‘Scream 4’ Review

Slasher movies are not really my thing. I work at a job where all I hear about is murder and horrible people, with an occasional inspirational story squeezed in. So, the last thing I typically want to do is see people tortured, maimed or hacked to bits on the big screen. But, I’ve always had a sweet spot for the “Scream” franchise. And I think, even though it does contain a lot of violence, it’s more cerebral than your typical knife-wielding maniac flick. The first incarnation in 1996 revived the horror genre by giving audiences the gore they expected, while adding snappy dialogue and a self-awareness that almost made viewers feel like part of the film. The second film was not quite as inventive (especially the out-of-no-where ending) but it provided an interesting insight on what should and should not happen in a sequel. The third was probably the weakest of the trilogy, although on repeat viewings it does improve a bit. The trilogy was rounded out by the “movie-in-a-movie” theme that did not quite resonate and the ending was somewhat of a non sequitur.

And that brings us to “Scream 4.” Although, I wanted to see this film, my expectations were low. There had been reports of battles between the studio and scribe Kevin Williamson, strange last-minute re-shoots in Detroit and the much-publicized breakup of stars Courtney Cox and David Arquette. However, this is a very entertaining and smart film.

The opening sequence (something these movies excel at) is a tease, but in a good way. Without spoiling anything, it’s a great spin on the past installments. At around an hour and forty minutes, “Scream 4” moves along at an exciting pace, daring the viewer to guess the killer and then throw up a big fat “wrong” in your face when that person bites it. And that, to me, is the best part. The mystery.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) comes back to her home town of Woodsboro to promote her new book that deals with her bloody past and how she’s moved forward with her life. Of course, she quickly runs in to a few old friends, Officer Dewey (now the Sheriff) and his wife Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). From there, a new Ghostface starts knocking off townspeople left and right. One gets offed by a garage door, another with a knife to the head and another that gets hurled off a building onto a TV satellite truck. Just one of the film’s many knocks at the media. (And as a member of that media, I can tell you, any scrutiny and/or parody is well-deserved.)

So who is the new man or woman in the mask? A creepy boyfriend ala “Billy Loomis” from the first “Scream?” One of the two horror-film geeks who throw a “Stab-a-thon” party at an old barn? An overly flirtatious deputy on the police force? Or could it be Sidney herself, trying to come “Out of the Darkness” in a perverse manner like the title of her self-help book? Or D). None of the above? Those are answers I cannot give away. But, any moviegoer should have a fun time finding out.

Of course, the top question many had going back to this long-dormant franchise, would any of the original players make it through? Writer Kevin Williamson stated in one interview that he was hoping to reboot the series with a second trilogy. And it seems at one point, he may have done it. The second trilogy appears it will be launched in quite the unorthodox way, but then, as many a horror film is apt to do, it goes for one more thrill. And that, is where this movie may end up failing.

Jason Voorhees, Jigsaw, these are spooks that have “more gravy than grave” about them to quote the great Charles Dickens. But Ghostface and the “Scream” movies go beyond mere murder and senseless violence. When you’re done, you’re glad you had a chance to pick it apart, look at the evidence and maybe have a “Scream” trying to figure out the puzzle.

***Ring*** Oh, it’s the phone, I better get that. Until next time, I’ll be right back.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Scream and have No Comments

New ‘Scream 4’ Trailer

This is one of the most anticipated films of the year. It’s not anything I’m expecting to blow me away, but this series has always been fun. Check out the new trailer below, sounds like the plot will center around re-creating the movie-in-a-movie “Stab” films and include plenty of current horror movie references.

It will be interesting to see which main star doesn’t make it through this fourth edition, because it seems they plan on doing a second trilogy. I’m guessing Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell are done. As for the others, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell and Hayden Panetierre are definitely on the Ghostface hit list.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Scream and have No Comments

Scream 4 Shooting in May

Wes Craven told the LA Times he’ll start shooting the next Scream movie this May. And the 70-year-old horror director ended the interview giving a very fitting, albeit creepy scenario for his death.

“My goal is to die in my 90s on the set, say, ‘That’s a wrap,’ after the last shot, fall over dead and have the grips go out and raise a beer to me.”

Read more of the interview here.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Scream and have No Comments