Wes Craven’s third sequel to his hit 1996 flick Scream updates the franchise, but proves scary movies just aren’t what they used to be.
2011 | 1 hr 43 minutes | Dir. Wes Craven | The Weinstein Company
Scream 4 puts Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) back in her hometown of Woodsboro. Now the author of a successful self- help book (and the subject of several Stab movies based on her life), Sidney wants to put her troubled past behind her. Ten years and four Stab sequels later, the murder scene in the community of Woodsboro is finally winding down. That is, until the anniversary of the original murders, when a copycat killer stabs three high schools girls to death in their homes. The killings set the high school, the press, and the Prescotts reeling. The killer soon reveals a pattern emulating the original Woodsboro murders. Only this time, the killer’s not out to inspire a movie- he wants to make his own.
Scream turned the slasher movie genre on its head. Fifteen years later, Scream 4 turns Scream on its head. The approach proves slightly less successful because of Scream’s faded legacy. After fifteen years and two sub par sequels, the original plot doesn’t exactly spring fresh in viewer’s minds, though basic knowledge of the original greatly adds to the update. Still, it’s kind of fun to watch the movie poke fun at both itself and the last 10 years of teen scream flicks. The plot has a twist you will never see coming. If you thought the original killer had charisma, you’ll love this one.
Unfortunately, the scary plot twist loses its punch when the ending drags on. Gale (Courtney Cox) and Sidney live, but the audience wishes they wouldn’t. Gale becomes a total unredeemable bitch. Courtney Cox looks like she’s been drinking the blood of drug addicts to stay youthful. At this point, Sidney’s surviving these movies on sheer dumb luck. Both Gale and Sidney struggle to stay relevant, which becomes part of the plot. Eventually, they become the heroes. Again. If Scream 4 intended on passing the torch to a younger crowd, they shot that one in the foot.
Still, Scream 4 makes clever commentary on this generation’s media- obsessed culture and their detachment from meaningful relationships in favor of self- endorsement. Where the teens in the first Scream seemed desensitized towards violence, the teens in this Scream fixate on popularity. It makes a sick and scary point about modern youth culture, propelled by a convincing cast of millennials.
Scream 4 thrives on its young cast. It’s just really fun to watch pretty people get stabbed. The core cast consists of attractive, edgy Young Hollywood like Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin and Hayden Panettiere. Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Lucy Hale, Marley Shelton, and Shenae Grimes also join the tried- and- true core cast of Campbell, Cox, and Cox’s affable ex, David Arquette. Pairing traditional Screamers with new meat helps balance the lighthearted yet thrilling formula that made the first movies so successful.
Overall, Scream has the same great tongue- in- cheek humor as all in Wes Craven’s franchise. The more you know about Scream, the more you’ll appreciate Scream 4. This film doesn’t break any barriers, but it gives a solid update to a horror classic.
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