It was with much excitement that I went to watch Scream 4 on release date last Friday. I was nervous but excited as to what I should expect. After all, it has been ten years since Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson first teamed up to bring us Scream; arguably one of the most ground-breaking original slasher movies of its time. Not only was the original ‘Scream’ modern, it was edgy, dark and clever. It always played up to its audience, knowing what made it work and why. The horror movie ‘rules’ were invented and are still one of the key cult points of not only this movie but others soon to follow. Making the audience feel as if they were part of an ‘in joke’ with all of the horror movie references (Billy Loomis – homage to Dr Loomis from Halloween being just one of my faves) was a clever move on Williamson’s behalf and spliced with Cravens taste for gore, horror timing and fast paced twists and turns it’s no wonder that it was hugely popular.
Scream 4 picks up seamlessly. It begins with (slight **SPOILER** ahead here for those who don’t want to ruin any tiny aspect of the movie, you have been warned!!!!) the setup being in CLASSIC Wes Craven style, a movie within a movie….within a movie… I know right! Craven already proved he could do this successfully in ‘New Nightmare’ one of my all time favourite movies by the way, so needless to say it works really well to create the initial atmosphere that we have all become accustomed to in the Scream films.
The introduction of some new characters has worked well to freshen up the genre and although some of them do seem to be a bit too close to being based on original characters from older Scream films, stick with it as it does all become clear in the end.
It is GREAT to see the original cast back once more. Slightly weird seeing David Arquette and Courtney Cox back playing the cute couple Gayle Weathers and Dewey Riley given their recent break up in real life but somewhat comforting for fans of the movie.
Neve Campbell is back once more, and doesn’t appear to have aged a day (everyone else has aged but her!) as she reprises her role as Sidney Presscott. This time she’s back in Woodsboro promoting her new book, a tale of her survival through the brutal and now legendary Woodsboro massacres.
The movie is fast paced, fun, filled with horror clichés, trends and the odd little homage to slasher flicks in general as well as to itself. I have read some previous criticism of the film being too long from fellow reviewers and to be fair, I can see how it could drag a bit in the middle if you aren’t a fan of the previous Scream trilogy. Me personally, I was hanging on every word, hooked to Kevin Williamson’s writing – that man just KNOWS how to deliver epic lines and has beyond proved himself of this in not only the Scream movies but in The Vampire Diaries and Dawson’s Creek which although are at first glance unbearably cheesy, if you pick apart the dialogue, the lines, the key points within this guys writing and see how he has that epic capability to stay on trend and keep you mesmerised by certain storylines, key scenes and character development you begin to have a certain respect for his skills…. Or, there’s always the chance that maybe I’m just a geek!
Ehren Kruger reportedly had to take over with re-edits when Williamson left to return to the Vampire Diaries (and we all know about THAT big argument with Kevin and big boss man Bob Weinstein, which is apparently now all resolved) so we can’t give him full credit as writer but I like to think that he played a major part in the ‘feel’ of Scream 4 and how it turned out.
The whole movie just screams (geddit!) Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson from start to finish and although I must agree with some reviewers and say that it wasn’t as good as the original, what it has done (in my somewhat biased opinion) is breathe new life into the Scream franchise as a whole, bring in new characters, new talent and some great new possibilities for future movies. Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere are particularly good in their new roles!
If you believe the word on the grapevine then it is rumoured there are at least 2 more Scream movies planned to be made. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I’m just not sure, but what I do know is that Scream is a movie franchise that is not afraid to shock its audience and it doesn’t take itself too seriously like some other movies out there. It knows who it appeals to and why and runs with it. The result: Great fun for scream fans, but it’s not going to win any new fans for itself with this latest offering.
I really want to say more, about the ending and the key lines, quotes etc. but I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who have yet to see it, so come back in a few months for an updated article with spoilers galore and an in depth look at all the scenes!
Enjoy the film!