The Scream Blu-ray Collection Review
What more can be said about Wes Craven's trilogy of post-modern scary movies? The first film (1996) injected new life into a tired genre, telling us all 'the rules' while gleefully laying waste to a collection of pretty young things and making a star out of Neve Campbell. The inevitable sequel (1997) was rushed to cinemas, but as it was made hot on the heels of Scream it still carried over some of that freshness. The third one (2000) took a little more time to reach our screens and the series had by then become its own tired franchise, which is somewhat ironic given how the other two films mercilessly poke fun at lame horror sequels.
After 15-odd years, Scream and Scream 2 hold up very well indeed. Horror is a strange genre in that it doesn't seem to date as badly as others; the reliance on practical effects is one of those things that keeps it raw and real, and feelings of horror and dread are as old as the hills. If a horror movie works, then it works. The same can't be said for Scream 3. It's not as bad as I remember it to be, but the movie-within-a-movie set up is just a bit too clever for its own good. You get the feeling that people involved in 'the biz' would love all the movie making in-jokes, but it leaves this mere mortal cold. Remove the dreadful comedy cameos and it'd be a better film just for that.
Still, all three films are superior self-aware slashers, and they really should be in any discerning horror fan's collection.
Alliance aren't renowned for their high-quality releases, and their Scream Trilogy keeps up the bad work. These three 1080i AVC encodes are framed at approximately 2.35:1 and generally look very tired, with a noticeable lack of fine detail, some obvious noise and blatant edge halos throughout. Colour is fairly robust, as is the black level (although the climactic reel of Scream 3 looks very washed out).
I didn't spot any major compression issues, although the interlaced masters have their own problems. Courtney Cox wears a hideous jacket throughout Scream 2 which has always been a test for home video releases due to the intricacy of the stitching, and this Blu-ray gets a fail. That jacket shimmers like crazy whenever it's on screen, and other shots suffer the same fate with a fair bit of aliasing on horizontal edges.
The audio quality is where this set redeems itself. The box makes no mention of DTS-HD Master Audio, but each movie has the lossless option to go with the vanilla Dolby Digital tracks. These DTS-HD 5.1 mixes are a treat for your surround system, making full use of the rears to create a tightly integrated and coherent sound stage.
During the more action-packed scenes you can expect lots of shouting voices and effects all around you, placed with delicious accuracy. The quieter moments are no less involving; the outdoor campus scenes in Scream 2 got the seal of approval from my cat as she woke from her slumber to wonder where those chirping birds were. The oh-so-hip dialogue never gets lost in the mix, and neither does the music score which often oozes around the rears with malevolent intent.
My only complaint is that the low end is surprisingly thin. I had to check my sub to make sure I'd switched it on when watching Scream. Part 2 is very similar, and while 3 gives it a little more love (the gunshots have a nicely concussive 'pop' to them) it still doesn't rock the joint.
Nothing. Nathan. Nada. Niente.
For the money I paid for it (a mere £16.99) this set was worth a look. The digipak cover is lovely and the sound is pretty good, but the old 1080i video quality lets it down, as does the complete lack of extras. They're locked to region A too, and here ye be warned: there are new American releases just around the corner (details here), which should have 1080p video and a handful of extra features.