Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scream 4 (2011)

When I first heard they were making another Scream film, I was full of trepidation. I loved the original Scream, and while the sequels weren’t as good, I enjoyed them nonetheless. The Scream trilogy was a big part of my high school experience and I still remember catching them in theaters and watching them again and again at home. Scream 3 came out in 2000, though, and I really wondered if the large time span between films would be detrimental to the series.

Luckily, the film itself takes place a decade after the events of Scream 3. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to Woodsboro on the anniversary of the infamous Woodsboro Massacre to kick off a book tour for her new self-help autobiography. However, Ghostface has also returned to settle the score and starts picking off the locals and seems to have Sidney’s niece Jill (Emma Roberts) in his sights. Partnering again with the now-married Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courteney Cox), can Sidney stop the new Ghostface, who seems to be playing by new, updated movie rules?

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Scream 4 (gah, I refuse to use it’s lame Scre4m moniker), but I was excited to see what director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson had done with the series. The film has a clever opening (though it got a bit tired pretty fast) that was quite gory before introducing us to our new cast of high schoolers and re-introducing the familiar faces. I actually liked the self-aware cast of new characters, most who either become red herrings or dead meat. I also enjoyed how the returning characters were crafted to show their development and growth as people. Despite the fact that the Scream films are considered slashers, I have always appreciated the development that has gone into the films’ characters.

I also appreciated that the film has changed with the times and adapted the “new rules” of the post-slasher era (all the while having a bit of fun with “the rules” and poking fun at several other franchises, namely the Saw series). However, I was disappointed to find that the film still relied on the tired cliché of female victims being hacked to bits while most of the male victims were dispatched quickly (or stupidly – a knife to the middle of the forehead, really?). With all the “rules” being mixed up, you’d think either Craven or Williamson would switch up this most tiresome trope of slashers (or the horror genre in general), but no such luck.

I also thought that while the first two acts were strong and suspenseful, the third act pretty much lags until the climax. The “Stab-a-thon” party scene and the after-party scenes would have probably worked better if they were both condensed down a bit. However, once we get past that small pacing speedbump the film delivers with a great climax and conclusion.

I may have pointed out several negatives I found with the film, but the truth is I really enjoyed Scream 4. I love the characters, both new and old, the “new rules” introduced, the witty dialogue and of course, the death scenes (errr, besides the unbelievable knife through the skull previously mentioned). I really find it a pity that more horror fans aren’t checking this film out. Scream 4 may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a fun time and well worth the admission price. I highly encourage you to check out this horror sequel that actually delivers!

Buy it on Amazon!

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