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Scream / Scream 2 / Scream 3

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To make you feel old, Wes Craven’s “Scream” will turn 15 this year. With the latest chapter, “Scream 4,” hitting theaters Friday, the original trilogy has made its Blu-ray debut, so you can see — with greater clarity than ever — how well it holds up.

The short answer: In contrast to human aging, the younger are they are, the worse off. Each film was such a big hit that rather than rehash plots you already know by heart — or “plot,” singular, as the sequels recycle it in another setting — we figure we’d see what works and what doesn’t after a weekend of revisiting the killer franchise.

Scream” (1997)

YAY:
• The prologue with Drew Barrymore still works like a charm. It may be the best sequence of the entire series.
• Neve Campbell projects girl-next-door innocence well.
• And that scene in which Ghostface emerges from the closet behind her is still freaky.
• Rose McGowan is sassy and sexy (even if some of her dialogue is super-silly). Rose, we hardly knew ye.
• Kevin Williamson’s script is clever for nearly the entirety of the running time.

NAY:
• Some of the overdubs are horrible, like recorded-in-next-room horrible.
• Why was Jamie Kennedy such a fan favorite? His VHS-geek shtick has gone from a highlight to an embarrassment.
• Matthew Lillard overacts so much, he needs restraints. I hadn’t realized, until Blu-ray allowed it, how much actual spittle flies from his mouth and dribbles down his chin in his final scenes.
• The end confrontation is entirely too long.
• The oversized cellphones.

Scream 2” (1998)

YAY:
• The prologue’s movie-within-a-movie bit (“Stab”) remains awfully amusing, especially Tori Spelling and Luke Wilson’s bits.
• Elise Neal injects needed (and nonstereotypical) color into the main cast.
• The now novelty of seeing a pre-out Portia de Rossi and pre-wrongful-death-lawsuit Rebecca Gayheart play a sorority girls.
• Sarah Michelle Gellar’s extended scene as the sober sorority sister.

NAY:
• The prologue’s overexcited moviegoers. Crowds at free movies aren’t cordial or polite, but they don’t act like Middle East regime protesters or soccer match rioters, either.
• Um, Elise, that was quick.
• Jerry O’Connell’s cafeteria tabletop crooning, and the clapping along of his fellow collegians. As if.
• Timothy Olyphant is an excellent actor ... on “Justified.”
• The end confrontation is entirely too long.
• The oversized cellphones.

"Scream 3" (2000)

YAY:
• Jenny McCarthy’s cleavage.
• Roger Corman as a studio executive.
• Parker Posey.
• That’s about it.

NAY:
• Jenny McCarthy’s line readings.
• The cameos of Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob characters — perhaps the nadir of Miramax cross-promotional efforts.
• Try as he might, screenwriter Ehren Kruger is no Kevin Williamson.
• Skipping “Stab 2.”
• How Ghostface’s voice changer can expertly mimic all the characters’ voices.
• Courteney Cox’s hair, seemingly borrowed from the wig collection of Morticia Addams.
• Heather Matarazzo’s inexplicably shoehorned-in role.
• Jamie Kennedy’s ridiculously hard-to-swallow “return” via videotaped message.
• The end confrontation is entirely too long ... as is the whole movie.
• The oversized cellphones.


 
If you don’t already own the “Scream” films, the Blu-rays are a good buy, but port over the extras from the long-in-print DVDs, not to mention Dimension’s terribly ugly front- and back-cover art. —Rod Lott

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