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Movie Review – Scream 4

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Scream 4I loved the first Scream film.  I remember it fondly coming out when I was in the tail end of high school.  Me and my friends saw multiple times and giggled each time seeing it.  It’s follow ups weren’t even close to capturing the fun of the first, but included enough to make them entertaining, but not necessarily good.  So, I went into Scream 4 expecting a movie on par with the second and third iterations and by the end, I was actually pleasantly surprised.

It’s been a decade in both the movie and since the last Scream and Sidney Prescott, the heroine of the first three, has moved on with her life no longer the victim, but instead preaching empowerment.  When she returns to her home town though, this opens up all kinds of shenanigans and of course the return of Ghostface to hack and slash in new ways.

The first half of the movie is quite good with an opening that’s fantastic, sending up the fact this is the fourth film in the series and having some great commentary about sequels and modern horror movies and gore porn.  The problem is, such a fantastic opening makes you expect the rest of the movie to hold that sort of cheeky/meta wink throughout.  It holds up at times but quickly spirals into a ho-hum movie that instead of a new direction and a fresh start with a new generation, we’re left with the same old.

There’s a lot here that I like.  It totally throws out the rule book for horror movies and sticks to these new rules.  It really does update the horror film for the new technology savvy generation.  Wouldn’t today’s victims be texting, checking in on foursquare and making Facebook statuses?  The answer in this movie is yes and it plays off of that.

It’s hard to totally review the movie without blowing the great twists and giving away what I really liked.  But, for the most part the villain is predictable, even though there’s so many red herrings that are attempted to be thrown out there.

Overall, the movie is entertaining and fun.  It wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday night and the audience seemed to have some fun, though it was the most reserved audience I’ve seen a Scream movie with.  I walked out having enjoyed myself, and you can do a lot worse.  The movie derails towards the end, but the first three quarters hold up quite well.

Direction:  Wes Craven again heads back behind the camera from the script by Kevin Williamson.  The direction is decent and there’s enough here as far as gore and kills to make a horror fan giddy.  The mood is set well and the action is visible and there aren’t cuts or cheap scares.  Overall, the direction is what I’d expect for a Scream film.  All four have a certain consistent feel throughout them all.

Acting:  Wow, was the acting inconsistent.  Neve Campbell was decent (and looking as cute as ever).  Courtney Cox was doing her best impression of Janice Dickenson.  David Arquette can’t act and was the weakest of the bunch.  The fresh blood was ok, no one really stood out, but no one was horrible.  Anthony Anderson and Adrien Brody were two cops who were underused, but when they were used actually stole the screen.  Overall, the movie is packed with so many known actors it was crazy, but in a way that’s good.  By having stars aplenty, it means more stars to slice and dice and that ups the stake as to who can get killed.

Plot:  Three quarters of the film is good and it shows so much potential.  It’s beginning sets up the plot perfect of a horror film in the modern technology age.  It has commentary of meta and modern horror as well as fame, all fantastic.  But it goes off the rails with this.  By the end, it’s the same ole Scream, with the same ole ending.  For a movie that talks so much about unpredictability, the ending was pretty predictable.

Overall:  There’s worst ways to spend your time and this is a movie that’s fun to see with a crowd and have a communal experience.  The movie doesn’t quite have the tense moments of the first film and I think I found myself flinching only once.  The movie sets itself up with so much potential, but in the end, is just another ho-hum entry in the Scream prequels (the second best of the entire series).

Grade: B- (though skirts being a C+)

One comment

  • Surprisingly awesome for a series that seemed like it was wearing a bit thin towards the end there. The film is more suspenseful than it is actually scary, but being a fan of the whole series (even the 3rd), I had a great time with this film. Good review, check out mine when you can!