Scream 4 (UK - BD RB)
M4rcus w4tches the fourth Scre4m and 4gets to get sc4red of Ghostf4ce 4gain...
After years of rumours and hearsay, Wes Craven finally returns with another Scream sequel. With series regulars Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox back for a fourth run in with Ghostface, the gang are all back together in Woodsboro for the fifteenth anniversary of the original “massacre” and surprise, surprise some new wannabe Ghostface shows up again to slash through victims for some convoluted, barely believable reason that keeps you guessing “who dunnit?” for just under two hours only for it to be the person you least suspect or may have suspected but some twist or other threw you a curveball to make you think it wasn’t them just before you find out it actually was. You know, like the other Scream sequels.
To cover the background, I really liked the first Scream, Scream 2 is more goodness (except I hated the reveal of who dunnit) and lastly Scream 3 was so dull it didn’t even make my wife scared (to put that it into context, she still can’t really make it through the opening of the first without suggesting we turn it off at least three times). So Scream 4 or to be down with the kids Scre4m, (which immediately indicates the movie has more chance of sucking than working and it doesn’t help that every time I read it my brain tells me it says Scram) came with high hopes that a bit of time away might just be what was needed to bring the franchise back to its entertaining heights. Guess what. It wasn’t.
The problem with this sequel (and it's apparent from the very first scene) is the audience is too used to the set up with the self-aware discussions on the history and the current climate of horror and rather than play this lazy ass sequel with its skill at making you jump but in the fun way, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson continuously opt to have the characters discuss what makes modern horror so stagnant without realising they’ve actually made a horrifically stagnant horror that fits right in to the crowd that the original Scream opened the doors for.
None of the characters are anything but Scream clichés. Everyone talks the same, everyone has the same points of reference movie wise, everyone has the same sense of humour and sensibilities on the slasher in their midst and even the seasoned characters, who should be hot shit on all this stuff by now feel like they are going through the motions which just makes them all look dumb. And speaking of dumb, some of the victims here take the cake for the dumbest victims in the entire franchise. In fact the cast here are so clichéd and annoying that when Hayden Panettiere winds up being the best thing about the entire movie you realise just how weak this sequel is.
When this anti-climax wraps up with its just about good twist and reveal of who dunnit, Scream 4 is just another ‘meh’ sequel. It’s a horror that is far from scary, it’s a mystery that is far from satisfying and it’s a revisit to yet another dying franchise that doesn’t know when to stay dead even with another twist of the knife carried out from its own creators.
The transfer here is a textured and sharp marvel, with the aged returnees to the series showing every wrinkle and line. However, the colours here undermine all that goodness at every turn. Daytime scenes feel blown out with hazy colour. Oranges and yellows feel a little blurry and make the edges feel really soft in places. Then to make it worse the night scenes feel way too dark. Emma Roberts' brown hair is black with no detail at all, same goes for Neve’s same nineties hairdo. It just looks like a black clump on her head. Shadows are too deep and characters literally disappear in the sets for no real reason most of the time and well lit actors glow off the screen so much that night time backgrounds are all but pitch black with hints of houses, cars and streets behind them. It's all a bit murky and underwhelming and makes the movie feel strangely dated.
Good strong dialogue is a consistent factor here and then the DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio explodes to frighten you with the big scary music forcing you to get into the action and the atmospheric knife slices and stabs feeling so strong it’s almost laughable. That said that’s every Scream mix, so it’s just more of the same but with the HD oomph to make it all that more kick your teeth in loud when Ghostface comes to play.
The score is well spread across the entire speaker set up and music numbers fill the room with plenty of bassy punch but there’s nothing all that special going on here and its totally typical sound design is only really interested in showing off in the bloody parts.
The disc opens with trailers of the Lord of the Rings extended trilogy, London Boulevard, The New Daughter and the odd looking Blood Creek and then offers up absolutely no features at all beside a trailer (02:20). I think that’s known as a “dick move” to all of the fans of the franchise out there.
I want to like Scream 4 but watching it again here only highlights its disappointing results. It’s not fun to see what Ghostface does anymore. There’s nothing enjoyable about seeing the same old run-a-round and the franchise’s spin on its own genre just doesn’t work for me anymore. It doesn’t help that the creators don’t give us characters we care anything about or even ‘like' and the fact they don’t even have the balls to shock us with the story at all just makes for dullness, which carries over to the about average video, nothing special audio and total lack of features. This release is just about as weak as this sequel ended up being and that's really very weak. See you in 2016 when they try to make something of the twentieth anniversary, in which Ghostface is Skeet Ulrich who's back from the dead or something equally stretching.
* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Release Date: 22nd August 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere
Length: 110 minutes
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