Scream 4 (2011)

April 25, 2011

Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Alison Brie
Director: Wes Craven (A Nightmare On Elm Street, the Scream franchise, New Nightmare)

Quick Thoughts: After a refreshing, original film that changed the landscape of slasher films in the mid-90s the Scream franchise retired in quiet fashion after 2000’s disappointing Scream 3. 11 years later, it’s a new decade and slasher films have taken on a new trend of torture horror led by Eli Roth and the Saw franchise giving the Scream creators something new to talk about. Along with fresh material to reference, the advances in technology in the past decade are utilized heavily in the new film, with the killer taking things to the next level by filming the murders.

For a series that was legitimately intense and chilling when it first started, it doesn’t take long for Scream 4 to establish its tongue-in-cheek tone with back-to-back false openings. By the time you get to the real opening, you half expect the writers to pull the rug out from under you again and this feeling never left me throughout the film, which ultimately made it a lot less scary than it could have been.

Scream has always been noteworthy for its characters’ clever banter about horror films and that trait is still in tact. From Kristen Bell and Anna Paquing talking Saw at the beginning or Sidney Prescott’s cousin Jill and her friends discussing movies, there are enough references to the genre to make any horror fanatic happy.

Ultimately, despite a new decade of movies to reference, technological advances, and ten years of time off to come up with fresh material, Scream 4 feels like more of the same. You can systematically eliminate potential killers: the more likely someone is to be a suspect, the easier it is to cross them off the list. For instance, Jill’s ex-boyfriend, Trevor, is only on screen to point fingers at. There’s never any character development for him outside of being a potential suspect. The characters of Dewey and Sidney are mostly tired. For someone that has been the target of three mass murder sprees, Sidney Prescott seems ridiculously unprepared. Survivor or not, at some point, you’d think it’d be smart to carry a gun at all times. Like all Scream films, there’s a surprise ending where the killer is revealed and this film is no different. I saw a glimmer of hope that the writers were going to grow some balls and go a different, more interesting, risk-taking route, but once again, I found myself slightly disappointed, like I was with most of the movie.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: I think the film’s faults will be more forgivable over multiple viewings. I’m guessing once you get past the initial disappointment, Scream 4 is a pretty decent slasher flick.
Sequel Potential: Rumors of a 5th and 6th installment are already out there.
Oscar Potential: None
Nudity: Never in a Scream unfortunately.
Grade: 5.5/10 (Worth A Watch/Recommended)
Recommendation: I was expecting director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson to bring their A-games and we didn’t get that, so I wound up being mostly disappointed. Still, the acting and dialogue in this movie are quality and Scream 4 is still a fun watch even if it’s not really bringing much new to the table. Fans of the previous films, or the genre in general, should definitely check it out.

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