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Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Kevin Williamson
Studio: Dimension
Rated: R
Runtime: 111 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 10/4/2011

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
HTS Overall Score:88

In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale Weathers, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (played by Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately Sidney's appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 15 years since the original Scream first opened and started a new horror craze in the late 90's. Wes Craven, a legend even then, not only re-imagined the slasher genre but took our fear of madmen such as Michael Myers and turned them into the kids next door. With Scream 4, Craven and writer Kevin Williamson bring back our favorite characters and check in to see how the town of Woodsborrow is doing 15 years later.

Scream 4 succeeds in a similar way that the original Scream succeeded in that the filmmakers take all of the clichéd details that define the genre, as well as all of the “reboots” that are so popular in Hollywood these days, and plants tongue firmly in cheek. It also succeeds because it is the first film, since the first one IMO; that did a very good job of keeping you guessing until the final act. Parts 2 & 3 really fell into the same trap that most sequels do because they really just did more of the same, but even with all of the familiar faces and plot twists, Scream 4 somehow feels fresh and new.

The other thing that I thought they did well was position the series to either complete or continue without having anything hanging out there but at the same time offering plenty of ideas along the way that could potentially be fleshed out into a decent sequel. I for one was not familiar with Emma Roberts work until I watched Scream 4 but I think she is a definite talent to watch out for. Her role as Jill Roberts in Scream 4 was just great and I think she really owned the role in the final act.

The returning cast was about as you would expect them to be except for Neve Campbell who has definitely matured and no longer comes across as a bratty young adult but a mature and focused woman driven and unafraid. Courtney Cox’ return as Gale Weathers played out well as a forgotten talent who has missed a step and is busy trying to matter again and David Arquette as Sheriff Dewey is as you remember; just a Sheriff now.

I was also very appreciative that the filmmakers went with more traditional effects and stayed away from campy looking CGI as I feel that has become more of a lazy tool for filmmakers in recent years and there is still no comparison between CGI and properly done conventional effects unless the production budget is in excess of $150 million. Sadly, Scream 4 is by far the worst box office performer in the series as it seemingly got lost in the spring release calendar between Rio, Madea and Fast Five, but then again maybe the world just wasn't ready for another Scream movie. The film wasn’t even able to earn back the $40 million budget domestically and finished with $97 million worldwide which is more than a third less than Scream 3 and I am sure that number just grows when you adjust for ticket prices.

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking

Video :4.5stars:
Scream 4 sports the typical 1080P AVC transfer that is most common on Blu-ray transfers these days and the results are impressive. Resolution is as good as we have all come to expect and details are plentiful. Black levels have a lot of depth and scenes that have limited lighting have very good shadow separation. Colors pop, but are softly muted to ensure consistency throughout the transfer between light and dark scenes. I could not detect any deficiencies to report and was probably most impressed by flesh tones which were about as perfect as I have ever seen. Overall this was an extremely solid and warm transfer that must be seen to be appreciated.

Audio :4.5stars:
The DTS-HD-MA for Scream 4 is equally well done. LFE is much more atmospheric as the film itself doesn’t lend well to bombastic and impactful type of bass. Surround activity is very thoughtful in use and is a great tool for adding suspense and tautness to the film. Directionality is near perfect as sound comes from the appropriate speakers and move accordingly with the actor or action from speaker to speaker and dialogue reproduction is about as perfect as it can be and the score is thoughtful and well placed to add the appropriate amount of tension to each scene.

Extras: :4stars:
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • The Making of Scream 4
  • Scream 4 Video Game Promotion
  • DVD Copy
  • Digital Copy

Overall :4.5stars:
Scream 4 isn’t the genre defining movie that the original was and it was by far the worst box office performing film of the series however; that being said it is my opinion that it is the best film in the series since the original and any fan of the series will more than likely love it for what it is. The A/V is about as perfect as I’ve seen for this type of movie and equally balanced so one doesn’t stand out over the other. Fans of the genre will probably appreciate the use of conventional effects over CGI as well as the manner in which the filmmakers brought the franchise current. If you like horror movies then you owe it to yourself rent it, if you are a fan of the franchise then don’t hesitate to go ahead and buy it. Highly Recommended!

Recommendation: Rent It!
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