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September 21, 2011

Movie Review: Scream 4 (2011, Blu-ray)

I feel like I’ve been in a wayback machine. We all know the story, we all know the characters and we even know the gimmicks, but the nostalgia was well worth it. It could be due solely to the fact that the characters are my age and I identified with them in 1996 when the original came out and with each successive sequel, I aged the same way they did (quickly and gracefully… ahem). So, prepare yourselves for a glowing, gushing, fanboy review of Scream 4, complete with obligatory Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson butt kissing. Oh, and I still have a crush on Neve Campbell.

I don’t want to give away the clever, self-aware introduction that takes us back to the original Drew Barrymore shocker from Scream, but suffice it to say that the intro is very fun and includes Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell, among other, less famous ingénues. From the onset, the film rides a thin, strange line between the Scream franchise and the Stab franchise (the diegetic movies based off of the killings). We are back in Woodsboro, of course. Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is on the last leg of her book tour (the book she credits for keeping her sane), Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courtney Cox) are married and all is well. The original killings have taken on a legendary status in the small town and Sheriff Dewey tries his best to keep the peace. Upon Sydney’s return, the killings start one more time.  Sydney’s cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts) is in the middle of the action so we aren’t left with the thirty and fortysomething original cast for two hours (which wouldn’t be too bad, in my opinion). There are twists, turns and false scares. Most importantly, though, this is a new millennium so there are a new set of rules. As famously parroted by people my age for years, Scream verbalized the rules of the horror film. Scream 4, though, lets us know that the rules have changed and we are dealing with the remake/reboot rules… which are not a whole new ball of gore, but definitely different. Suffice it to say, Scream 4 was more of the same, updated for a new generation, and I liked it.

Most of the credit for my enjoyment will have to go to director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson. Actually, most of the credit for reinvigorating horror fifteen years ago go to these two as well. Scream was a self-aware horror homage that let us know it was clever. Sequels followed, one decent, the other abysmal, but Scream 4 is a nice, final butcher knife in the eye. The film didn’t waste its pulpit, though. Taking on the fleeting celebrity of reality fame, social media addictions and overly-witty teenage banter in equal proportion gave this the same feel the prior films had. I rarely give a praise-laden, candy-flavored puke review, but I dug this and had a great time with it.

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