‘Scream 4’ DVD Review

Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Penettiere, Allison Brie

Plot: A decade after the Ghostface killings, Sidney Prescott has moved on with her life. When another murderer starts recreating the original killings, she is once again thrown in the midst of the action.

You gotta wonder if there’s a point to this. The ‘Scream’ franchise was all about the horror movie trends that were stagnating during the late 80s and 90s. The original film was a full stop to that current trend (although I guess the sequels would make it an ellipsis to drag it out a little while longer).

This fourth entry, turning up a good decade later, seems to have seen the opportunity to comment on new genre trends. Instead of simply riffing on slasher film they turn the lens onto meta-horror films, the post-modernist trend ‘Scream’ started, viral videos and celebrity culture. Don’t expect any in-depth examination though – Williamson and Craven seem content with holding these trends up for the audience to look at them.

References to the previous films, other horror films and pop-culture are all well and good, but often seem forced. The opening sequence almost derails the whole experience by pushing the film-within-a-film angle further then needed. The consistent hints that MAYBE on of the remaining three characters will die was also a poor decision, as then it feels predictable if they do and anti-climatic if they don’t.

Putting such quibbles aside, ‘Scream 4’ manages to deliver an entertaining and at times exciting horror movie. Wes Craven has been in the game for a long time and the experience shows. The characters are well balanced between being interesting enough to watch and annoying enough to be fodder for the killer and the murder scenes are among the best in the franchise. The story gets a bit barmy towards the end, but they keep uncertainty about who the killer is alive until the end.

A decent addition to one of the genre’s flagship franchises.