Movie Review-Scream 4

Hi Folks,

 

 

So it’s Saturday (if I wait a couple more days it actually will be) and just like a slasher franchise we’re churning out one sequel after another. Today it’s one of my favorite sequels ever and one of the best fright flicks of the year.

 

New Decade, New Rules, No Problem

 

 

 

 

Scream 4

 

 

 

Fast Facts

 

Made in 2011 (who says I don’t have enough oldies on here?) and directed by the irreplaceable Wes Craven; Scream 4 comes to us a full ten years after Scream 3 and a whopping fifteen years since the original. It’s well worth the wait. With the benefit of a returning original cast and the original screenwriter; this reboot is exactly what you want from Hollywood. An actual reboot, starting exactly where you left off and keeping everything you loved about the original intact.

 

Including the floating people poster concept

The story takes place ten years after the events of Scream 3 our favorite final girl, Sidney Prescott returns to Woodsboro on the anniversary of the original murders to finish up the book tour for her inspirational best seller. When Ghostface makes a reappearance, Sidney is confronted with her past along with Dewey, Gale, her cousin Jill and Jill’s predictably sexy and expendable friends.

 

Dead hotties walking...

It’s so good to be home.

 

 

 

Cast

 

She is everything you wish you were

Neve Campbell- She’s back to play Sidney Prescott, everyone’s favorite little victim. With all the vulnerability and kick ass charisma we remember. I think I can pretty much unequivocally assert that this series ends the minute Neve has had enough; let’s hope we’ve got another sequel or two before that happens.

 

Stun him with your wit! Stun him with your wit!

 

Courtney Cox-Arquette- The bitch is back baby! Wit and attitude in abundance for our favorite (now ex) reporter Gale Weathers-Riley. It’s been ten long years since I got to watch Gale put the verbal smackdown on some lowly little puissant who does not appreciate her awesomeness. Seriously watching Gale almost makes me want to forgive Courtney for Friends.

 

His hair hasn't changed at all...

David Arquette- Deputy Dewey is the Sheriff now and just as naïve and semi-incompetent as we remember, but we love him all the same. Now Davey boy was going through some stuff when this was made, so I kind of get the impression his role was cut down a bit; but the important part is that when he is on screen he’s bumbling, but slightly more mature Dewey.

 

Oh to be young and related to Sidney Prescott

Emma Roberts- Headlines the new younger cast as Jill, Sidney’s cousin. She does a fantastic job, all the fight of Neve with all the crazy of Skeet. There’s a lot going on there and she nails it from the word go.

 

Will Never Stop Posting This

Hayden Panettiere- Plays Jill’s wisecracking and very sexy best friend Kirby Reed. She’s pretty much teetering between smugly funny and adorably terrified the entire film and adds lots of layers to every scene she’s in. Kirby is smart, sexy a genre nut and possessive of some kick ass comedic timing which is all very important when you’re essentially playing a MUCH hotter version of Randy Meeks.

 

Yeah you think you're Randy...but frankly you're just not hyper enough

Rory Caulkin- Plays Charlie one of Jill’s circle of friends and president of the Woodsboro high cinema club (only slightly more dangerous than the fencing team). He’s a little one note at times but gets the job done all the same.

 

Seriously hon you're got some creepy eyes

Marley Shelton- Plays Deputy Judy Hicks, one of Sheriff Dewey’s underlings and the latest fresh hell unleashed on Gale’s patience. She’s hysterical has great timing and while the writing prohibited her red herring being believable she sold that shit for all it was worth.

 

The only known picture of him...

Roger Jackson- We’ve never seen him on screen; and it turns out that the cast has never seen him either. But this man is the voice of Ghostface. No Scream would be complete without him and he conveys such wonderful menace, solely through his voice.

 

Observations

 

Scream for me has always been the golden goose; a smart slasher movie with scares and laughs in equal measure. This franchise has had very few stumbles to this point and Scream 4 does nothing but improve upon the first three films.

 

This movie would have been shit if they hadn’t managed to get Campbell, Cox and Arquette back. The best thing about Scream is how much we care about Sidney, Gale and Dewey. We get in them; something you don’t get in any other slasher franchise, (Halloween sorta, but the fucked it all up with Resurrection) we get three movies worth of character development for the main cast.

 

The problem with a lot of slasher franchises at least in terms of why the sequels are successively less frightening- is that after a while the only recurring character is the villain, and they start to become the audience’s favorite character by default. Now I won’t apologize for the affection I have for Jason or Freddy or Mike; but let’s face it after a while it’s almost like you’re rooting for them and that takes the fright factor way the fuck down.

 

I love you guys...but you're killing the suspense

Scream has done the exact opposite with great effectiveness. They keep the survivors and give Ghostface a new secret identity in every film which not only keeps the plot interesting and the audience guessing; but it allows the villain to be the villain and therefore frightening as opposed to our old friend with some developmental and anger issues which isn’t really all that scary no matter what anyone thinks.

 

The other thing about Scream of course is that it introduced us to all that ‘self aware, meta shit’ and this is where I think the decade long hiatus really helps this movie. Rather than continue spewing the old horror tropes (even though they’re fun) Scream 4 gets a whole ten years of horror movie evolution to mock, emulate and assimilate into Ghostface’s playbook. As much as horror fans complain about how we never see anything new; in the last ten years since Scream 3 we’ve seen the era of Power Tools Behaving Badly, found footage and the reshoving of 3D down out collective throats. Scream 4 takes a few minutes before the title card even comes up to remind us of that.

 

There's actually a LOT of fun before the title card

Now like I said this is a movie which does scary and funny in proportion so first let’s get the funny out of the way.

 

  1. Gale and Judy

 

There's gonna be a bitch fight!

Gale has always been comedy gold and always works best bouncing off of someone else. Judy is the perfect foil for Gale, kind of creepy and OCD about all the rules that Gale routinely breaks with great relish. The fact that Gale treats Judy’s stalker crush on her husband as a nuisance rather than a threat makes for some great one liners on Gale’s part and some really great expressions on Judy’s.

 

  1. Kirby Reed

 

Sometimes knowing the rules just makes you paranoid

Kirby’s got some pretty good moments in this one. Annoying Ghostface, nearly getting her friends killed in a tragic car accident, getting laughably cock blocked by the Red Herring in the third act. Kirby is the nerd who’s passing for cool and having the sensibilities of both an insanely hot chick and a geek lead to some really great one liners.

 

  1. Don’t hit me, I’ll hit me.

 

Ha Ha you hurt yourself!

 

Okay so just in case you didn’t figure it out from the cast list, uh there’s a major spoiler alert for this section, like for real real, this will ruin the fucking movie so go watch it.

 

 

Jill’s entire sequence of beating the shit out of herself in order to look battered is one of the best scenes ever in Scream just watching her bash her face into pictures, run into the wall with a knife at her shoulder and body slam a plate glass coffee table will get me cracking up every single time.

 

Now clearly and this is a final word on the funny; most of the funny in Scream 4 is horror references and genre jokes. If you’re not into the movies you’re probably not going to get it. So if you’re sitting there going ‘this sucks it isn’t funny’ it’s not them it’s you.

 

 

And now for the scary.

 

  1. Ghostface’s dialogue.

 

Fright Bro #2 actually deserves the credit for this one because I didn’t realize it until he pointed it out.

 

He worked for a 900 number the last ten years

 

Ghostface gets downright nasty in this movie. Given he was never exactly a pleasant conversationalist  but they definitely made him far more threatening over the phone; or at least explicitly so. With such gems as:

 

(to Sherrie) “If you hang up on me I’m gonna cut through your neck till I feel bone!”

 

and an all new high:

 

(to Sidney) “I’m going to slit your eyelids in half so you can’t blink when I stab you in the face!”

 

I mean damn, even his less explicit dialogue is delivered with unusual viciousness. A personal favorite:

 

(to Jenny) “This isn’t a comedy, it’s a horror film, people live, people die and you had better start running!” (crash-body through window)

 

Yup...still got it

  1. The Endgame

 

Ok so this wasn’t so much a big scare in the cinematic sense as much as Wes Craven played a very cruel prank on me. I really thought for a few minutes that he had killed off Sidney Prescott and my world went a little fuzzy for a minute. Because the quickest way to kill this franchise at this point is to kill Sidney. The motherfucker made me worry for a moment that he had gone completely batshit insane.

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHH!

 

  1. Olivia Morris

 

Remember before how we talked about Ghostface being more vicious? Well he doesn’t just talk the talk in this one either. Olivia gets positively RUINED by Ghostface. Stabbed over and over again, shoved head first through a window and then disemboweled and left on the bed. I mean damn there is blood EVERRWHERE.

 

Oh...oh god...that's just...that's just wrong

(again obligatory shout out to Fright Bro #2  because no I can not in fact think of another Scream victim who got it worse)

 

Before we sum up there is one last thing we need to address. The badassery of Sidney Prescott. Because apart from the endgame sequence, Sidney does nothing but kick Ghostface’s ass the entire movie. She kicks him in the face, donkey kicks him down the stairs and smashes his head with a picture frame in two fight sequences that I think make the final girl hall of fame. Also let’s not forget about “Clear”.

 

HELL YEAH BITCH!

And lastly there is the issue of the patented Sidney Prescott power line. The one she says at the end of every movie immediately before or immediately after handing the killer their own ass on a plate.

 

Scream:

 

“Not in my movie”

 

That's right STAY DOWN

Scream 2:

 

Sid: “Well you’re forgetting one thing about Billy Loomis.”

 

Mickey: “What’s that?”

 

Sid: “I fucking killed him”

 

...oh yeah...

Scream 3:

 

“God why don’t you stop your whining and get on with it? I’ve heard all this shit before.”

 

whiny bitch

Now up until very recently number 2 was far and away my favorite but I think the new one is giving it a serious run for it’s money because it sums up exactly what made this movie so great.

 

 

“You forgot the first rule of reboots Jill…Don’t FUCK with the original.”

 

Uh sweetie...there seems to be a hole in your chest...

Sidney!…….Sidney!…..Sidney!….Sidney!….

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Scream 4 is exactly what you want out of a reboot. It’s everything wonderful about the films that came before it with new twists and turns to make it reflect how the world has changed around it. A returning main cast, great casting choices for the newcomers and a screenwriter who follows his own rules make Scream 4 a truly satisfying and very fun ride.

 

well...for most of us...

 

All in all 9 out of 10

 

 

 

Your fannish Screamstress,

 

 

 

~Fright Dyke

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