Just in time for the arrival of the upcoming "Scream 4" hitting theaters April 15, we thought we’d take a look back at the trilogy that started it all! And what better way to look at the Wes Craven franchise then on the best sound and picture quality available. So stab the DVD player, throw the laserdisc player into the trunk and cue the big screen cause the show is about to begin – Blu-ray style!
Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox
The Flick: Even viewing the film some fifteen years later, the clever writing and sharp direction still holds up. Kevin Williamson’s poignant and movie geek laced words mixed with Wes Craven’s knack for the visually naughty is, pardon the pun, a scream to watch. (They kill The Fonze for crying out loud!) Add to that an entire cast of amazing actors including vet Drew Barrymore (in a Janet Leigh tribute to die for!), Jamie Kennedy as movie know-it-all Randy and even a little early Liev Schreiber with a brilliant whodunit vibe weaved throughout the film and you’ve got a flick that definitely earned it’s place in ghost face horror history.
Best Feature: Hearing the commentary track with Craven and Williamson brings back a ton of cool memories – a nostalgic listen.
Best Hidden Gem: Rose McGowan’s line about the validity of the Richard Gere gerbil story – both funny and biting!
Worth the Moola: In every sense of the picture and sound word – YES!
The Flick: Not as impacting as the original – which may be half the fun of "Scream 2." Poking fun at the sequel phenomenon, Williamson and Craven do have a wicked time with the conventions that go with a follow up, but the flick still suffers the clichés voiced so eloquently by the characters within. Meaning for all the great dialogue (Kennedy’s Randy is in full verbal assault movie mode in this one!) and interesting new characters (a young and fresh Timothy Olyphant is awesome to watch!) there are tired bits (the Jada Pinkett Smith retread opening is uninspired!) and characters out of place (Laurie Metcalf acts like she’s in a Farrelly Brothers flick!) – the blessing and curse of being a sequel.
Best Feature: Hearing from future director of "My Bloody Valentine 3D" and "Drive Angry," Editor Patrick Lussier on both the commentary and deleted scenes shows just how knowledgeable and insightful he is – no wonder he’s directing!
Best Hidden Gem: The opening battle of words between Kennedy and Olyphant on sequels is just plain legendary.
Worth the Moola: Only if you’re a die-hard "Scream" fan who will drop dead without it in your collection – otherwise rent folks!
The Flick: While watching "Scream 3" again something seemed a tad off to me and when I looked back at the credits I understood why. The script was not written by early "Scream" scribe Kevin Williamson, but by "Arlington Road" author Ehren Kruger and frankly it shows. Not only does the film feel copied (the Liev Schreiber opening reeks!) and redundantly unoriginal (a hottie like Jenny McCarthy gets it…early?!), but Kruger even tries to bring back humor via dead characters. (The whole Randy video bit is a Mr. Fantastic style stretch!) There are a few good lines and Craven killings (Sidney going through the original "Scream" set is cool!), but not enough to make up for what’s missing –the Williamson whimsy.
Best Feature: The Alternate Ending does have extra explanation into killer motives and such – but even that feels sometimes like Williamson-less water torture.
Best Hidden Gem: The casting of Heather “Weiner Dog” Matarazzo as Randy’s sis is a stroke of sheer Craven genius!
Worth the Moola: Hardly – but for those who need to finish everything on the dinner plate (including the stinky stuff!) eat up.