Scream 4 picks up 10 years after Scream 3 ends. Sidney returns to her hometown for the final stop on her new book tour and – surprise, surprise! – Ghostface shows up to terrorize her, Gale, Dewy and a host of other new, hip teens. There is blood, there is death, and there is many a lost cell phone.
Don’t look at me like that. It was a new iPhone. You’d be pissed too if you misplaced it.
Now here’s a movie that had a lot of fan expectation attached to it. In order to work after a 10-year hiatus, it was going to have to re-invent itself while simultaneously clinging to the ideals that made its predecessors so beloved in the first place. And I think along those lines, it succeeded. This movie still contains the same level of banter and wit, but it’s also much gorier that the other films as well.
And this was just a deleted scene? Damn.
After a very clever opening (bravo, guys) all the new characters are introduced along with the old ones and the ‘whodunit’ part of the storyline kicks in. Is it the publicist? The creepy-ass ex-boyfriend? The not quite with it aunt? As before it could be anyone except for the poor cop schlubs that end up guarding the house because those guys are just cannon fodder (and they know it.)
And that knowledge makes some of them very trigger happy.
Along with the new characters we get to see some of the development that’s happened with the old ones. Some are good, some not so much. For instance, Sidney now not only knows to arm herself, but when the need arises will actually run into danger to try to save someone.
I’m not sure if that’s really a good development or not, honestly.
Dewy on the other hand, still can’t aim a damn gun for shit.
Good god, man, ten years and you still shoot wide? Are there not practice ranges for that?
And speaking of weapons, this does bring up a question: After all this time, why doesn’t Sidney, or even Gale, carry a gun? I know that if any of that previous crap had happened to me I would have dropped some cash on a nice pistol by now. Considering the killer likes to screw with people before killing them, I have faith that I’d at least get in one good shot in before he got to me. At the very least it might save me from having to make a stupid face when I die.
Ah, a nice visual aid of why I don’t like parking garages.
Of course, while the returning characters are all well and good, the other half of the film focuses on the new, young faces. Many fall into the ranks of series regulars: the movie buffs, the annoying ex, the snarky best friend, the pretty girl that probably won’t last long… If you’ve seen one Scream you’ve seen them before.
Surprisingly, the standout was probably Hayden Panettiere, who delivered a hell of a performance towards the end of the movie. I’ll admit I have a soft spot for the snarky, friend role, but in that one scene she lost snarky real quick and became totally committed to the reality of the situation she was it.
I also really liked her haircut, but its performance in that scene was sub-par at best.
And the ending actually wound up being a genuine surprise. Maybe not so much for whom it ended up being, but more for the motives and the scenes following it.
There were a couple of things the film introduced and then failed to properly follow through on though. For instance, it is continually mentioned that Ghostface is following the pattern of a re-boot, by taking the events of the first film and making it his own. But they don’t really do a very good job of really expressing that. Some kills are reminiscent of ones from the earlier movies, like the garage door squishing someone, but others… Uh, not so much? They seem completely new and unrelated. I might be able to draw similarities if I watched it and the first one a couple more times back-to-back, but I didn’t see it on the initial viewing.
You know where I saw all this pertinent information at? In the freaking deleted scenes. This movie is an example of how those little extras can really come in handy, because without a lot of those you end up losing quite a bit of what the story was originally going for. Only a couple of the cuts scenes were unimportant. The others either made the plot more cohesive, added more to characters and their relationships, or added weight to the setting. I don’t know why they were cut, probably for some lame ass excuse like “time”, as the film clocks in at around 111 minutes, but most of them seemed incredibly relevant to me and I’m glad I watched them as they filled in a lot of question marks.
I’m not saying that Scream 4 is a bad film without those cuts. It isn’t. It’s a great slasher and I probably haven’t enjoyed the series so much since I first saw the original film. All I’m saying is that after watching them that the movie could greatly benefit from a Directors Cut.
Other than that though, it exceeded my expectations.
Scream 4 is available on a variety of streaming services.
It is also available on DVD and Bluray.