By Brett Mullins
Following a decade of inactivity, Wes Craven adds another installment to the Scream franchise with Scream 4.
Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has returned to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. She reunites with family (well, what’s left of them) and friends, including Dewey, who’s now the Sheriff of Woodsboro. To coincide with her return, the ‘Ghostface’ killer appears once again to terrorize Sidney and the rest of this town.
The hallmark of the Scream franchise has been its cynical appeal toward itself and the entire horror genre. From the first film onward, Craven has trivialized the general themes of the genre as a tactic to keep the attention of an otherwise lost audience. In this regard, Scream 4 soars to new heights as it brazenly talks down to the Saw franchise, even mentioning it by name in the opening scenes. The film goes on to make further comparisons between the Saw series and the fictional ‘Stab’ series. This is the manner in which the film derives much of its below the surface humor: it presents a cliche of a series as trivial, then precedes to execute a similar situation.
The film builds much of its momentum through drawing parallels to the first film. This could have either been employed to improve the flow of the film or simply as a satirical gesture to films who lack the creative content to continue pumping out sequels.
On a logical note, I was always under the impression that Woodsboro is a fairly small town, especially since it’s mentioned several times. It appears a bit surreal that a small town would have a film club that is so populated. One character streams his ‘high school experience’ live on to the internet, via a headset, but would there really be an audience for this or is he just being annoying? This gives the film quite a surreal vibe because this seems a bit extraordinary for a small town.
The acting is on par with what one would expect from a Scream film: which is to say, just bearable, with the exceptions of David Arquette and Courteney Cox. This film is much bloodier than previous entries as a nod to the increasingly graphic standards of the genre.
In the end, this film is a bit of a letdown. After there are no more twists to turn, the audience is left feeling like this story line is straight out of an old Scooby Doo cartoon from the '70s. Even if the silly illogical conclusion was done to illustrate the anticlimactic endings of many films of the past decade, it is no excuse for producing something that is not enjoyable.
Scream 4 is a lot of what the audience expects from the series with an added dash of humor and a pinch of surrealism.
By Cal Wayne
I can admit that I didn't expect much from Scream 4 after the last couple of disasters spawning from the Scream franchise; but to my surprise, Wes Craven cooked up somewhat of a redemption for a series that needed it.
The story revolves around several characters, most notably Sidney Prescott (from the original) and her struggle to protect her loved ones as ghost-face is once again killing everyone. I've always been a fan of Scream's satirical style of horror; it's a movie that laughs at itself while also keeping a slight air of seriousness, making it genuinely fun to watch. Is it scary?-No, not at all, but Scream is not a movie that you watch with the intention of being scared shitless. This is a movie you watch because you want to go for a ride: a jumpy, funny, gory roller-coaster, if you will.
The acting in any Scream movie is exceedingly average, but it did little to halter the natural progression of the film. Courtney Cox is awesome in this movie, and I may be slightly biased, but still; she made the movie for me. The plot (like any Scream movie) is a little unstable and sometimes stumbles from scene to scene; not always making complete sense, but always making you think. One of Scream's funnest features has always been guessing the killer, and this movie's twist is far from predictable, but the motive and logic of it all had me calling bullshit (while laughing and enjoying).
Overall, Scream 4 is a major improvement from it's last two predecessors, and helped redeem the franchise as a whole. As always, Scream is a fun, crazy adventure always delivering surprises in the form of gut-wrenching, bloody horror. It's worth the price of admission (which is saying something these days) and brings a lot to the table. Enjoy the opening scene; it's funny. Happy movie-watching!