Saturday, 9 July 2011

Film Review: Scream 4

Rating: 8/10 - Very Good

This is better than most people could expect from a sequel 11 years on. In fact, the team behind Scream 4, has not only made a more than decent sequel, but also managed to reach the heights of Scream 1, with this mostly fresh, entertaining movie. If you do not enjoy this, you have no concept of what makes a good horror movie. You are probably some clown who gets excited every time that there is another Saw film. Those movies lose more sense with every torrid incarnation. Director, Wes Craven, creator Kevin Williamson and the rest of his crew have made a very clever film that makes Scream a stylish parody that deserves praise.

Director: Wes Craven. Screenplay: Kevin Williamson. Producers: Kevin Williamson, Wes Craven and Iya Labunka. Cinematographer: Peter Deming. Editor: Peter McNulty. Music: Marco Beltrami. Distributor: Dimension Films. Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Adam Brody and Rory Culkin. Age Restriction: 16VL. Running Time: 111 Minutes.

The movie is set 15 years after the first film and ten years after the third. Sidney Prescott returns to the small town of Woodsboro, to release her autobiography, which is part of her healing process. But when she arrives, a killer, who looks like Ghostface, starts killing students from Woodsboro High, including her younger cousin's friends. Sidney wanted to move on from all the pain but someone won't let her. She, Dewey Riley, who is now a sheriff after being a deputy in the original trilogy and Gail Weathers Riley, Dewey's new husband and the reporter-turned novelist, set out to investigate the murders.

They have to learn from the teenagers of the school what the new rules of horror movies are as they try to survive. The movie's tag line is new decade new rules and the film makers poke fun at recent horror movies and their reliance on gore and voyeurism.

Neve Campbell plays Sidney. She has not appeared in many big box office movies since Scream 3. She plays Sidney well in this movie and fans should enjoy the role which "broke her" as an actress in the 1990s. One of the clever things that Scream 1 did was to kill off its biggest star at the time, Drew Barrymore, in the opening scene. Campbell had been seen in the TV series, Party of Five and in the cult horror movie, The Craft, but Scream elevated her career, at least for a while. I thought she was great in Three To Tango and The Company. She probably made audiences a bit light-headed while sitting in the bath in the former and dancing in the latter. Let's not forget Wild Things, which was a sleazy film, which definitely excited many teenagers.

Cox and Arquette are both good and the joining cast is entertaining. The movie must be commended for all of the interesting nuances in the dialogue. It even has a cheesy take on society, which makes it more entertaining.

The new generation's cast of Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Emma Roberts, Anthony Anderson and even Adam Brody, all deliver solid performances. They may be playing bratty teenagers, which is not particularly new, but the viewer actually cares a bit about them. The film makers make us want to see people survive the movie. There may be some characters that one would not mind seeing get ripped to shreds by a knife-wielding maniac, but on the whole you support the characters and become fairly freaked out by the killings, even if they seem de-sensitised to the violence. The film makers are telling us that the youth has become de-sensitised to violence and maybe lost some of its innocence.

This is a gory, funny, sometimes silly film that respects its series and has enough smart extras to be worth a couple of viewings.

Verdict: This is a clever movie that should be beyond pretentious gits who expect it to be an entirely new take on horror films. The movie instead returns to the parody-serious formula of the original, which works well. It may make horror movies popular again but essentially, Scream 4, has made the series it was born from cool again.

Alistair Anderson

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