Movie Reviews Scream 4
It's a brave studio that opens its screening-room doors to critics for a horror film. Stephen Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that the reason The Weinstein Co.'s Dimension Films has done so with Scream 4 -- a revival of the franchise after 10 years -- is the belief that it may appeal to the reviewers' intellectual leanings given its references to classic horror films of the past. " Scream 4 is like a perpetual film studies course, a reboot with a lesson plan," he writes. "For genre geeks, this can be fun -- although nothing in Scream 4 is quite as clever as the filmmakers seem to think it is." Include Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle among the genre geeks, or at at any rate among the geeks who admire the work of director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson. "As we try to outguess the killer, the movie sneaks up on us, playing off our expectations and sometimes playing into them," he remarks. "Craven and Williamson keep the audience off balance and engaged." Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times also is hooked. "The great pleasure in the Scream movies," he writes, "is that the characters have seen other horror films. At times they talk as if they're in the chat room of a horror site." Throughout the movie, he continues, it "lets us know that it knows exactly what it's up to -- and then goes right ahead and gets up to it." Likewise Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times comments that the Scream sequel "finds a way to live up to its gory past while it carves out new terrors in new ways." But Kyle Smith of the New York Post finds little that is fresh about the new Scream . "Really How many times can you make variations on the same joke? The meta stuff is flattering you, trying to make you think you're smart for noticing what is obvious. When the killer asks one character some slasher-flick trivia, then backs down when she gives every possible correct answer, does that make any sense, or is it just meant to make you feel at home?"