My "warm up" steps in writing my SCREAM 4 review were:
-Re-read my reviews of SCREAM 1-2-3 to re-familiarize myself as to how I felt about the original trilogy.
-Kill time on Facebook and Twitter cause I’m procrastinating.
-Have a huge cup of coffee.
-Open up the SCREAM 4 Wiki and IMDb pages for cast and crew references.
-Slap on the new SUM 41 album SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER (it was a coincidence that the word SCREAM was in the title BTW) as back-up music, never really dug them, but this album is dope.
-Should I answer my e-mails before diving into this?
-All right enough f*cking around, let’s write this shit.
It was a matter of time before this happened and now is the time yall! As we all know the original SCREAM
(1996) gave the horror genre a much needed shot of Roids
in the arse and brought it back to the big times after its early to mid 90's slumber. It
helped horror into the new
Millennium on a positive streak and nobody has looked back ever since. The sequels, although uneven in terms of quality made a shit load of
che and ching and now that the SAW franchise has ran out of brains and traps; its time to dust off the old Ghostface mask and bring SCREAM back and hey, I’m all for it! So say hello to my little friend: SCREAM 4!
Before I dive into my thoughts as to this new entry; let me give ya my stance on the SCREAM films so ya know here I am coming from. I worshipped and still worship the original to this day; I was so-so on Part “Scoobi-Do” 2 and Part 3 was a tad more entertaining than the second one for me (I know I’m in the minority but that’s how I felt... what can ya do). I haven’t seen the sequels since I killed them on the big screen, so who knows, my opinion may have changed since then (happens a lot) but for now that’s what I got. So where does SCREAM 4 fit in all of this? Well to me, it’s the best SCREAM sequel yet! Look I can’t speak from the new audiences point of view who are cherries to this franchise, I can only speak from mine and I got to say it, just being thrown into the SCREAM universe once again was a freaking blast. I missed Woodsboro, Sidney, Dewy and Gale, missed Ghostface's zany phone calls, the clever dialogue and that booming score that kicks in when they crane shot down to introduce a setting. And SCREAM 4 gave me all of that and then some! It felt like I was re-visiting an old friend, one that I used to bang on all fours in her mother’s bed. Ya know, that kind of friend. So yeah, nostalgia definitely lent a hand in making this one a groovy watch for me. Do with that what you will.
Now, where the first flick deconstructed slasher movies in general, the
second took on sequels and the third tackled trilogies; this fourth instalment
took a stab at reboots/remakes (with varied success more on that below)
and of course the originals that gave birth to them. There was a lot to love in
SCREAM 4: the classic SCREAM opening was cranked up 3 notches (damn cool, talk
about starting a movie with a bang), the dialogue often hit the mark in its
humorous and self referential cleverness
(Panettiere's listing of remakes was gold and also kind of sad, has there been
so many, come on Hollywood...pathetic...), the teenage cast felt genuine (it
sure helped that most of the teen roles were played by real teens) with the
natural Emma Roberts and
charismatic Hayden Panettiere standing out (looks and performance wise) and the older
players came through as well. Dewey and Gale haven’t changed a bit and although Sidney
was a tad older, she was still the strong and resourceful Sid we all love.
You wouldn't think that 11 years or so have passed since SCREAM 3 as David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox came off as very comfortable and
convincing in their roles. Loved them and it was a treat to see the old gang go at it
again. This was an ideal “please the old fans”, “introduce
the Ghostface love
to new ones” affair. Quite the juggling act and the movie winged it. Speaking of stabbing; Ghostface
woke up on the wrong side of the coffin once more here. The masked one went ape-shit with the
grisly human laundry and thankfully Craven hasn’t lost his touch in terms of generating tension,
making ya jump and delivering gory punch lines.
Furthermore; the pace was tight, the takes on the new technology on the ball (Facebook, YouTube etc.),
we had a couple of fun cameos
(dug the Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell bit the most), a strong supporting cast
(Marley Shelton was simply adorable, Alison Brie was deliciously annoying while funny
man Anthony Anderson and oddball Rory Culkin nailed their roles), a handful of nifty
plot twists and I dug playing the “spot the references to the original” game.
On the dull side of the blade; my peeves with SCREAM 4 were mostly on a screenplay level. I mean we all know that there was some drama with original screenwriter Kevin Williamson (writer of Part 1 and 2) being given the boot to make way for Ethan Kruger (writer of Part 3) on some re-writes. Craven even said this in one interview about the script process: “I always prided myself on coming to the set with a shot list. But quite often we’d literally get pages the night before, sometimes the day of. That part was very stressful.” Not an ideal way to make a movie (classic Weinsteins though)…and it kinda showed. Although SCREAM 4 was for me more enjoyable than part 2 and 3; on paper, it had a weaker script. The story was kind of one note, even for a SCREAM opus, the whodunit angle was unfortunately underplayed hence I wasn’t playing guess who the killer is (or killers) much with this one (the flick just didn’t prompt me to) and the red herrings were not ample enough. And was I alone in thinking that there was so much more to be done with the “reboot/remake” thematic? Apart from a couple of money monologues; the flick didn’t really run with it. It didn't incorporate these new rules into its narrative enough for my liking. At the end of the kill this one was more akin to a basic slasher with characters doing dumb moves, a slew of stalk and kill sequences strung together by a fly initial premise and some efficient humor tossed in here and there. Which is all good, I just expect more slyness from a SCREAM movie at this point. But hey, that’s just me and last I checked, wtf do I know! Lastly, the way the killer (or is it killers, I won't tell) was revealed kind of came out of left field and underwhelmed me at first. For some reason I thought the story would unfold further, that it had more to say, but no dice, boom killer (or killers) is revealed... just felt premature. Once I “went with it” though and the movie took its warped shenanigans further, all was well in my neck of hell. I actually screamed "f*ck yeah" at the final moments of the movie, good times!
All in all SCREAM 4 made for quite the thrill ride! It won't cure jock itch but if its easy fun times you're craving... bend it over and get all up in there! It's a perfect movie to see with a bunch of friends and a couple of Brewskies in ya. It should please the fans of the original trilogy and send the SCREAM virgins to Netflix to tap the first film and its kin. Not sure where they can go from here in terms of a SCREAM 5 and beyond story wise (I hear they may happen); but hey if money talks, bullshit will walk. With that, if they’re as enjoyable as this one; all f*cking good! Count me in!