Film Review: Scream 4

I was a wee 15 year old just about to finish high school when Scream 3 was released in 2000, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see Ghostface grace or screens again. But here we are, and here’s my thoughts on the much-needed shot in the arm for the horror genre, Scream 4.

So many films that have been released within the genre of the past few years have lacked the wit, the story and structure of a Scream film, it has been mainly remakes and re-imaginings without any real thought into how to transfer these stories into the modern age.

This is the first thing that Scream 4 does right from the superb opening act; it modernises its brand and characters to the sequel and remake surge as well as offering social commentary on what has happened to the horror film since Scream 3.

So Sidney Prescott and co are back in Woodsboro, as the much-maligned serial victim looks to promote her book on the story of the previous 3 films. In this age of exploitation, Sidney herself has become a commodity, and almost a celebrity in Woodsboro, whereas her counterpart Gail Weathers has gone the other way. This another interesting talking point throughout the film; Gail’s fall from grace at the top of the broadcast world, to unhappy housewife to now Sheriff Dewey.

The clever twist (one of many) is the tongue-in-cheek sub-plot of Gail and Dewey having marital problems, having recently announcing their divorce, having married shortly before Scream 3. It’s irony at its best, and a great in-joke.

The new cast members fit quite well with an army of good-looking, geeky and suspicious teenagers added to the chopping block. Standouts being Hayden Pannattiere as Kirby, a young self-aware friend of Sidney’s cousin, and Maucalay Culkin’s younger sibling, Kieran as one of two movie geeks who host a Stab-A-Thon.

Of course Scream films are always shrouded in mystery because the killer seems to always be someone differentin each film, and part of the intrigue is figuring out who the killer is, and why?

Just like it’s predecessors this entry will keep you guessing up until the point where things are cleared up, having said this I suspected about 5 or 6 characters throughout and didn’t guess correct anyway. So there is variety there.

So was it worth resurrecting the series?

Definitely, for the final act alone which keeps you guessing on edge of your seat.

The concept that was reported before production began, was that this would be the start of a new trilogy of Scream films, and dependant of course on box office sales; you can rest assured there will be a Scream 5 barring a major casting exodus.

One thing that is vital to the series; is the contribution of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who once again produces a sharp, sassy and joke-laden script which really pushes the film on, and keep you entertains whether you’re laughing or screaming.

So there you go, my seal of approval. In a nutshell, go see Scream 4 and fall in love with Ghostface all over again whoever it may be.

Scream 4  – **** out of 5.

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