Movie Review: "Scream 4"
Rating: R (For strong bloody violence, language, and some teen drinking)
Length: 111 minutes
Release Date: April 15, 2011
Directed by: Wes Craven
Genre: Horror, Mystery, and Thriller
Stars: 3 out of 5
"Scream 4" begins ten years after the events of the third installment of the film series. During this time, Sidney Prescott (portrayed by Neve Campbell) has regained some semblance of her normal self, in part due to focusing on her career as a writer. Unfortunately, the Ghostface Killer does not intend to leave her alone. The movie was written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven.
The movie opens with an attack on two high school students, Jenny Randall (portrayed by Aimee Teegarden) and Marnie Cooper (portrayed by Britt Robertson). The two murders are timed to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the first Woodsboro murders. Together with her publicist Rebecca Walters (portrayed by Alison Brie), Prescott visits Woodsboro to promote her new book, but is forced to stay longer than she intended when she is named as one of the suspects in the murders. After a series of intriguing events, she decides to launch an investigation of her own into the killings.
Many people have credited the makers of "Scream 4" for delivering what they call 'the bare essentials,' which include bloody scenes, violent murders, and pretty people being stalked. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of its emotional potency. This is why some critics are labeling this fourth installment in the series a pale imitation of the earlier films.
"Scream 4" is the first film in the series to use or make references to YouTube, Twitter, torture porn, phone apps, Facebook, and the like. Their inclusion is even more refreshing given that many other things in the movie have remained stagnant from the first installment. For example, the hairstyles, clothes, and slang have not changed much.
In a way, "Scream 4" feels like more of a reboot than a sequel. This is mainly due to the introduction of new and young cast members. Even the chief protagonist, Ghostface, is playing by some new rules. This time, he is filming his antics and uploading them online for the entire world to see. A couple of Woodsboro high school video bloggers who constantly upload their movies online also demonstrate just how tech savvy the film is. There is also a decent twist toward the end of the film that is refreshing in a horror movie.
It seems that "Scream 4" has garnered more mixed reviews than other films in the series. While many people blasted the movie for including references to many horror films without being horrific enough, others have praised it for its use of irony and bloody scenes. In fact, many people are saying that it has come closest to recapturing the glory once held by "Scream" movies. The film has also been praised for its humor and twisty plot.
Over the years, different horror movies have had sequels that promised to be better than their predecessors, but few lived up to the promise. Nevertheless, it is not entirely correct to say that "Scream 4" is without its horrors. There are scenes of rooms flooded with blood, knives stabbed into foreheads, and intestines ripped out and spilled onto beds; this is definitely a horror movie. On the night when the annual Stab-A-Thon party is held, Ghostface goes on a rampage around town, but it is still not clear exactly who is behind the murders.
Ultimately, however, it is evident that "Scream 4" was not primarily made to scare its fans. Furthermore, while some people might be interested in identifying the real killer, the killer's identity is not the main point of the movie. Those who have watched the movie will agree that the franchise set out to show its fans how a "Scream" movie is supposed to look in a postmodern world. The movie clearly shows how technology is changing how the contemporary world communicates and is entertained. This was an interesting angle for the filmmakers to take, but it is a bit disappointing that it was not fully developed.
Neve Campbell certainly did not disappoint with her performance, which is to be expected given her long experience in acting. She has appeared in a number of films such as "Wild Things," "Panic," and "The Company," but most fans of horror movies know her from "Scream" as well as its sequels. Craven, an American, is also a veteran in the film industry, having worked in a number of productions as a writer, director, actor, and producer. He is best known for directing horror films, and examples of his works in this genre include "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "The Hills Have Eyes," and "Vampire in Brooklyn."