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Movie Review: Scream 4

Title: Scream 4

Director: Wes Craven

Producer: Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Distributor: Dimension Films

Series: Scream

Release Date: April 15, 2011

Format: Standard

Runtime: 111 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, and Hayden Panettiere

Synopsis (Product Description):

In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill and her Aunt Kate. Unfortunately Sidney’s appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.

The Review:

Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have done it again, managing to deliver another quality installment in the Scream franchise.  Unlike the gorefests that are the seemingly endless Saw films, Scream avoids jumping the shark.  It comes close a few times, but through its unique brand of hyper self awareness and self deprecation, Scream 4 manages to skirt the edge of the shark tank without ever vaulting over it.  Scream 4 does not shy away from the fact that it is a sequel and that slasher films are at their heart, ridiculous.  It takes that weakness, and makes it strength by having the killer and victims always aware of how much of a retread of past events this latest series of murders are.  In fact, it wholeheartedly embraces, and makes fun of this fact in a cameo filled prologue.

How can the Ghostface killer behind the film within a film, Stab, stay relevant in the fourth installment?  It’s not made clear until the final act, when all is revealed, but it’s smartly done and Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson even manage to sneak some social commentary in there about the nature of fame in the era of Reality TV.  Even before the big reveal though, the film is still pure slasher gold.  Scream breaks all of the slasher genre conventions by having victims and potential victims acutely aware of their victim status.  Because they know they are stuck in a slasher situation they are much more careful than the typical slasher victim, especially protagonist, Sydney Prescott, played again by Neve Campbell.  She hasn’t made it through Scream 1, 2, and 3 by being stupid after all.  Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprise their roles as Gayle and Dewey.  Unfortunately, Dewey is as hapless as ever.  Everyone else though is pretty sharp including Ghostface, who is forced to step up his game in this fourth installment.

Now, things aren’t perfect.  Scream has always been a ‘who done it’ in addition to a slasher.  Half the fun is guessing the identity of Ghostface after sifting through a few red herrings.  I think that the red herrings this time around are much too obvious.  This may just be because there has been a lot of time between the first Scream and Scream 4.  It’s much harder to surprise audiences in 2011 than it was in 1996.  But perhaps I’ve already said too much and I like to keep my reviews spoiler free.  Go see Scream 4.  It preserves its title as the smart, funny, self aware king of the modern slasher films.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.


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Movie Review: Scream 4, 9.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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2 Responses to “Movie Review: Scream 4

  1. SandyNo Gravatar
    1

    I’m not a slasher fan but I’ve been waiting for a movie where the victims are actually smart enough to realize they are in a slasher situation and don’t do obvious idiotic things that get them easily killed so I might watch this for that and because it looks like its going to be funny.

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  2. StormiNo Gravatar
    2

    So you really did like it? It wasn’t overkill or anything. I haven’t watched it because I figured it might be a bit overkill, like the saw movies. Maybe I will give it a try.

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