Scream (1996) | 4K Blu-ray Review


Twenty-five years ago, Wes Craven’s Scream became a horror-genre hit, a cultural icon generating copious copycats and spoofs, and the spawn of innumerable Ghostface killer Halloween costumes. With a new movie on the way in early 2022, it was no surprise that we received a remastered, 4K version of the now classic film that started the series. Let’s see if they did proper justice to one of the most legendary horror films of the 90s or if this is one to leave home alone.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Scream 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)
Digital Code
Released By:Paramount Pictures/Miramax
Release Date:October 19th, 2021
Video Format / Codec:H.265 (HEVC)
Resolution:Native 4K, 2160/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from 35mm negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1
Audio Format(s):English: 
DTS-HD MA 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Additional tracks available in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese and Russian
Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish
Packaging:Dual-disc case with slipcover*

*Slipcover may be limited to initial pressing
Region Coding:Region-free

Video Review:

Up front, the Scream 4K is absolutely an improvement over the older 2011 Blu-ray. The older Blu-ray was oversharpened and looked over-processed to the point where it became distracting and this remaster from 4K scans of the original negatives absolutely fixes that issue. But, similarly when you look at them side by side in still-frame screenshots, the 4K can almost look a tad bit soft by comparison, but it truly is an optical illusion as as soon as you hit play again, the amount of fine detail, textures in clothing and skin and revealing aspects of the scenery absolutely comes through and puts the Blu-ray to shame. This movie was shot with an anamorphic set up meaning that, especially some of the edge details can look a bit soft, but it also means it will have areas of absolute (real) sharpness. I think the remastering team did a great job of bringing this film up from a visual detail perspective to the best of where it could be.

There is film grain throughout this film, but it is very well handled on the 4K disc, where the processing of the older Blu-ray made it look more pronounced as it too was over-sharpened along with the details of the scene. That said, it will still be apparent to those grain-sensitive folks out there, so just be aware that they did not wipe this clean of grain.

The most noticeable change is the color grade. The original Blu-ray was definitely toned blue and was fairly dark. While stylistically this can be an acceptable and desirable choice for many movies, it was almost pushed a bit too far. The new Dolby Vision color grade on this 4K disc brings all of those colors back toward natural with skin regaining a look of life, blood getting that rich pop, and bright greens and yellows colors also seeing a nice uptick without becoming garish. The dynamic range of this film, especially with many dark scenes is definitely more appropriately handled with little black crush and deep, inky blacks in abundance. The whites too are not blown out but definitely get closer to white and specular highlights are better controlled and more piercing, although some could have gone a bit further.

As noted in the specs, for the U.S. release there is no standard Blu-ray included, however the remastered image was also released on standard Blu-ray if you wish to purchase that separately.

Video Score (4K): 4.3 / 5

Audio Review:

The audio mix on this film is the same 5.1 track we received on all past Blu-ray releases, but it’s very strong. While a new Atmos or DTS:X mix would have potentially taken it further it also would have risked replacing an already great immersive surround mix that serves the movie very well. The sound design of Scream is one of it’s keys to making it a proper horror all-star, and the 5.1 mix is used very effectively. Dialog is clear throughout the mix, and the use of a regular barrage of sudden effects, musical stingers, and deep, anxiety-inducting bass notes comes through with aplomb. I had no major issues with the mix as it currently is presented. However, I did test it on both major Dolby and DTS upmixers and it definitely takes the existing track and opens certain aspects up a touch bit more in my space, but the benefit was minimal.

Audio Score (4K): 4.5 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

Let’s start off with the good. We did get a new entry into the list of special features on this 25th anniversary release. It is a nearly 8 minute interview with cast/crew of past and present talking about the impact of Scream on the genre and culture over the years since it came out.

The bad news is, that’s all we got that was new. Everything else is ported over from the 2011 Blu-ray release and we even lost a trailer montage (not a big loss, IMHO). Everything is there including the audio commentary from Wes Craven and writer Kevin WIlliamson, the production featurette, some behind the scenes clips and the cast Q&A. Other than the commentary, the rest is all pretty weak and not worth revisiting, so there’s not much here to dive into if you already have the existing Blu-ray.

For packaging, this is the standard slipcover edition of the release and it’s exactly that: standard. The cover art is certainly fine and fits with what I would expect for the film and we did get some art on the disc, but that’s pretty much it.  If you are into Steelbooks, the imagery for that release is definitely better than what we got here, but you will have to shell out a few extra dollars for it.

Features Score: 2.7 / 5

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

If you are a fan of this film, then you should absolutely consider adding this to your collection. The biggest reason to grab this is for the picture quality. Compared to the 2011 Blu-ray, this 4K disc fixes a lot of the issues with that older transfer, especially the oversharpened look. The color grade is a bit different but overall I think it still looks really good. Top that off with the existing audio mix, which is very good even if not that latest and greatest format, and you end up with a very good release that absolutely upgrades the experience of the film.


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

Scream is definitely a film that needed a bit of an upgrade and thankfully we got that in the form of the picture quality on the 25th anniversary 4K Blu-ray. While it would have been nice to get a bit more for this iconic 90s horror film, what we did get was very good and definitely got me reinvigorated to check out the new film when it hits theaters in a few months. And if you are still waiting for yours due to ongoing production and distribution delays, just know you have something good headed your way.

Experience Score**: 4.3 / 5  (Very Good)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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