27 Jul Review – Scream 4

FlixFling contributor, Matt Bussy reviews Scream 4

Scream 4 is epic! That is, if you’re as big a fan of the series as I am. I’ll get the obvious recommendation out of the way and say that if you want to watch Scream 4 then it’s pretty important that you watch the first three movies beforehand. Trust me, it will be a big help! The Scream movies are just plain fun. They’re scary, funny, and clever in the way they satirize the horror genre, but they’re also just really entertaining; there is never EVER a dull moment. This is all thanks to Wes Craven, the horror director who’s also responsible for classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and The Hills Have Eyes. It’s fun to sit back and watch how passionate a director is of a genre. Craven knows what he wants for the audience and there’s never a moment where it seems like he’s getting bored.

So sure, we’ve already seen much of Scream 4 in Scream 1-3. There are many many deaths by stabbing, gotcha jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and a big finale where the audience thinks that the killer is dead but he or she comes back and the characters get hurt trying to stop him or her. Yet we need to have these cliches in Scream 4 or else it wouldn’t feel like a part of the franchise (and then the movie would stink!). In this version, fifteen years have passed since the first series of murders took place in the town of Woodsboro. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the heroine of the franchise, has written a book about the events she’s survived through and is stopping by the town on her book tour. Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is now the sheriff of the town and is living with his wife Gale (Courteney Cox), the former reporter who became famous for writing a book on the events that took place in the first movie. Once Sidney arrives murders start to happen again by the Ghostface killer. He’s patterning his murders on the basis of a horror movie remake, and if there’s something we need to know about horror movie remakes it’s that the body count is a lot higher. It’s up to the audience to figure out who the killer is. Is it Sidney’s younger cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts)? Is it Jill’s movie buff friend, Kirby (Hayden Panettiere)? Is it Deputy Judy (Marley Shelton)? Is it Sidney’s aunt, Kate (Mary McDonnell)?

There are certainly many silly moments. Why would Sidney choose to come to Woodsboro on the fifteenth year anniversary of the first murders? It’s got NOT A GOOD IDEA written all over it! I also don’t think it takes twenty minutes for the police to arrive at a house where someone has just phoned in that there’s a killer inside trying to butcher him. You should just ignore it and accept the A+ entertainment value of it all. Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson (who also wrote for the first two movies as well as created Dawson’s Creek and co-created The Vampire Diaries) still succeeds at not giving away easy hints as to who the killer is. Williamson is a master of creating super fast, funny, and witty dialogue in his works. Craven, likewise, is a master at creating fun fight scenes between Ghostface and the characters.

It’s been over ten years since Campbell, Arquette, and Cox have been in the franchise and they still recognize their characters. Campbell is incredible at making Sidney a ferocious battler. There’s a scene in the movie where a character is getting killed next door to Sidney. What does she do? She picks up the courage to run next door, bust through the door, and race upstairs to stop the killer. Arquette’s Dewey is a lot funnier in Scream 1-3 but he’s still as likable as ever here. Everybody loves Cox from Friends but I’ve always loved her as Gale. She’s a natural at playing a bitchy, stuck-up woman. The new “victims” of Scream 4 are also terrific too. This is really a career-making performance from Roberts. Panettiere is sassy and funny as Kirby. Shelton is great at being funny but also being creepy to hint that she might be the killer. Alison Brie from NBC’s Community is comical as Sidney’s publicist. Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody are also funny as two idiotic police officers. Even Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin have cameos in the beginning, which is one of the slickest openings of any movie I’ve ever seen.

I think I’ve complimented enough for the movie. See it by all means if you love cleverly-written horror movies that are gory and funny at the same time.