Scream 4 Movie Review

More than a decade after Scream 3, Craven and company reteam for another knowing thriller about scary movies. And by both following and subverting the rules of a reboot, they make a film that's both frightening and hilarious.

On the 10th anniversary of the original killings, Sidney (Campbell) returns to Woodsboro, having put the darkness behind her. Although the Stab movies based on her experience have reached number 7. Then a new spree of grisliness starts, and Sheriff Dewey (Arquette) and his journalist wife Gale (Cox) are on the case. Meanwhile, Sidney's cousin Jill (Roberts) and her pals (Pannettiere and Jaffe) are both fascinated and terrified by what's happening. So are the school's movie geeks (Knudsen and Culkin) and Jill's ex (Tortorella).

As before, the movie is packed with horror references, including the Saw and Final Destination genres that have sprung up in the past decade. Craven and Williamson also play with the "shriequel" and "screamake" concepts, and how most filmmakers throw logic and characters out the window to make things scarier, which leaves audiences bored. So they put relatively believable people on-screen, use genuinely brutal grisliness and fastidiously avoid cliches (such as a sudden loss of mobile phone reception).

And this being a Scream movie, they refer to all of these things as they go along, playing with stereotypes even as they gleefully undermine them. The opening scene within a scene within a scene is hilarious (and features cameos from the likes of Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell), immediately reminding us how much fun a truly witty/nasty thriller can be. The teens are all snarky and smart, while the cops (including Shelton, Anderson and Brody) and parents (Mary McDonell as Jill's mother) are a bit oblivious.

Despite some cheap gags, it's nice to see a film that doesn't edit out reality for a PG-13 rating and also has the nerve to show how horrible violence actually is. These are filmmakers who know how to skilfully pull off red herrings, false scares and big plot twists because, after all, a new franchise has to up the stakes. But then, the more honest reference here is to Shaun of the Dead, another funny-scary movie that kick-started a genre.


Scream 4 Rating

" Good "

Rating: 15, 2011


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