This is the review I’ve been waiting to write for so long. So much to get to but let’s start with the bottom line: it’s good, quite good. It’s not amazing, but I didn’t expect it to be. There are flaws, of course, but they are forgivable. Wes Craven gives us, the fans, everything we could have asked for and more. This is a great way to apologize for whatever Scream 3 was.
Scream 4 comes 10 years after the third film in the franchise. Judging by this weekends #’s the franchise is dated and showing it’s age. Why did it gross only $20 million on it’s opening weekend? I don’t know. I’m kind of dumbfounded; there is the R rating working against it but, I mean, this generation’s teens don’t care about Scream. I think. Going into the weekend I thought this has a chance to do really well, and the tracking surely suggested it but like everything else this year so far, tracking has been WAY OFF. This may find legs but the R rating is not helpful. But I think all the other ones were rated R and someone managed to gross over $100 million, give or take, for each so again, I just don’t know.
I’ve been anticipating this movie for the longest time. I love horror movies, I live for Scream, and I live to be in a horror movie, like Scream. Too far? Maybe. Scream is the horror franchise for film enthusiasts like myself and everyone else. If you love Scream, I don’t need to explain why. I don’t find the films scary, I don’t go to see them to be scared, I go because they are insane amounts of fun and always contain the BEST references to itself and films past, present and future. (Note: I’m talking about the Scream films I am ignoring the third movie. What third movie? Exactly). I go because I feel like Wes makes these movies just for me.
Scream 4 was a process. Read any interview Wes or the cast gave, they put a lot of work into this. Maybe it was a little rushed but there is a lot of enthusiasm inside of it. This one gets back to the roots of the original. While I love the sequel, and love it more than the original sometimes, the only thing lacking is that its taken out of what worked for the first one: Sidney’s home, the close knit group of friends, the down. The university and then for the third movie, Hollywood, just takes you out of the claustrophobia of it all. So it’s a back to basics schedule and it works really well.
The plot of this, if you’ve seen the trailers (Note: think you know who the killer is based on the trailers? Don’t. They fuck with your shit and Wes – and this is why I love him – shot the scenes that are in the trailers differently than those that appear in the movie) follows the Scream mantra: we analyze the horror films that have come and gone, and then acknowledge ourselves and then work with whatever movie were on, and how it would work in a franchise. Scream is a movie within a movie within a movie, etc… It is VERY self-aware but not so much so. It acts like a 4th movie, like the reboot that it is and it works so well by doing that. (There is a part of me that kind of think Wes doesn’t hate the mediocre weekend #s because, well its a 4th movie in a franchise, that happens to 4th movies). The OG cast returns (Neve, Couteney and David) and they really solidify the movie. The entire cast is great really and Emma Roberts is outstanding; the first time I’ve bought as becoming a big name some day.
The only problem I have with the movie is the pacing. It’s a bit off, especially in the middle but that third act, THAT THIRD ACT !!, completely makes up for what’s lost in the consistency. The opening sequences are typical scream and aren’t as “classic” as the first two’s, but they’re really fun and I’m smirking just thinking about them. There are so many moments threw out that I loved but I think, for me, my favorite has to be the scene with Ghostface on the phone and he’s questing Hayden Panitierre on her horror knowledge. Maybe it’s because I got all the answers correct too but I got chills during that scene. It’s poorly constructed in the trailer (on purpose…) but on-screen, works so well.
The film is also really well shot and quite nice to look at. Neve Campbell is great and it was really nice to see her back on the screen. Couteney and David are fantastic as Gale and Dewey, as always. And the small bit actors are great too. Just a really well put together cast. The film, by the end of it, reaches another level outside of horror remakes and reboots and sequels. As i’m sure some of you have read with interviews and reviews, it talks about society and pop culture, then going into fame and social networking. I am tired and it’s another review entirely but it’s really poignant and quite sharp.
The film is getting some great WOM from the people I have spoken to, so I’m hoping it gets some legs but even so, this movie was everything I wanted it to be. If you were hesitant on seeing it because of that third movie we’ve been ignoring this entire time, don’t be, it makes up for it and then some. Should there be a 5th though? My brother asked me this on the way home. And as I exhale while pondering this answer, I am admittedly torn. The fan, the film enthusiast inside of me wants there to be a 5th, of course. Bad or good, I will be at every Scream movie but, for the sake of film, enough is enough. I love sequels, and like Scream 2’s film course scene, they are sometimes better than the originals but, and I’m crediting my brother for this point, no one is “smart enough to come up with an original killer these days. Where is the next Michael Meyers?”. Point well taken. There is no Michael, Jason, or Freddy anymore and there kind of can’t be. Sure those shlocked together remakes did kind of well but audiences, they don’t care. Horror is kind of getting back to the days of the BOO movies, as I said with my Insidious review. We may need to wait a while until we can have a killer again and I think Scream 4 should be the final nail in this franchises coffin.
SEE SCREAM 4