Film Review: Scream 4 (2011)

Few sequels live up to their predecessors. Scream actually waned after the first entry and when this latest one came around...skepticism and ridicule first entered my mind. Well...I finally watched Scream 4...and I'm here to tell you how goddamn good it actually is.

First thing's first.

Scream 4 opens so cleverly that I imagined Kevin Williamson laughing to himself in giddiness as he wrote it. It exudes clever writing all throughout the film. There's some clever back and forth stuff about the relevance of the films compared to torture porn stuff and Japanese supernatural stuff. And it's all done through the tongue-in-cheek eye of Wes Craven.

A word on Wes Craven. Yes...the man has directed some downright terrible shit lately. Yes... the man is getting old and it hurts to see him put out a film like My Soul to Take. However, Craven is known for A Nightmare on Elm Street, Last House on the Left, Serpent and the Rainbow, The Hills Have Eyes and The People Under the Stairs. The guy is a legend. So, I didn't put My Soul to Take on my worst of 2010 list, even though the film so deserved it. Unlike Romero, Wes isn't a one trick pony. He understands how to direct a horror film and he also understands the many ways that one can terrify the audience. All of those classic films I mentioned up above have very little to do with one another...and they all manage to scare us in different ways. So, I look at Wes Craven as a true horror icon. Someone who will be remembered for truly injecting fear into us all.

Scream 4 takes place in the same small town known as Woodsboro. Sydney Prescott (a still hot as hell Neve Campbell) returns home after being away for ten years. It's one of her stops for her book tour which is an instant bestseller called "Out of Darkness". Unfortunately for Sydney, Ghostface is also back in town.

I won't talk too much about the plot because there are elements in it that are really refreshing and sort of re-introduce the original theme in a new way for a ripe horror audience. There are even some really great twists that I didn't see coming. The whole time I thought Ghostface was so and so....when it was actually so and so. A really good all around story that we won't ruin for lovely Deviant.

Some of the original characters are back for this installment...including Sheriff Dewey (a more restrained David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (a weathered Courtney Cox). And there's also some new blood in the form of a bevy of young actress hotties. Hayden Panettiere plays Kirby...Emma Roberts plays Jill (Sydney's younger cousin)...and genre favorite Marley Shelton plays Deputy Judy. There is seriously no shortage of young actress hottie in this film...and I'm just naming a few. Sadly, the hotties in the film are never used to their fullest potential. boobies. Would've been nice to see a Panettiere booby fly out of her bra here or there. Just sayin'.

The only flaws we saw were in the soundtrack and some of the character development. The music was kind of overboard with Scream 4...or SCRE4M (as called by the cool kids).

I get that this is a huge Hollywood production...and it does have the usual glossy big budget look to it...but, the soundtrack came off way too big for the actual film. There are parts where I was seriously waiting for Captain Jack Sparrow to come scampering into the frame. I would've enjoyed a more subdued approach to the classic orchestra of the original films rather than cranking the levels up high for scenes that would actually work better in silence. Craven could have crafted a much more tense film had he made use of the tone of the film...rather than those loud bombastic soundscapes. There's a scene where Deputy Judy's face is purposely cloaked in darkness that seriously creates an eerie approach to her character. I wish there were more of that stuff in the film.

There are some characters that deserved a little more depth. Like Trevor. He's this film's Skeet, we should have spent a little more time getting to know his character. However, I understand how the audience's attention is purposely averted from certain characters to make room for the third act stunner of a twist.

In all...SCRE4M is a nice entry into the franchise. While not particularly a really scary film, it does have moments of intense gore and atmospheric eeriness that make the film a great option for an enjoyable late night horror movie experience. The acting is above average, the gore is cool and...most of all...Wes Craven is back.

3.5 out of 5

Thanks for reading!