Saturday, April 16, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Scream 4

I was only nine when the first Scream film came out in 1996. I'll never forget the first time I watched it. I rented it with my family and my dad had to leave during the movie to pick up my uncle. My mom, my brother and I were too scared to be left alone, so we piled in the car with him.

The first scene got under my skin, particularly when Casey says "I'm two seconds away from calling the police!" and Ghostface replies "They'll never make it in time." Which is a disturbing thought, especially since I lived in the middle of nowhere at the time.

After watching Scream, I became obsessed with it. In addition to watching it enough times to recite the dialogue, I did other obsessive things. At the time, my hair was very long and I got it cut into a bob, just like Drew Barrymore in the movie. I invented a game called "Scream" which I played with my friends and was basically just hide and seek except the seeker would "kill" you when found. And I had to go see Scream 3 in the theatre, which was a big deal for me because I rarely watched movies in the theatre as a child (I don't know where I was for Scream 2). I was only 12 at the time, so my best friend and I had to go with her grandpa and I felt like a baby, but I didn't care because I wanted see Scream 3 that badly.

So, 11 years after I sat in a theatre and watched Sidney Prescott try to get on with her life in the aftermath of the Woodsboro murders, I was psyched to do it all over again. And it was great to revisit Woodsboro and catch up with the characters. Sidney's just as tough as I remember, kicking ass against Ghostface, Dewey is just as dumb and Gale is just as bitchy and ruthless, doing whatever it takes to catch the killer.

Sidney (Neve Campbell) seems to have pieced her life back together and has written a self-help memoir, Out of the Darkness. She returns to Woodsboro for her book tour, on the anniversary of the murders. Meanwhile, Sidney's cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts), begins getting sinister prank calls. And then the murders begin. Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) is on the case and his wife, Gale (Courtney Cox), is there to help.

While Scream 4 isn't as good as the first Scream film, it comes close and is definitely better than the other sequels. It has more gore than the previous movies - probably more than all of them combined. And more humour than the others, making me - and the rest of the audience - laugh out loud several times.

Scream 4 is more like a reboot than a sequel. Instead of focusing on Sidney, the storyline follows the new generation of teens, which are very similar to the original cast. There's Jill, the good girl (Sidney), Trevor, the creepy boyfriend (Billy), Kirby, Jill's hot best friend (Tatum) and Charlie, horror movie fanatic (Randy). This is probably the only aspect of the film that disappointed me. I was expecting the film to centre around Sidney, Dewey and Gale, and instead it's about a whole new set of characters. But the film is still entertaining and still includes Sid, Dewey and Gale, even if it doesn't revolve around them.

The film boasts an impressive cast, including appearances by Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Rory Culkin (Signs), Erik Knudsen (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Adam Brody (The O.C.), Anthony Anderson (Urban Legends: Final Cut), Alison Brie (Community), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Kristin Bell (Veronica Mars), Shenae Grimes (90210), Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars), in addition to the actors I've already mentioned.

Scream 4 is a lot of fun and has everything you've come to expect from a film in the Scream franchise: a shocking opening sequence, creepy phone calls, a surprising ending and lots of self-referential horror humour. Definitely a must-see for Scream fans.

Rating: 4/5

12 comments:

Dr Blood said...

One of the first positive reviews of "Scream 4" that I've read.

I hope you don't mind but I've listed you on my latest blog because I'm too lazy to write a review of "Scream 4" myself. :)

Amy Grech said...

I thought Scream 4 was great fun; better than Scream 3!

Peter Andrew Leonard said...

I just got back from it. Loved it. Lots of fun. Was exactly what I hoped it would be! Two thumbs up in my books!

I agree with you Amy, better than 3.

Rabid Fox said...

Well, I still won't fork over dough for a theater ticket, but I guess if you liked it, that's enough for me to give it a chance when it hits DVD. I'm just so over the Scream franchise though, I'm shocked there was any demand at all for this movie to be made.

Midnyte Reader said...

A lot of so called film and horror "aficionados" slammed Scream...but i enjoyed all of them. I thought they were fun, entertaining and scary. I was never bored. Isn't that the best thing you can expect from a movie? I'm really looking forward to seeing Scream 4.

Patrick Ray said...

Thanks for the review and double thanks for leaving out the spoilers. Gratitude.

I skipped Scream 3 but the other 2 were pretty good, especially the first one. Like Rabid Fox said, I'm a little over the mega-sequels that so many movies are taking these days. I'm all for originals and a superior follow up but when we start getting into the third sequel, I have a tendency to tune out.

I'm definitely planning on seeing this one, though, primarily (and I almost feel guilty saying it) because it's supposed to be more gory. I can't help it, I like big budget gore.

Midnyte Reader made a point I've thought about quite a bit; pure entertainment value has its place in the world. At the end of any movie, the first question I think is, "Was I entertained?" If the answer is yes, super cool. Even if that's the only thing a movie has going for it, entertainment is awesome.

Thanks to everybody for sharing their thoughts.
Melissa, as always, thanks for the horror goodness. You're awesome.

Sean said...

The way this franchise combines humor with horror is what makes it so good, especially Scream 1. It's like the rated R version of "Private Eyes" with Don Knots and Tim Conway. But anything has to be better than Scream 3! Thanks for the review.

Darkeva said...

Hey Miss Zombie,
Great review of "Scream 4" -- I have yet to see it, and I'm in the same camp as Rabid Fox; a bit reluctant. But I like that you prefaced the review by giving the insight into when you watched the films as a kid :-) I think those would scare any kid ;-) lol

Have a good one,

Darkeva

Virgil Allen Moore said...

I never did like these movies. Though I must admit from a writing stand point, they did have a few good plot lines. Apart from the dialogue that is, they were decent stories.

Virgil Allen Moore
http://demonvampire.com/

Andrew G. Carson said...

I have always been a big Wes Craven fan so anytime a new movie of his comes out I get excited. I've read some bad reviews for this one but I prefer to go on what fellow horror fans think about a horror film rather than the mainstream press so if you think its good that is good enough for me to buy a ticket.

Mr. Xploit, Esquire said...

Wow that's a huge cast of TV stars in their late-twenties. Surprised to hear that it's good, but I actually was never really a fan of any of the Screams.

MarkusWelby1 said...

Still on the fence with this one after disappointment with the first two sequels. I'm sure curiosity will eventually sink in and I'll end up at least giving it a rent.