Old 04-20-2011, 08:11 PM

From Worst. Blog. EVER.

DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
WRITER: Kevin Williamson (with rumored rewrites by Ehren Kruger and others)
CAST: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen, Anthony Anderson, Marley Shelton, Mary McDonnel, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell

*NOTE* Review contains very minor spoilers**

To be blunt, there is absolutely no reason for Scream 4 to ever have been made. Sure, it's a reasonably fun and slightly above-average teen slasher. It isn't terrible. But it just pales in comparison to the first three movies (yes even the much-maligned Scream 3).
Here's the thing: remember how the first three Scream movies were innovative, were full of fun characters and witty banter, and usually had some surprises up their sleeves? Well, kiss all that goodbye! Scream 4 is rather dull, by the numbers, and just has a "been-there-done-that" feel to it. Nothing that happens in this movie will surprise you. Even the eventual revealing of the killers' identities feels routine...because by now it IS routine. This is the 4th movie in this series. You would think that Wes Craven & Kevin Williamson, being as 'horror savvy' as they are, would realize that in order to be relevant (or even to justify it's existence), Scream 4 needed to mix things up a little. Nope!

To keep things simple (which matches the spirit of the movie), I'll just list the major reasons why Scream 4 doesn't really work.

1. Scream 4 has nothing new to say...about horror movies, or anything else.
The first Scream deconstructed slasher movie cliches. Scream 2 played with sequel cliches. Scream 3 targeted movie trilogy cliches.
So what's the target in Scream 4? Well, it's supposed to be remakes...which is a great idea! The endless procession of (mostly) subpar horror remakes have been the bane of film geeks' existence for some time now. Unfortunately, Scream 4 never really has anything clever or insightful to say about remakes. Characters will occasionally make an offhand remark about horror remakes, and that's about it. Really, the "remake" angle is just an excuse for the new string of murders in Woodsboro.
And another thing: the movie's tagline is "New Decade. New Rules". Okay...so what are the new rules? Well, there really aren't any! Aside from one of the 'movie geek' characters saying "The unexpected is the new cliche", there isn't even any discussion of any "new rules".
Towards the end, the movie attempts to make a half-heated statement about the new generation's obsession with celebrity...but just like the 'remake' angle, it doesn't really go anywhere.

2. The characters are dull.
The three returning stars (Campbell, Arquette, and Cox) all slide easily back into their characters, but none of them is really given anything to do and none of their characters are expanded upon at all. Of the three, only Cox's Gale Weathers is given any good lines or scenes.
As for the new characters, Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) is the ONLY one who leaves any impression at all. She's funny and very, very sexy. All the others are just dull. The other Scream sequels (again, even Part 3) were filled with fun supporting characters; not the case here. The teen boyfriend was completely generic, and the two 'movie geek' guys were a piss-poor replacement for Randy Meeks. The one who's constantly recording everything (Erik Knudsen) was annoying as hell - Randy wouldn't have even hung out with this guy.
Anthony Anderson and Mary McDonnell are completely wasted, and Marley Shelton was pretty awful, sad to say. Her character is the kind of smokin' hot female cop that only exits in movies, and she's made into such an obvious red herring that it's ridiculous.

3. Scream 4 plays things WAY too safe, and offers no surprises.
As expressed earlier, Scream 4 is completely lacking in the fun twists and turns of the original movies. The whole thing just feels dull, uninspired, and kind of clunky.
Even the kills are completely telegraphed. In the first three Screams, the kills were usually always pretty sudden and unexpected. In Scream 4, you can see each death scene coming from a mile away. A woman walks into a dark, deserted parking garage? Yep, she's about to die. A couple of inconsequential supporting characters are sitting in a car talking? Can you tell they're about to get attacked by Ghostface? Come on! What happened to the Scream movies being fresh and innovative?
Also, without trying to spoil anything, let's just say that at about the halfway point in the movie, it becomes pretty obvious that some of the characters (about three of them, to be exact) will always be "safe". No matter what....no matter how many other people are getting slaughtered around them....these characters will always survive Ghostface's attacks and will never die. Pretty effective way to kill the tension in the movie, Craven & Williamson! Again, this is the 4th movie in this series. In order for the movie to feel fresh, chances needed to be taken, and things needed to be mixed up a little. Sadly, nothing of the sort happens here.

So we eventually get the now-obligatory "killers reveal themselves" scene, and even that feels perfunctory. The killers' motivation seemed a little flimsy to me at first, but really it's no more implausible than the motivations of past Scream killers. (NOTE: Yes there is more than one killer. Is that really a "spoiler" at this point in the series?)
To be fair, things actually pick up a little after the killers reveal themselves - mostly because one of them goes completely batshit crazy! The whole last sequence with this character is actually pretty fun; it could've been enough to almost save the movie IF a more capable actor/actress had played the part.

When all is said and done, Scream 4 is a slightly above-average modern teen slasher. If it were not a Scream sequel, that would be fine. The problem is, the Scream name has a certain pedigree of quality attached to it, and Scream 4 sadly does not live up to the name.

Last edited by Elgyn; 04-26-2011 at 04:53 PM..
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