Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, and Emma Roberts
Horror movies seldom get any respect from film critics in this country. It would be very easy to dismiss a fourth Scream movie as just any other slasher flick. Back in the mid 1990’s horror was pretty much a dead industry in Hollywood. That was until
Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek and The Vampire Diaries)
wrote a screenplay about teenagers being stalked by a ghost-faced killer.
The original Scream was a low budget horror film that happened to have horror icon
Wes Craven (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
as the director and A lister
Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
as the star. The opening sequence of Scream single handedly revitalized the horror industry and started a horror boom that has yet to slow down. Audiences were shocked at the time when America’s beloved Drew Barrymore was cut to pieces in the first ten minutes. Two Scream sequels followed each one less impressive than the last but they left there mark and a rabid following.
Ten years have past since the original murders rocked the small town of Woodsboro.
reprises her role of survivor Sydney Prescott. Sydney has written a book about her troubled past and is in town on a promotional tour.
Her return coincides with the tenth anniversary of the original murders and a string of brutal new murders rocking the community. This time the victims are friends of Sydney’s young cousin played by
Emma Roberts (Valentines Day)
is back as Dewey. He is now the town’s sheriff and once again investigating the murders.
is still deliciously bitchy as Gale Weathers. She has been married to Dewey for the past ten years and feels bored and unfulfilled in her career. Gale is revitalized at the chance to be a reporter again and to help find the killer or killers.
The chemistry between Campbell, Arquette, and Cox is still there. Wes Craven is able to deliver a few scares this
time around, but sadly nothing new is brought to the table. The genius of the first Scream was the ability to make fun of the horror genre while putting the characters in the exact situations that they were mocking. The opening sequences of the Scream movies are known for their shocking brutality. Part 4 is no different but I found its opening to be the weakest of the series. The satire is back and updated to fit our modern Twitter/Facebook world as well as commentary on the last 10 years of horror films in Hollywood. Torture porn and remakes have been the norm for the last decade. If you have ever seen one of the
movies you have witnessed torture porn.
Part of the original Scream trilogy’s success was making the audience actually care about the lead characters. Very few horror movies are able to make me give a damn about who gets axed. Scream 4 was only able to get me on the edge of my seat when Sydney, Gayle, or Dewey were in danger. I did not care if any of the new kids got the knife but I wanted the "originals" to make it.
I of course will not give away the ending, but the reveal of the killer or killers identity was a little bit of a let down. The final act and one of Campbell's lines about horror film remakes actually saved the movie for me. Scream 4 is not a great film and far from the level of the original. But I could not help enjoying myself by being able to spend time with these characters again. I would certainly be up for screaming for a 5th time. I just need Craven to bring the scares in a fresh way like he did back in 1990's.
[caption id="attachment_7796" align="aligncenter" width="478" caption="The new generation of victims for Ghostface"]
score 6 out of 10