Legacy: Scream 25 Years Later (HD, 7:29) – Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Kevin Williamson and the directors and cast of the new film discuss the legacy of the original and what worked with it from the set of the upcoming film. Its pretty softball and doesn’t really deliver much for the dedicated fan that they haven’t already heard a ton of times. Includes some behind the scenes footage and a little bit of a tribute to Wes from the original crew.

Production Featurette (HD, 6:12)

Behind The Scenes 

  • On The Scream Set (HD, 3:25)
  • Drew Barrymore (HD, 2:53)

Q&A with Cast and Crew 

  • What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie? (HD, 2:44)
  • Why Are People So Fascinated By Horror Films (HD, 2:31)

Summary

Scream may play more of a time capsule horror film with some of its era specific detail, but the film’s effectiveness still comes in spades. Paramount’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut has the image looking better than it ever has to go along with its rather terrific 5.1 track from the original Blu-ray release. The new featurette is a whole lot of fluffy nothing and the rest of the bonus material remains the same. That commentary track is an all-timer and its actually the first commentary track I ever listened to back in the day when they played it that way on Pay Per View. Its a shame they didn’t do the entire series in this 4K drop, but I’m sure that’s coming. The original Scream is a must have in any horror collection.

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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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