Fresh On 4K: SCREAM and CANDYMAN (2021) look sharp as ever at home

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Rated R, 111 minutes.
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy

Wes Craven’s SCREAM is one of the biggest word-of-mouth hits in cinema history. The film revolutionized horror and brought the genre back to life after tripping and falling throughout the 90s. The post-modern slasher defined the rules that so many films like HALLOWEEN, or FRIDAY THE 13TH abided by and brought them tumbling down with a bloody smile. 

Largely the success of the film came from Kevin Williamson’s (DAWSON’S CREEK) whip-smart script and the ultra charismatic cast. It was an odd mix of fresh faced actors and Courtney Cox in the salad days of FRIENDS inexplicably being a wild card. Everyone from the likes of Neve Campbell, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy will go to their graves buried with a ghost face mask. This franchise is a phenomenon, like many horror franchises had diminishing returns, yet the ride was always so fun. 

With rights issues tangled for years following the demise of Dimension and a terrible blu ray release fans of SCREAM would kill for a worth copy to add to their collections. With a few shipping delays due to supply chain issues Paramount has released a worthy 4K edition that from her on out should be the preferred method of viewing for the classic film. 

VIDEO: The video quality is a huge upgrade from the original blu ray and digital releases of the film by cleaning up that fussy digital noise reduction that washed out all the colors. With SCREAM it seems the video team scanned a print of the film in 4K and cleaned up the color palettes so that the scenes at night would pop. In my experience with these discs its easy to see when a studio is cutting corners, but with the upcoming sequel and the absolute necessity  for a new transfer there was no way around a full overhaul. This was well worth the wait. 

AUDIO: Included is a DTS master audio track and Dolby audio that hits hard if you have the right system. Plus you should crack the speakers when “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave plays midway through the film. Undeniably crispy and clean the sound works perfectly for this release. 

Special Features: Nothing new was created, but how much more do you need? The passing of Wes Craven left a big hole in the heart of the franchise and I think at this point fans should be happy. If you’re looking for a solid documentary Blumhouse producer Ryan Turek made a feature-length documentary about the franchise called STILL SCREAMING

Grade: A-

CANDYMAN (2021)

Rated R, 91 minutes.
Director: Nia DaCosta
Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo, Kyle Kaminsky, Brian King, Vanessa Williams, and Michael Hargrove

This comes from the theatrical review of CANDYMAN (2021)

After CANDYMAN opens coldly with an old-school story of the Cabrini Green district in the 1970s, we follow a young boy who leaves his friends for home only to be screaming in horror. Then, cut to Brianna Cartwright (Parris), a successful art gallery director girlfriend hosting a dinner with Anthony McCoy (Mateen), her not as successful visual artist boyfriend. When Brianna’s brother (Nathan Stewart Jarrett) and his partner tell a haunting story about Helen Lyle’s (Virginia Madsen from the original film) disturbing demise, this intrigues Anthony to do some digging of his own. From there, curiosity opens Anthony’s artistic vision into something he could never have bargained for, even if his artistry is more 20/20 than ever before. 

DaCosta’s film unravels unconventionally as we follow McCoy down the rabbit hole that takes him inside the walls of what has gone down in the Cabrini Green district for generations. He does some detective work before creating an interactive piece of work that brings the Candyman back into the modern age. 

The film’s brilliance comes at the hands of the ultra-slick camera work and filmmaking tricks used within the frame, especially mirrors. It’s as if DaCosta and her director of photography John Gulesarian were taking a look directly at the audience members, daring them to look inward. But not to “fix” their emotions, but to “fix” the system that has oppressed our country for centuries. CANDYMAN never feels in service to its own themes; every plot detail happens organically and warrants multiple viewings. CANDYMAN critiques the studio system and the art world as a whole by lashing out at the gatekeepers that decide who’s sitting at the table this week. 

DaCosta made a film that’s eerie, well-acted, and is made for experiencing either on the big-screen or on a spooky night curled up into a blanket. The best thing about DaCosta’s filmmaking is her innate ability to connect with her subjects and audience simultaneously. Warning for the horrors that have yet to come and respecting the horrors that are in our past. 

Special Features: The special features for CANDYMAN are next level. The creative team behind this release went above and beyond. I think its because the creators actually care about communicating their art to their audience. There are two features called Painting Chaos and The Art of Robert Aiki Aubrey Love that are next level great, especially for a studio release. 

  • Alternate Ending: This ending rules and is preferred to the original, but I can imagine the studio wanted a more open ended version for potential sequels. 
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes- 
  • Say My Name– The filmmaking team speak about the themes of the film and blending a message into entertainment. 
  • Body Horror– Nia DaCosta speaks in detail about how David Cronenberg’s THE FLY inspired her for CANDYMAN. 
  • The Filmmaker’s Eye: Nia DaCosta: A look into the filmmaking style of director Nia DaCosta.
  • Painting Chaos- An incredible look at the art of the film. This feature dives deep into the artistic process of the work used in the movie. 
  • The Art of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe- A truly wondrous look into the score of the film. Composter Robert Aiki Aubrey Love’s creative process for this film is a hands on look at how he created the horrific sounds of the film from the environment. 
  • Terror In the Shadows- A look into the shadow puppetry in the film. 
  • CANDYMAN: THE IMPACT  OF BLACK HORROR: A 20 minute conversation hosted by actor Colman Domingo looking into black trauma and how it is depicted in media.

Grade: A-

About author

James C. Clay

James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.