It isn’t a surprise in today’s Hollywood to see studios re-boot or re-imagine franchises. Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees have all been re-introduced to mixed results.
Technically, Scream 4 is a continuation of the franchise, but to anyone who watched the horrid Scream 3, it was obvious that the franchise needed some time off and a fresh start.
“Scream 4” brings the franchise back to its roots in a sense while staying modern.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, there can’t be any of you so I’m not even going to go into the history of Scream.
The film takes place 10 years after the events of Scream 3 and the opening sequence sets the mood for the rest of the film, while at the same time slamming the conventional “horror” flick that is based on gruesome violence.
After the opening, we find out that Sidney Prescott (played once again by Neve Campbell) has become a best-selling author and shed the label of victim. She ends up back in Woodsboro on the last leg of her book tour. Of course, it is anything but a happy homecoming for Prescott.
Prescott isn’t the only one having a gut-wrenching feeling of déjà vu, Dewey Riley (David Arquette), the sheriff of Woodsboro and his wife Gale Weathers-Riley (Courtney Cox) are dragged back into the familiar territory of the serial killer. On this point, I have to say that despite Arquette’s and Cox’s real-life separation, they still have a great on-screen chemistry.
While the original trio represent the old-school, Scream 4 brings in many faces that today’s teenie-boppers will recognize and love. There is Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) who is related to Prescott, Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin) and others like Adam Brody, Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin. Those last three aren’t on screen often, but when they are, they steal the show.
While I wont’ obviously give away the killer/’s identity, I will say that I was way off from my prediction before the film came out. The identity of Ghost Face is the best part of the movie and it kept me guessing nearly until they revealed it.
Other than that though, the film failed. The franchise has always been about the concepts of the horror genre and the “geek-talk” gets far to technical at times. When I was leaving the theater I overheard a couple of older couples talking about how they were confused by the references. The movie never generated any true feeling of suspense, other than figuring out who the culprit is.
Overall, Scream 4 is the second best film in the franchise, but when you factor in how awful the second and third installments were, that isn’t saying much. Sometimes a franchise could use a good stab in the forehead and hopefully Scream 4 serves as the swan song for the franchise.