Wes Craven’s blood-soaked trilogy comes to Blu-ray — just in time for Scream 4
By the early ’90s, the slasher genre was as dead as a promiscuous camp counselor. Then along came Scream (1996, R, 1 hr., 51 mins.), the in-joke killer thriller that took all of the wheeziest clichés of the Freddy/Jason/ Michael Myers golden age and reflected them in a fun-house mirror. The characters lining up for the bloody body count were now pop-saturated teens weaned on horror movies. They could recite the ”rules” of these films one minute and fall victim to them the next. Now Scream and its two sequels are making their Blu-ray debuts with EXTRAS held over from previous DVD incarnations. And 15 years on, Wes Craven’s kickoff installment holds up the best, especially the terrifying opening in which Drew Barrymore is stalked over the phone. In hindsight, the rest of the film feels a bit like a setup for the trilogy that writer Kevin Williamson said he always had in mind, with Neve Campbell’s virginal Sidney Prescott being hunted by a maniac in a ghost-face mask. Eager to keep the cash registers humming, Scream 2 (1997, R, 2 hrs.) followed a year later. This time Courteney Cox’s icy reporter and David Arquette’s dim deputy got juicier roles while the rest of the cast of disposable archetypes deadpanned about why ”sequels suck” — a particularly funny joke, since this one didn’t. Suckiness would have to wait for Scream 3 (2000, R, 1 hr., 57 mins.), a limp movie-within-a-movie parody that closed the trilogy with a fizzle instead of the bang it deserved. The irony, of course, is that this splatter saga was done in by the same tired tropes it satirized. Still, redemption may be at hand as Scream 4 hits theaters on April 15. Let’s hope there’s more giddy life to be wrung from grisly death. Scream: A? Scream 2: B Scream 3: C?