When I saw Scream 4 in theaters for review, I liked it. I wasn't wowed, but I though it was alright. I feel about the same on the DVD, though I would recommend it for Halloween party entertainment. The Scream movies are the kind which are a lot more fun with an initmate crowd, and having a marathon of them playing back to back would be almost as faux-meta as the films themselves. It's hardly up to Wes Craven's usual flair (at the time the film was released, he said to the press on several occasions that he returned to the franchise because he thought Kevin Williamson's script was as good as his first), but it could have been My Soul to Take 2.
In Scream 4, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to Woodsboro for a book signing to celebrate the publication of her latest memoir. "Out of Darkness" delves into her experiences as a survivor throughout the three previous murder marathons, and along for the ride once again are roving reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Lt. Dewey Riley (David Arquette). A few other adult characters are sprinkled throughout the story (Mary McDonnell, Anthony Anderson, Marley Shelton), but there are also some kids for the kiddies. Sydney's niece Jill (Emma Roberts) and her high school friends (Rory Culkin, Hayden Panettiere, Erik Knudsen) are in danger when Ghostface returns and pretty soon everyone masked and unmasked is a suspect. In spite of a rather disappointing reveal of who the killer turns out to be this time, Scream 4 is fun enough fodder for the October Halloween DVD release gristmill.
The Blu-ray DVD looks absolutely beautiful in 2.40:1/1080p widescreen. The colors, edges, and depth are perfection. The soundtrack is lush and utilizes all of the speaker capacity, especially in the stalk and slash scenes. There are captions for the hearing-impaired, even in the behind the scenes featurette and the gag reel.
There's a feature-length commentary by director Wes Craven and stars Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, and Neve Campbell (for most of the time, via telephone). Craven talks about the prank-playing amongst cast and crew, a lot about the stunts and working with stunt doubles, recent memories of what it was like from day to day… obviously, on a new movie like this there are no good perspectives. Craven mentions, "David wanted Dewey to be smarter," and Emma asks, "Isn't this the one with the highest body count?" Not exactly revelatory, but it is what it is. It keeps moving right along, so that's good. The gag reel is a decent distraction, with Anthony Anderson of course being the funniest one. Courtney curses "fuck it!" when she blows a line, but she's more cute than crass. There are also deleted and extended scenes, which I did not watch, and a 10 minute featurette which is basically a slapped-together EPK. There is a Scream 4 Video Game Promotion piece, as well as a DVD and Digital Copy.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson