Scream 4 takes place a good 10 years after the 3rd installment, where we find it is the anniversary of the original blood bath and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has returned to Woodsboro. She is promoting her new book, and all of this seems to spark a brand new terror with bodies starting to pile up again and a new killer (or killers) is on the loose. I don’t feel comfortable revealing any more about the plot, I went into this basically plot blind and that was certainly a good thing. So how does a sequel 10 years after the previous one hold up? Surprisingly well I have to say, and Wes Craven really stepped up his game. After the complete and utter mess that was My Soul To Take I was almost ready to give up hope on the director (you can read my dissection here) but he has proved he still has it. Now this isn’t as good as the original Scream, I don’t think he was ever going to stop that and New Nightmare but this is definitely up there with the likes of Scream 2 and A Nightmare On Elm Street. I just want to say thank you Wes for a damn good time.
On the acting side of things I loved that the main trio were back, with Neve, Courtney Cox (as Gale) and Davie Arquette (as Dewey) all returning. They are these characters and it seemed they all hadn’t missed a beat. All the chemistry was still there, and the quirks which made us love these characters through the series. The new comers were all actually pretty good with Emma Roberts (as Sid’s cousin Jill) being the real surprise, I think she has managed to prove that she has some serious talent on her. Hayden Panttierre was pretty good as well, there is no question the girl can act. I quite enjoyed Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen (He looks like Jesse from Elm St 2) and Nico Tortorella who rounded out the rest of the high schoolers. The smaller roles were all entertaining with the likes of Adam Brody, Anthony Anderson and Marley Shelton playing the law enforcement, and the lovable Alison Brie playing a huge bitch! I loved it and her! I mean sure the performances aren’t the greatest but everyone did an admiral job and it was mostly very credible.
On the dull side of this blade, I had some script issues and I know this had some problems. The film is filled with references and such, and some of it seemed so forced. Like did we really need to take jabs at the Saw franchise like that? It seemed it was trying to be smart and hip and it just came off as try-hard. I also missed the mystery of who was doing this, I mean it was there but it wasn’t as focused on as the other films, there were no little moments of ‘could that person be the one?’ so that was a but disappointing. I understood that the film wanted to take a stab (yes pun intended) at franchises and reboots, but it just seemed far too forced for me. On the sharp side of the blade, when that stuff did work it really worked well. We had the characters trying to work out what these new rules would be, we even get sorely reminded of how many recent horror remakes there have been. Things had changed with the times and the film acknowledged that, like the others it is self aware and it does come close to being a parody but not really. The film also came with a lot of blood, could this have been the bloodiest entry yet? I believe so and I liked that. The kills were a bit more imaginative, and I’ll say this certain things definitely surprised me.
At the end of the day this is a pretty decent film and a really good sequel, I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun despite its flaws. It was refreshing to see Craven with a film that didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth. The man managed to show he isn’t ready to be on his way out yet, and I really hope we see something else from him soon. The original Scream (with thanks to New Nightmare) basically reinvented a dying genre, and this sequel is almost ready to try and do that again. Even though we seem to be in an age of remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels it at least tries to be different and give us something new. I have to applaud that, and I am very happy that this film was a success, at least for me it was. I might add I saw this film in a theater full of 14 or 15 year olds who thought they’d make a lot of noise and annoy me through the entire film. These kids were likely not even born when the original film came out, now I am all for this new generation to discover Scream and the genre but honestly when you go to the theater people don’t pay money to listen to a bunch of immature, disrespectful kids, they pay to see a film. Nor should people go and pay to sit and talk for 90 minutes, a little common sense and maturity please. This puts me off going to the cinema, the staff should be a lot more alert with this stuff. Anyway that’s my little rant, but go see the film and try and get into a session that does not have the 15 yr olds.