Scream 4: Reviewed in Limerick
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Scream 4: The Review
Firstly, I want to point out that there are no spoilers in this review. Secondly, I want to make it clear that I’m not really a Scream fan (or of horrors in general for that matter), which is probably why I didn’t like this film as much as others.
For this reason, I’ve decided to start with a short paragraph written especially for the die-hard fans of the original Scream series. This is all you guys need to know...
If you enjoyed everything you’ve seen up to this point, you will not be disappointed with the fourth instalment. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson stick to the formula of the original Scream trilogy – from every bloody slashing, cheesy one-liner and half-naked hot chick, to the signature opening body-count and Marco Beltrami’s creepy score.
For everyone else...
This is EXACTLY like the rest so if you didn’t really care for the last two, don’t expect anything different.
As the fourth in the series, this was always going to strive for more laughs and more blood – and they have delivered on both accounts. But it seems that studios are still failing to recognise that more of everything doesn’t necessarily make a sequel better.
It’s been over ten years since the third instalment was released and unfortunately for Wes Craven, his target audience has become completely immune to the ‘cat and mouse’ style slashings that he originally created.
It’s just like when Sylvester Stallone came back with the sixth Rocky film. Yes Sly, we appreciate that you created the original ‘underdog’ film – but between the first and last instalments the story had been reproduced a thousand times. We all knew the formula back-to-front and knew exactly how it would end – the same thing goes with Scream 4.
But to give credit where credit’s due, at least the new Scream didn’t opt for senseless torture porn which has become the norm these days. I still have no fucking idea how films like Saw (apart from the first), Hostel or The Hills Have Eyes can be classed as horror, when it’s just a series of extremely graphic and disturbing events. It’s the equivalent of classing random porn clips as romance.
At least here Craven and Williamson have made an attempt to be clever, funny and genuinely suspenseful. I have to admit that I was awake most of the night trying to remember any clues that may have given away the ending early on – something I can’t see myself doing after watching Saw 7.
The idea of referencing ‘classic horror films’ remains within the characters’ thinking process, however this time some changes have been adopted for the new generation of serial killing. Rory Culkin (Macaulay’s youngest brother) and Erik Knudsen take over Jamie Kennedy’s role as the geeks who outline the rules of a third sequel, based on general film knowledge. And this time the rules are easy: there are none (ooooh!).
This means that virgins and gays are as vulnerable to slaughtering as the slutty hot chick or token black – so no one is spared. It also means that their deaths are more bloody and brutal than in any of the previous three.
In order to move the franchise into the digital age, the murders are also recorded for public display – a concept that would have put an original spin on the formula if it hadn’t been done already! It’s a little disappointing considering the concept was already explored way back in 1996 (incidentally the same year the original Scream was released), with a film called 15 Minutes and again later in Untraceable.
The three surviving cast members of the original trilogy are back, in Neve Campbell and the recently divorced Courtney Cox (no Arquette) and David Arquette. However they all looked pretty out-dated compared to their younger screen counterparts (virginal Emma Roberts, bitchy Alison Brie and nerdy cop Adam Brody). Courtney Cox was particularly painful to watch, as she tried to compensate the loss of facial expression from the Botox, by over-exaggerating the whine in her voice – they probably should have renamed her character Gale Weathered.
I don’t know what the plural is for a group of hot chicks, but I’m going to pen the term ‘there was a spectacle of hotties’. The opening scenes featured starlets from every teen show currently running, including Pretty Little Liars, 90210, True Blood, Veronica Mars, Friday Night Lights, Life Unexpected, The OC and Heroes.
Hayden Panettiere will become the latest horror pin-up, playing the confident school hottie who also reveals a love for cult movies. The scene where she reels off 20 horror remakes without stumbling is also some of the best dialogue in the film.
Casting was obviously catered to Gen-Z viewers, which I find weird considering that the teenagers who recognise these actors, probably aren’t old enough to remember when the original Scream was released. It would have been a better move to litter it with ‘90s television heartthrobs, especially considering you already have cast members from Friends and Party of Five. Personally, I would have liked to see cameos from the likes of Luke Perry, Heather Locklear and James Van Der Beek.
The fourth film of any series is never going to out-do the first (well, except for Police Academy: Citizens on Patrol) but this wasn’t a complete waste of time. Scream 4 gets more respect from me, simply because it remained focussed on the relationships of characters, and wasn’t just an excuse to watch them die.
I just hope they have enough sense to stop at four.
Scream Series Recap
Walking into the cinema, I had trouble remembering what happened in the last two films. So to save you the same dilemma (not that it affects the new plot), here’s what happened:
Scream (1996) Tag: Don't answer the door, don't leave the house, don't answer the phone, but most of all, don't SCREAM. Killer: Sidney’s boyfriend Billy & his friend Stuart
Scream 2 (1997) Tag: Someone has taken their love of sequels one step too far. Killer: Billy’s Mum and student Mickey
Scream 3 (2000) Tag: The final Scream is going to be the loudest! Killer: Film director Roman Bridger (Sidney’s long-lost brother), who also killed their mother and was the one who convinced Billy to go on a killing-spree in the first movie.
Scream 4 (2011) Tag: New decade. New Rules. Killer: Ghostface, derr...