Scream 4, like the first film in the series that released all the way back in 1996, is packed with characters that are horror-movie geeks. They remember every tiny little detail from classic scary movies, and have come up with a fairly accurate set of horror-movie rules. Yet these are the same kids who’ll answer the door right after they’ve received a threatening phone call, or they’ll leave the safety of their homes to venture out to desolate places when they know there’s a bloodthirsty killer on the loose. Such kids are plain idiots. And you wouldn’t have any Scream movies if it weren’t for idiots like these who lend themselves to the same premise to be rehashed every few years and served up as new.

Arriving 11 years after the third instalment, Scream 4 is once again set in the small American town of Woodsboro where so many teenagers have been killed over the years that you wonder why they don’t just move out when they’re old enough to go to high school. Neve Campbell reprises her role as Sidney Prescott, survivor of a string of grisly killings that saw everyone from her family and neighbors to her closest friends and boyfriends lose their lives.
 
Sidney returns to Woodsboro on the anniversary of the first killings to promote a book she’s just written. Barely has she had a chance to fix her make-up, that a new set of killings start to take place, imitating the earlier ones. A killer in the same Ghostface mask starts taking down kids from the local high school that Sidney’s neice Jill (played by Emma Roberts) and her friends attend. David Arquette is now Sheriff Dewey Riley, and Courteney Cox his wife, former-journalist Gale Weathers who helped solve the previous killings, and wrote the books that inspired the movies that have turned Sidney into something of a legend among the high school’s horror-movie geeks.
 
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, the creative duo that fashioned the franchise, Scream 4 indulges in much self-referencing, which is fun in the beginning but gets tiring after a while. The movie-within-a-movie opening is sure to get a few chuckles, but after that smooth start it doesn’t pan out.
 
I enjoyed the first two Scream movies, but I was disturbed by just how brutal the killings have gotten this time. Or perhaps gratuitous violence and unprovoked hatred just doesn’t seem like as much fun in these times when campus shootings are a reality.
 
Like the previous films, the identity of the killer is meant to be the big payoff in Scream 4. I won’t give that away, of course, but I will say it was smart of the filmmakers to choose a motive that makes enough sense in these times.
 
I’m going with two out of five for Scream 4. Avoid if you have a weak heart.
 

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1 Comment

  1. Kaydi

    June 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Touchdown! That’s a really cool way of puttnig it!

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