Scream 4 Review
Scream 4 opens perfectly. It’s an incredibly clever sequence that will pull you in instantly. The opening scene embodies the Scream franchise in a nutshell; it’s witty, it’s funny, it’s terrifying. Looking back, it just might be the best of all the opening sequences (although it’s hard to top the original). After that tense and effective scene, the movie slows down a bit, reintroducing us to Sidney, Dewey, and Gail, while establishing new characters as well. Then the body count really starts to rise.
Scream 4 works well because we get to spend time with familiar characters; I was so glad the original cast returned, and the strong actors pick up their roles perfectly. Neve Campbell is as good as ever, playing an older, fiercer Sidney Prescott. The supporting roles are equally strong, with Hayden Panettiere as the standout of the new cast members.
I thought the movie had a fantastic introduction, but it did slow down in the second act. While the elaborate kills continued, there were almost too many things going on. The reason for this makes sense - the more cast members, the more suspects. Essentially, we’re following two sets of actors - the original cast and the new cast. All these characters are effective because it’s nearly impossible to guess the killer or killers by the film’s third act. Still, for a big chunk of the movie, Dewey just seems to be driving around from one location to the next trying to keep up with everything that’s happened. I understand the reasoning but the film gets a bit disjointed here.
Regardless, Scream 4 has a killer final act, where the murderer(s) comes forward. The reveal (along with the justifications) are shocking. Parts of the killer(s)’ justifications feel a bit overwritten, but it’s effective, despite this small issue. The final act goes on for a fairly long time, and the less I say, the better. I refuse to give spoilers about any of the cast members’ fate.
I will say, however, that this is easily the most violent of the Scream movies. Some of the scenes are absolutely brutal, and that’s a testament to what Hostel and the whole torture-porn genre (which gets a reference here, of course) has done to horror movies.
The dialogue and self-referencing is back and strong as ever, with several nods to the original trilogy and other horror movies of the last decade. The idea of the horror “remake” gets the most attention... an appropriate move, as Scream 4 essentially is a horror reboot.
As I said at the start of this review, Scream 4 had a lot to live up to. Fortunately, the film is excellent and a worthy addition to the Scream franchise. The self-referencing, the witty dialogue, the brutal kills, the ensemble of suspects, and our favorite killer, Ghostface - they’re all back and better than ever.
I highly recommend this one - you’ll have a blast in theaters, so see it while the seats are full. Fans of the original will love it.