BD Review: A Final Look at Craven’s ‘Scream 4′ — Write Your Review Now!!

Another Scream 4 review? How about another TWO!?

Now in theaters everywhere, by clicking here you’ll now find reviews of Wes Craven’s slasher sequel from Mr. Disgusting, David Harley, and even THEoDEAD.

In addition, beyond the break you’ll find a fourth review by Maria Lewis that gives a positive spin to the latest “Scooby-Doo” adventure.

But more importantly, user reviews are NOW OPEN! Click here to write your own and tell all of Bloody Disgusting what YOU thought. I personally am dying to know…
Spoiler Warning

What’s your favorite scary movie? After sitting through Scream 4, you may have found it. A big statement, I know, but after a decade of remakes Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have done what no one dared think possible; made a reboot of the genre defying franchise that is just as witty, original, self-aware and arguably smarter than the originals.

The Scream movies are known for their literally killer openings and without spoiling it, number four delivers a double knockout in that category with a layered first act that will leave you laughing, gasping and, if your audience was anything like mine, shouting with approval come the opening title. Our heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) happens to return to Woodsboro to promote her new book during the aftermath of the introductory murders, which also occur on the 10-year anniversary of the original Woodsboro massacre. Barney Fife, sorry, I mean Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is now sheriff and the once fiery Gale Weathers is now Mrs Riley (Courtney Cox), resigned to small town married life. The original trio are again at the centre of a spree of vicious murders by the Ghostface killer/s who’s also interested in a bevy of hot young things led by Sidney’s niece Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), the spunky Kirby (Hayden Panettierre), babe Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), Jill’s creepy ex Trevor (Nico Tortorella) and film geeks Robbie (Erik Knudsen) and Charlie (Rory Culkin), proving it takes twice the effort to make up for Randy. With the veterans and the new generation working together, they begin to decipher the killer/s key medium and establish some new rules. For instance, the unexpected is the new cliché and, most importantly, for the killer to take it into the next generation they need to film their kills and stream live.

In the Scream 4 production notes Wes Craven said the only way he would come back to the franchise was if Scream and Scream 2 scribe Williamson wrote a script that was worth coming back for. Well, congratulations Wes because although My Soul To Take mightn’t have been worth it, this certainly is. As horror buffs, we think we know the genre better than the insides of a teenage babysitter, but Craven and Williamson succeed in providing an abundance of plot twists and creative kills. Gore hounds be excited, because they certainly up the entrail-ante in what is easily the most gruesome Scream flick yet. The series is infamous for being self-aware and Williamson has done a brilliant job of turning this expectation on the audience, diffusing the element with gags so far in cheek you expect a tongue to come out the other side. It could have backfired terribly, but they pull it off. Just.

The performances too are solid, with the leading trio doing what they do best and standout turns from Panettierre and Roberts especially. Culkin is amiable as a Hanson-haired movie buff, but there’s something about those Culkin siblings that makes me think they’d be good as a nerd in anything. A lot of the supporting cast’s appearances are fleeting, but Marley Shelton leaves a lasting impression as a female version of Dewey aka Deputy Judy Hicks.

Scream 4 marks a return to the quality of the first film (and the first two thirds of the second) by achieving a rare feat; it doesn’t rehash old territory or repeat tired formulas, it makes a pun about them then boldly carves its way into new territory. This is largely thanks to the Planet Captain-esque combined powers of Craven and Williamson. The former knows how to make a contemporary horror classic that looks the part, while the latter knows how to write one. Williamson’s pen is sharper than Ghostface’s blade, integrating social media, pop-culture, film and serial killer references all within a single conversation. But his most powerful message is in the faux final act where, through a villain, he provides his most poignant commentary on a generation who will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame, as long as they don’t have to work for it. More interested in fans than friends, it’s a generation ofKardashian and Jersey Shore worshippers who I’m now convinced are all serial killers in waiting. Come one, like you didn’t think that already? Although the filmmakers are willing to point out the rule of remakes through Sidney – “don’t fuck with the original” – Scream 4 proves that you can fool around with a classic and conceive something altogether new and relevant.

P.S. Keep an eye out for the Robert Rodriguez shout-out in Stab’s opening credits.

4/5 Skulls

 
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