Director Wes Craven is back with the original Scream cast plus a new generation of killers and victims. Most movies that try to keep going forever and ever tank with the first sequel. But not Scream. However, Scream came out when trilogies were all the rage so a third was made. Did it tank then? It’s arguable, but no. Granted, none of the sequels are as good as the original, but they’re still enjoyable whereas others who try for a million sequels and then go into remakes are shot down from the sky in a flurry of rotten fruit missiles and boos. So why hasn’t the Scream franchise tanked yet? Sydney, played by Neve Campbell, answers this question quite well: “Don’t f*** with the original.” So while all the others are making vomit-worthy sequels, Scream has survived though perhaps barely.
Now they’ve come out with a fourth movie and while this movie-watcher rented it with heavy misgivings, she was very delightedly surprised to find that alcohol wasn’t necessary to enjoy the movie (which was very fortunate as there was none in the fridge). All the familiar faces you’ve come to know and love have returned and, although they’re much older than in the original, they don’t really look older. Good aging genetics or just Hollywood’s plastic surgery, make up, and airbrushing techniques? To top it off, this time around Courtney Cox has her best hairstyle yet!
Quite happily throughout the entire movie Scream 4 makes fun of itself and of other horror remakes and sequels. Just like before, they poke holes into why the others failed and why this one won’t fail, but they do it in new ways. Nothing is more boring in sequels than repetition. Unless they’re making fun of their repetitions even as they commit them which is one technique they tried here.
Just when you’re starting to think that Scream 4 is giving honors to the original a tad too much, they come up with a couple twists that really surprise (unless you’re one of those people who are horribly good at predicting endings). The Stab-A-Thon that happens toward the middle does a great job of dissing the other franchises that have continued long after they should have stopped. And the fake beginnings are laugh-worthy (though they do become a bit much by the end), especially with the guest appearance of Anna Paquin who dies rather campily.
Scream 4 is definitely worth a look, especially if you’re a fan. Don’t expect the story to revolve around only the original cast though. The new generation has a good chunk devoted to them as well; without them the story could never unfold. But just because they’re new doesn’t mean they do a poor job (though some of them could have been better). The two generations are equally important and Wes Craven has done admirably weaving them together.
Scream 4 gets a delightfully surprised 4 out of 5 stars.