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Scream 4 (2011)

April 22, 2011

8/10 iKillers

Surprisingly awesome for a series that seemed like it was wearing a bit thin towards the end there.

Scream 4 picks up ten years after all the killings and such that went down in the original Scream. Sidney Prescott is back in good ol’ Woodsboro (because why wouldn’t she want to go back to Woodsboro?) to plug a new book she wrote about how she’s a survivor and doesn’t dwell on the past and stuff, but then a bunch of local teens get shanked to a pulp on the day she arrives and it quickly turns into the worst book tour of all-time. But since this is a new Williennium we’re dealing with and you ain’t cool if you ain’t gots a smart phone, our guy/girl Ghostface is playing by a new set of rules that’s skyrocketing the body count, making everyone a suspect, and giving every fool with a smartphone a front row seat to all the gory details.

So for all intents and purposes, I don’t think I’d be overstepping any bounds to say that the original Scream is one of the best horror movies of the ’90s and is arguably the smartest to boot. It turned the genre on its head, made every cliche’ feel brand-spankin’-new, that’s what we loved about it and that’s why it managed to squeeze out three sequels over the next 15 years. That and casting The Fonz as Woodsboro High’s principal. But as good as it is and how I agree with everything I just wrote, I still haven’t seen the first two sequels. Not sure why that is, guess it never quite made its way up on the Netflix queue and I was probably too big of a wuss to see ’em in theaters, so with that being said, I don’t really have a whole lot of comparisons to make.

But on its own and being familiar with how it all started, I’m actually pretty impressed by the script that Kevin Williamson threw together this time. On the one hand, it’s the same old shit, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same old shit that’s kept the masses coming back for more. The plot for each of these movies is modeled after the plot that Friday the 13th, Elm Street and every other iconic  slasher went by back in the day, only here the characters are all self-aware and use horror movie trivia to their advantage and whatnot. What makes this different instead of a carbon copy pretty much boils down to two things: cell phones and the internet.

So on the other hand, it actually does work and ultimately winds up going in a surprisingly different and unsurprisingly smart direction that left me with more than just cheap scares and a recycled storyline. Can’t say too much about it and I don’t want to ramble to the point where folks’ll read this review and get the impression that this some post-modern re-imagining of Hamlet or some shit, but in staying true to form, props to Williamson for keeping it brainy, keeping me guessing, and elevating things to a new level while simultaneously keeping it old school. And major points for placing such a heavy emphasis on cell phone usage in a horror movie and never once having a character’s call drop on them. Could have been a real easy road to go down, but thank God that Williamson steered clear and stayed the course. Now that I think of it, I don’t think I rolled my eyes once during the whole damn thing. Can’t beat that with a stick.

And in terms of how Ghostface’s “rules” have changed over the years, he’s pretty much got a no-holds-barred mentality going for him since charming fellows like Eli Roth and Alexandre Aja were given free reign to go nuts over the past ten years. And while this isn’t torture porn in the least, I tell ya’ what, Ghostface is not screwing around this time. There’s a ton of major players in this cast of victims and it’s bonkers how efficiently they all get gutted, gored and goosed by this dude like he’s running a goddamn assembly line. Seriously, when you consider that none of these characters are nameless victims and all play some kind of halfway important role, this bad boy’s got a death tally for the record books. Nice that none of them are stupid though, and I can’t really knock ’em for getting outsmarted either.

On top of that, it is scary, but then again, I really am such a wuss when it comes to horror movies. I love ’em, but the last thing I need on any day is for some dick with a knife to jump into frame while 20 different speakers go from crickets to 11 all in unison. Still, it moves along at a solid pace, and since there’s so many people that need killing, there’s hardly any down time between one butchering and the next. Pretty suspenseful stuff, yo’.

And the cast gets it done, too. Nothing stand-out, but it’s cool to see the original crew back in action and having some fun with it. The years have been kind to Neve Campbell, the same goes for Courteney Cox even if see does look a bit botoxy, David Arquette is fine even if he does look like a certified creep when rocking that mustache, and…well, I guess those are the only folks still alive 15 years later. Still, I dig that they came out for this even if it is weird seeing Cox and Arquette play opposite each other these days. Always seemed like a peculiar couple anyway, probably ’cause they named their kid Coco.

Not being a die-hard fan of the series and not expecting all too much to begin with, I gotta say, I had myself a time with Scream 4. Wish I knew where to rank it amongst the quadrilogy since the only thing I can remember of the other two sequels is Jada Pinkett Smith getting offed in a movie theater and that Liev Schreiber played a guy named fucking Cotton, but in comparison to the original, it didn’t disappoint and it’s great not to have Matthew Lillard around anymore (even if it seems like I’m the only guy on the planet who couldn’t effing stand Matthew Lillard). It was fun, it wasn’t mindless, and Anthony Anderson has one of the best movie deaths I’ve seen in a good long while. It’s only 15 seconds long, but it might just be worth the price of admission.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2011 1:48 pm

    Great review! I’m not much of a horror person either, but I did see Scream on cable once and thought it was pretty funny and entertaining, so this might get added to Netflix. I’m especially interested in Anderson’s death now. A friend of mine also wrote a review for this, though while I think he enjoyed it as much as you did, he gave it a lower ranking out of the entire series. Feel free to check it out!

    • April 25, 2011 11:02 am

      Thanks! Will check out your buddy’s review, but yeah, I’m in the same boat as you and I totally enjoyed myself. So check it out, you may just dig it.

  2. April 23, 2011 9:42 am

    You haven’t seen SCREAM 2 or. SCR3AM! that’s not really on …

    • April 25, 2011 11:03 am

      Haha. I know, man. One of these days, maybe when Scr5am comes out.

  3. April 24, 2011 6:07 am

    Oh dear, this time we seem to disagree on on something… Oh well, there’s always a first time… hehehe.
    I really thought this film was quite tired, uninspired, a bit boring and definitely NOT scary.

    here’s my review.

    • April 25, 2011 11:04 am

      Hahaha. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting a unanimous response on this one. Maybe I was just in the right mood when I caught this, but idk, it worked for what it was.

  4. April 26, 2011 1:08 am

    Damn, Anthony Anderson’s death in this movie was a solid piece of work, wasn’t it?

    “Fuck Bruce Willis.” Poor, underwritten cop!

    Good review! I saw it myself, and wrote one up. Right with you. It’s not quite as good as the first, but it ain’t no slouch either. I’ve had the good fortune (or misfortune, depending on how I’m feeling) of seeing all of em’ and let me tell ya. This is easily the best of the sequels. I did think it was too funny. Like, that scene where the killer goes all medieval on his/her own ass in the end was HYSTERICAL!!! The scares were good, but there weren’t enough for me, and I NEVER say that.

    And hey, SCREAM was the one good thing Matthew Lillard has done for my money. Helped me forget about Scooby Fucking Doo!

    • May 2, 2011 2:39 pm

      Haha. Anderson was definitely a highlight.

      Glad to hear you agree, man. Not sure where folks stand on this, especially in comparison to the sequels, but what can I say, I dug it and it delivered.

      And, yeah, in comparison to Scooby Doo, that was easily a highpoint in Lillard’s career. Still, he sucks. Go see Wing Commander.

  5. HermioneO permalink
    April 27, 2011 3:50 pm

    What? No love for Matt in Hackers? I think that was the first film I saw him in. Course, Jolie stole the film, but I thought his take on the homeless hacker was pretty good. Otherwise, pretty meh.

    Haven’t seen this yet but seen the other three. Not really into horror but I liked the humor of this take.

    • May 2, 2011 2:40 pm

      Actually never saw Hackers. Should probably get on that, you’re not the first person to suggest it.

      And I really need to see the other two sequels already, but hey, the humor is still very much intact, so it’s got that going for it.


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