Scream (1996) DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 7.5
Audio 6.5
Special Features   N/A
Audio 7.5
Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 106
Classification:
 MA15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

7.5


Scream (1996)

On a seemingly typical evening, teenage Sydney (Drew Barrymore) receives a series of anonymous phone calls.  Though starting out innocuously enough with a bit of horror movie patter including the now-famous line ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’, things take a sinister turn when Sydney enquires why the mystery caller wants to know her name.  The stranger then utters words that, presumably, no young woman at home on her own would ever want to hear spoken on the other end of a telephone line: ‘Because I want to know who I’m looking at’.  Assuming things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Sydney turns on the porch light to find her boyfriend Steve battered, gagged and bound to a chair. A brief game of cat and mouse then ensues between Sydney and her cloaked assailant, with a predictably deadly and chillingly enacted conclusion. 

Thus begins Wes Craven’s classic 1996 crossover hit Scream.  The ensuing trail of destruction wrought by the masked killer throughout is just as gruesome and confronting as it was all those years ago, and the ‘whodunit’ storyline remains engrossing.  The constant stream of horror movie references will keep film buffs entertained, and the genuinely funny way in which genre conventions are mocked provides a nice counter to the bloodshed.  Strong performances from an ensemble cast that includes Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Rose McGowan and David Arquette and the aforementioned Barrymore also lend an convincing air to the proceedings, and prevent the story from degenerating into farce. 

Though the film treads an uneasy middle ground between horror and comedy – perhaps a little too much shtick for fans of straight scares, likewise a little too much violence for those in search of light-hearted frights – it nonetheless did big business at the box office, grossing some $180 million worldwide and ushering in an age of rip-offs, spoof and sequels.  Scream also managed to do what no other horror film before it had quite managed, at least not to the same extent; it made scary movies respectable.  The big studios realised younger audiences would turn out in droves for the chance to spend 90 minutes being frightened senseless, and a string of derivative slashers like I Know What You Did Last Summer were quickly rushed into production.  The late 1990s and early 2000s also saw an explosion in the amount of shock fodder being released to the masses, culminating in films like Saw and Hostel recouping many their modest budgets and a seemingly endless parade of straight-to-video nasties lining the shelves of suburban rental chains.  This influential smash remains an enjoyable staple of mid-90s cinema, and is definitely one of the most accomplished and entertaining horror films of the period.   

Video & Audio

The three C’s- cleanliness, crispness (assuming that’s a word) and clarity- are all evinced in this 2.35:1 letterbox rendering.  There’s the odd bit of shimmer but no real defects to speak of.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is fairly meh. 

Special Features

I have in my position the bare-bones Icon edition, without so much as a theatrical trailer in sight.  The Dimension edition amongst others contain incentives including Director’s commentary and deleted scenes, however to my knowledge all versions released in Australia run just over 106 minutes, not the 111 touted on the cover, and are cut from the original more graphic theatrical version. 






 
 



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