Scream 4 (2011) Movie Review
Written by: JM
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Producer: Wes Craven, Iya Labunka, Kevin Williamson
Date Released: April 15, 2011
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Emma Roberts as Jill Roberts
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed
Rory Culkin as Charlie Walker
Marley Shelton as Judy Hicks
Nico Tortorella as Trevor Sheldon
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Scream 4, or SCRE4M, takes place 15 years after the first Woodsboro massacre. Sidney Prescott has finally returned to Woodsboro, but proving to have a streak of bad luck, another Ghostface killer emerges and evidence strangely point to Sidney. With Dewey Riley as the new sheriff of Woodsboro and Gale Weathers married to him, they’re in town and are more than willing to help stop the new Ghostface attacks. Now, they’re dealing with a new generation of teenage kids who are just as incapable and suspicious as they were when they tried to solve the Ghostface mystery back then.
Making up for the toned down violence in Scream 3, Scream 4 generates more excitement and thrills but some of it feels uninspired. The most interesting part is the movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie opening, with the deaths getting more violent the more we’re confused what the reality of this film is (which has always been a point of exploration for the Scream series). What follows are tedious trials to revive the slasher genre that ultimately end in dullness.
The Grave Review
In the ten year gap between this and the third installment, modern horror had gone towards different direction, from the straight-to-videos and even to the gruesome French Extremities. Interesting that at this point, the creators of Scream decided that it’s not about continuing the Sidney Prescott story or the running gag of a horror series anymore. Scream 4 feels like it was built more as a tribute because it an attempt to reintroduce the new generation of horror lovers not just to Scream, but also to the good old-fashioned slasher genre. That’s how it arrives at the idea of horror remakes. Now, remakes are clearly how film executives attempt to make money off of old materials, and Scream 4 spoke out about this even before speaking out about it was cool. It was a like a prophet film that people have now forgotten: it knew what kind of re-baked materials Hollywood was going to bombard us with in the horror department.
They replaced Randy with a bunch of geeks who know the rules of horror, and that makes sense because horror past the 90s have quickly branched out towards different directions and the ones who know it best are the kids who contribute largely to the box office gross of these films. Horror in the age of the internet, where the current generation is obsessed with becoming digital stars and becoming famous, certainly could become an interesting thing to explore.
Unfortunately, Scream 4 (2011) fumbles with its interesting possibilities. It goes quickly from promising to just plain uninspired. It doesn’t feel like the series has any reasons to exist further at this point.
Even Sidney, Dewey, and Gale, all characters from the original trilogy, don’t seem to fit anymore not just in the world of Scream but also in the slasher genre. Wes Craven’s thrills barely work mostly because they have become extremely predictable and repetitive. He is just parroting himself at this point, and parrots get annoying after some time. The commentary he and Kevin Williamson provides about social media and internet obsession feels like two old dudes past their prime, barely understanding what they’re tackling.
You probably won’t even find yourself excited to know who the real Ghostface killer here is, and when it is revealed, it doesn’t do much to the narrative other than propel it downhill. Compared to Scream 3, Scream 4’s third act was a new low for the series and may arguably have sealed this doomed series’ fate in the eyes of audiences and producers alike.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews give Scream 4 (2011) two graves out of five graves.
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