Monday, April 18, 2011

You Can Come Home Again... To Die! Scream 4

 New Decade. New Rules. Nooooo Way!

Scream 4
Directed by Wes Craven
From a Screenplay by Kevin Williamson and the additional work of Ehren Kruger

No Spoilers. 

Plot: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has come home to Woodsboro after more than a decade as she's on the last stop of a book tour. Slashing ensues.

It's been 11 years since Scream 3, and time has changed. Now that the information age is in full bloom, we've become so reliant on technology, it has seeped it's way deep into our movies. And it's not going to leave anytime soon. The Scream Films have always been a stalk 'n slash at their forefront, but they also very much been a time capsule of their era. Drew Barrymore answered the phone 14 years ago... These days the kids are answering the phones, checking their text messages and planning their next podcast.

The good news about Scream 4 is that it's focus on the issuance of communication is not positively something that distracts away from the fun of the film. While you may groan once and awhile while someone mentions a social platform that have absolutely no desire to hear about, the film never forgets it's horror roots. And I can't say that I have a right to complain about any of that. I'm blogging to you right now, and the words Facebook and Twitter have become a part of my vocabulary. It's just how it goes.

In the era of Remakes and complete unoriginality being pumped out for the masses, the idea of Scream 4 is to skewer the current Horror Movie climate and deliver to you the cliches and fun that you look for and love so much in the Slasher Sub-genre. And Scream 4 is a bloody good time.

 Neve Campbell, doing her best Jamie Lee.

Perhaps the grisliest of the Movies in the series, 4 gives you a high bodycount, and some very entertaining set pieces. Notably the Film's loopy opening and the go-for-broke zaniness the goes on in the last act. When you're the third sequel in a Horror Franchise, you can't expect your audience to buy into any sort of reality. Give 'em the blood 'n guts wrapped up in a Scooby-Doo mystery, and they'll be happy. I would have liked to see more of the suspense and build up that Craven is so good at, but I can't complain too much here outside of that.

Another aspect I liked about Scream 4, much more so than the disappointment that was Scream 3 (which was so "inside Hollywood" it actually hurt) are some of it's characters. I was kind of over the trio of Sidney, Dewey and Gale by part 3, but for some reason, I didn't mind their presence in this film. Younger, newer characters may dominate the Movie, but because the storyline is back to Woodboro, having the remaining old cast around gives the film a good balance.

Horror Movie Geeks In Love.

Of the new characters that I enjoyed most are Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), as the kind of hot, knowing horror fanatic who in reality probably only resides on this side of the silver screen. She was just a lot of fun to watch and refreshingly bold. But damn, she was a terrible driver. Also there was Deputy Judy Hicks - Played by the googly eyed wonder that is Marley Shelton. Judy has a thing for her Sheriff Dewey Riley, and they have some good moments together that give the film a mini some kind of wonderful love triangle in the middle of the bloodbath. Other characters like Charlie the Horror Movie geek (Rory Culkin) would have come across better if the actor gave the role a bit more dimension. As it is, he falls kind of flat. His sidekick Robbie (Erik Knudsen) fares a bit better, though he's saddled with all of the dialogue about Webcams, etc.

Scream 4 may not match the wit and originality of Scream 1, or even match some of the better set pieces and Suspense of Part 2, but at least it goes for the gusto and gives us the goods. If anything, the Movie could have pushed the over-the-top envelope a bit more. Still, you'll find yourself having fun if you drop the pretensions and remember it's part 4 of a movie that came out almost a decade and a half ago. Much like a Halloween 4, Friday The 13th 4 or A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 will never be remembered as fondly as their original films, but rather as a diverting time out at the Movie Shows with a familiar franchise.

The series' original storyline may not have many more places to go after this, but at least here with number 4 it succeeds in reminding audiences in the era of the Saw sequels and other grim, downbeat nonsense that the joys of the Slasher Film are still obtainable and very much alive... Hopefully we'll get treated to a new wave of likewise Slashers that really just want it's audience to have some good, bloody popcorn fun.

Grade: B+

I really want to see Stab 7!


Fred [The Wolf] said...

I thought this was a great review and I agree with everything you mentioned. I don't understand the hate this film has been getting. I wasn't really expecting much and got a lot out of it. It felt more like a SCREAM 4 than the other sequels did. And I loved the original and the ending, even if it would have been better to end it 10 minutes sooner for an interesting SCREAM 5 installment. But overall, SCREAM 4 was nothing but fun. Too bad many horror fans forgot what "fun" is.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Glad you liked the film, Fred.

Rob said...

I have to admit...I'm starting to look forward to seeing Scream 4 (the initial reviews seemed kind of negative, but between Things That Don't Suck's review and your thoughts about it here, maybe it might just be worth checking out!)
That said, if anything happens to Sidney, I will be very pissed!
And I'm kind of unconvinced about Hayden P*** (however it's spelled), she just seems kind of un-likeable in general, but I'm prepared to be won over!

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