Wes Craven’s Scream series is an important one in the annals of Horror History. The original Scream premiered in 1996, a time when the genre had worn itself out with endless (and mostly thoughtless) slasher flicks. It almost single-handedly revived the genre – which was a great thing – but as most horror fans know, it also had the dubious honor of giving rise to “Teen Slasher” flicks. You know the ones we’re talking about. Think: I Know Your Disturbing Behavior Cried Wolf in My Urban Legends Last Summer.
It’s been 11 years since Scream 3 landed with a bit of a thud and a lot has changed in movieland – let alone horror films. Audiences are hip these days – there’s not just caller-ID for Ghostface to deal with anymore but smart phones and Google and YouTube. Information is instant; we’re all part of the media, and everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. It’s a perfect setup for some reinvention, and Craven and crew have intelligently used these tools and our current media-saturated lifestyle to have some fun.
In honor of the release of Scream 4, GoresTruly decided that one review simply wasn’t good enough. Read below to find out some of Murder-Hers thought of Scream 4. And for the love of all things creepy and gory – go out and see the film for yourself. We can bitch all we want about sequels and remakes – but when we get one that’s good, it’s in our best interest to support it. Go! GO NOW!
Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to Scream 4. Not at all. Especially not after the third flick in the series. But I had the opportunity to see the newest installment and didn’t regret a minute of it. What I enjoyed most was the humor, which required a knowledge of horror – specifically slasher flicks – for full appreciation. A movie within a movie . . . within a movie. Meta. It wasn’t scary per-say but I did enjoy a few good startlings. (A good villain pop out and dramatic chord does it every time.) Did I look in my closet and double check all my locks and windows when I got home? No. Was it a completely innovative and original idea? No. It’s a freakin’ sequel and the creators KNOW that. It doesn’t give you something new to fear but plays on the tropes created in the slasher genre and specifically Scream world – which in turn – draws from the Stab series. But I had an enjoyable conversation about what the movie said about its own series and even our society – particularly the media. This movie is intended for a specific fan. No doubt.
The first Scream was intelligent, tongue-in-cheek and just the right amount of mystery. More than anything. A gore splattered who-done-it. Scream breathed new life into the horror film sub-genre of the 80’s. The slasher. While not scary, it was good, red tinged fun. The second had aspects of this and by the third I was tired of seeing Sidney “oh no” her way through another victimization. So with a “meh” mentality, I went to see Scream 4 . . . and it was the back-to-it’s-movie-loving-roots film that I wasn’t expecting! Sidney had grown up. She didn’t fall apart; she stood tall. Scream 4 was history repeating, in a good way. A homage to the original without a lack of freshness. There were tons of red herrings. I thought everyone was the killer at one point or another. Also the revitalization of a few beloved characters and the introduction of new yet memorable ones. But the most important thing for me in a Scream film is the desire to yell at the characters. NOOOOO Don’t go up there! It’s what makes it fun for me. And I had fun.
The Scream films are favorites of mine – heck, I even like Scream 3 (like… not love). There’s just something wonderful about these movies – how they are made by horror fans for horror fans. They welcome – maybe even required – repeat viewings to soak up all of the nuances in the script and all of the details in the sets. Needless to say, I was excited when Scream 4 was announced – especially knowing Wes Craven would be in charge and all of the principals would be back. More Sidney, Dewey, and Gale? YES PLEASE! But I admit some trepidation as well – while I like Scream 3 it is definitely the weakest of the bunch, especially the reveal of the killer. I wondered what the motivation would be this time, I wondered what Sidney would be like with so much time having passed, and most of all – I wondered if they’d be able to recapture the hilarity of the original Scream.
I needn’t have been concerned. Not only does Scream 4 hit the funny bone repeatedly, but it’s smart. Sidney is no longer the scared victim, instead she’s become a strong woman and a survivor. Dewey is now the Sheriff of Woodsboro and has his own deputies – one of whom has a huge crush on him (Marley Shelton once again proving how adept she is at comedy.) Gale is back to her old self and has several of the best lines in the movie. And if you were concerned that the new crop of school-kids would be the bland, boring crop of teen brats we’re used to seeing in horror anymore – you’d be mistaken. Except for one beauty who gets knocked off quickly, the rest of the kids are fleshed-out characters with their own stories. Hayden Panettiere in particular is almost a revelation – forget that cheerleader she played, I’m all about Kirby!!! Scream 4 may not be very scary, but it’s everything I hoped it would be and more.