The first feature franchise of this year’s Halloween Marathon is rounding up with Scream 4. After a not as exciting Scream 3, we are interested to see how the franchise picks up after over ten years. As for where we are going after this one, I will be looking at a mini series and a TV series and a movie before starting up the second feature franchise, Evil Dead, next week.
Lets not get ahead of ourselves and jump right into Scream 4!
Scream 4 (2011)
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Nico Tortorella
Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together thanks in part to her writing, is visited by the Ghostface Killer. –IMDB
Scream takes a nifty turn of events. Scream is the original horror. Scream 2 plays with turning true events into a movie and Scream 3 looks at the franchising of this Stab series and the 4th features none other than the revampimg and remake or reboot of a series. While those are the premise of the stories, we also have Neve Campbell as the title role Sidney. In fact, it makes Randy (in Scream and Scream 2 played by Jamie Kennedy) and all the horror fans’ awkward knowledge about making horror movies more legit and somewhat mocks the industry but educates the audience about what makes a good or effective horror movie whether it is the original, the sequel or the remaster. In many ways, as I think about this review, I realized this as an after thought and it is pretty brilliant. However, Scream 4 is still not where Scream 1 &2 but it was rather entertaining, at least more than Scream 3. The bonus of it all is that this was like a CW/ABC characters reunion, kind of. We had Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210), then Kristen Bell and some other girl, followed by Britt Robertson and … On top of that, Adam Brody (The OC) is also in there. And more recently, Emma Roberts (Scream Queens) is also in this playing Sidney’s younger cousin. It is like a mini TV reunion right there. If that doesn’t peak your interest, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette takes on their characters again and that is always a plus as far as I’m concerned.
Scream 4 is pretty good. While most of the cast listed above from all those TV shows get killed off pretty quickly, Emma Roberts is a key character here as kind of like the remake next generation version of Sidney. She’s the equivalent where Ghostface seems to be targeting her now. I’ve seen quite a few movies of Emma Roberts and this one is before all of those ones. She is a pretty good actress with lots of potential and while horror movies promote more of a scream queen aspect (funny since she is in Scream Queens), I still like her character quite a bit. However, this last installment of the franchise is getting hard to talk about. It is hard to not know the tricks up their sleeves and in fact, I guessed the killer for the most part. Maybe it is because of the next gen idea and remake and then how the characters are presented. This isn’t out of the blue and actually makes sense in my mind when the reveal was there. Still, Scream 4 has a decent pacing and some pretty clever kills. Plus, there is a great revival of the witty humor here which is a key element of why I have enjoyed this series so far.
Another great part is to show the progress the original characters have made over the years, especially since it has been ten years since the last event (for us and maybe the movie timeline but I don’t remember anymore). For one, making it completely feasible and banking on the emphasis that the director hasn’t changed for all four movies, it has a nice continuity to it as we see Sidney has reentered the society but now as an author for a self-help book. She was doing some phone counseling in the previous movie and it makes sense for her to teach other people how to deal with trauma. Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers is a fiction novelist and finally married to Dewey, although it seems that they have a somewhat rocky relationship as well. Despite the clumsiness, Dewey is the sheriff of Woodsboro now and has to make some tough calls. As Gale Weathers comes back out to help with solving the crime and the characters from the previous movies are more bonded than before, there feels like a lot more at stake just for that. One of my favorite scenes is the barn house party where they show the Stab series with Gale and the cameras and Ghostface.
There are some flaws to Scream 4 and at this point, it is small things like slight predictability because it follows somewhat of the same formula except changing up the idea of horrors based on true events, sequels, remakes, etc. That angle is a great twist to the slasher genre as they somewhat psychoanalyze their own movie and in turn makes for some great jokes. Then there’s the young cast which sometimes has some awkward acting bits but for the most part carries their roles out rather well. There may be some lengthy bits and then the constant wonder of how Dewey is Sheriff and acts somewhat like a goof and the fact that whoever is Ghostface always gets beat up and destroyed and outsmarted but then also keeps up his slasher abilities. Except at this point, all this doesn’t matter because especially with the constant players of the Scream franchise, they are there in all the movies and we care for them now, making this one much more forgiving than it might actually be. It doesn’t live up to the first or the second but it is still a fun time to be had.
Overall, it wasn’t easy to review this one but Scream 4 is probably more entertaining to those following the franchise than those starting off with this one. While it is self-contained to a good extent, Scream 4 is not quite as good as the first or second movie but better than the third and for the most part, it banks a lot on the love and returning fans of the franchise and the characters like Sidney, Gale and Dewey who have been with us all these years as those characters and have built a relationship with them. The Scream franchise is possibly one of the shorter but definitely more solid franchises with enjoyable movies in every installment.
Have you seen Scream 4? Which is your favorite in the Scream franchise?