Is it possible to go home again? What if a tragic series of events prevented that from happening? You can go home, but beware of the trouble that might follow you to your front door. That’s the premise of Scream 4, now on DVD, which followed franchise’s formula with some twists that came out of left field. The results were at best mixed and a little too much.
Scream 4 followed perpetual movie victim turned survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) who became a self help author since the last movie. She returns to Woodsboro for the last stop of her book tour, which coincided with the latest anniversary of the original murders. The town has changed somewhat since she left. For starters, former reporter Gale (Courteney Cox) and Dewey (David Arquette) are married and have settled into a complicated suburban lifestyle. Dewey is now the Town’s Sheriff and Gale is trying to kick start a career in fiction writing with no luck. She’s jealous of her husband’s friendly rapport with his Deputy (Marley Shelton) and wished she was working side by side with his again. Sidney’s arrival started off a series of new Woodsboro murders that made her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) along with her friends Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Charlie (Rory Culkin) new Ghostface targets. This new killer is using the new technological age to give their killing spree a more modern feel. Who will survive this new murder attack and who is behind it all? The answer may surprise you.
In terms of plot, Scream 4 had some moderate scares, but it was nearly sunk by the overwhelming satire in the plot. The three layered beginning was smart but also a little bit ridiculous at the same time. The audience almost half believed that they were still being duped until they realized that the latest disposable murder was part of the actual movie. The movie sometimes put too much emphasis on the new crop of Woodsboro teens ripe for the killing when it should’ve spent more time with the original cast members. The best material ultimately came from Campbell, Cox and Arquette because they were familiar with the satirical horror material and made fun of it often as they could.
The movie should’ve spent a little more time with Cox and Arquette to demonstrate scenes from a crumbling marriage, which would’ve added a more poignant touch to balance the excessive killing. It was also hard to identify with Roberts’ Jill and Panettiere’s Kirby because their parts were rather cookiecutter. Roberts was the girl next door and Panettiere was the mean girl with the heart of gold. The movie’s murder scenes were sometimes over the top gory and were more for shock value than anything else. The reveal of the killer’s identity had the standard predictable one that was obvious from the first ten minutes of the film and a surprising accomplice that was rather shocking. The movie didn’t disappoint in that matter. Scream 4 is for horror movie fans who want to see what happened to their favorite characters and are also in the mood for a little silly gory material. Sit back and enjoy it for all its worth.
Verdict: A sequel that still had a spark but was nearly wrecked with the satire material.
DVD Score: 2 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: R
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)