Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Wes Craven
Stars: David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, Rory Culkin, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Emma Roberts.
With the original Scream, and its two sequels, writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven deconstructed the cliches of the horror genre, and subverted the usual cliches. In the ten years since though the horror genre has changed, with a slew of torture porn films like the Saw series, the Final Destination series, and a lot of lazy and uninspired remakes of classics. Scream 4 acknowledges these trends, and again tries to deconstruct the current cycle of horror movies, and drag the series into the new millennium. The mixture of black humour and gory murders is for the most part familiar, but it’s done with such zest and energy, and a sense of irony and self reverential humour that seems to be missing from most of today’s horror movies. It’s ten years since the Woodsboro murders.
Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has written a best selling book based on her experiences and the series of murders that rocked the community, and is on a tour to promote it. Her arrival in Woodboro coincides with a new series of murders. Ghostface seems intent on killing those closest to Sidney, and that includes her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts). Dewey (David Arquette) is now the sheriff in charge of the investigation. He is married to Gale (Courtney Cox), the journalist and writer who wants to take an active part in the investigation, particularly given her history.
There are also a couple of film clued up film students (played by Rory Culkin and ), who discuss the new rules of horror films. It seems that, nowadays, even virgins are allowed to die. This time the film intrsduces a whole new host of characters, many of whom will becomes fodder for the ghostface killer, including Hayden Panettierre (from Heroes, etc), Marley Shelton, etc.
There are a whole lot of suspects served up, but like an Agatha Christie mystery, they are sliced and diced up one by one. The film begins with the familiar movie within a movie prologue, but with a smart twist. Scream 4 is done with a sly nod and a wink to the audience, and film savvy audiences should lap it up.