Scream 4: Review

Let me preface this by saying this film is NOT part of the Pop Junk’s 31 days of Halloween.  Weeks past I was talking about what was coming up on DVD and I decided rather than talk about movies I’ve never seen I should just pick one new release a week, view and discuss.  This being horror month on Pop Junk it seemed fitting since Scream 4 came out this week and I’ve yet to hear any spoilers for it I might as well check it out and review it.

First of all this review WILL have spoilers so if you haven’t seen it yet and your looking forward to the big reveal on who the killer is then read no further, but please I implore you to just read this review because this movie is not very good. So from here on in spoilers for Scream 4.

I have a very much love/hate relationship with Scream and it’s subsequent franchise.  I recognize it’s place in horror film history and for the review as one of Pop Junk’s 31 best horror movies I handed the key to the car to my fiance to hammer out a review because I knew her passion for the film would produce a better review than I could write and my instincts were correct.  Her review for Scream was excellent and actually lit a fire inside me to see if Wes Craven could successfully revive this franchise with a 4th installment.  Another aspect of these films that draws you in is that it’s a “whodunit” and you want to know who’s the killer this time?  All those driving forcing brought me to Scream 4.

After I view a film and form my opinion I usually mosey on over to rotten tomatoes to see what most critics though and much to my chagrin this movie is at 58% positive.   I must have missed something here because this movie is pretty lazy and has no balls what so ever. The first  Scream in it’s opening scene we the audience are treated to Drew Berrymore who you think is the main character getting brutally killed in a brilliant scene.  Right off the bat Scream had balls and kept you on your toes, but in Scream 4 the movie is so afraid to break the formula that they actually poke fun at in it’s very own dialog. So giving Scream it’s due the sequels descended as they went on, even with the killer reveals where in part 2 it was the mother of the original killer and a forgettable side character, the third movie was a brother that the audience had no knowledge of his relationship to the main character until the end.  Suffice to say so it really just got worse and worse and this movie is really no better….but I’ll get to that soon.

The film opens with a scene of two girls watching a scary movie at night when the phone rings and we go through the whole scary movie speech and then Ghostface shows up and kills them. But it is then revealed that it’s a movie within a movie (Stab 6) and it’s two other girls watching a movie, giving the audience a wink and a nod that this is usually how these movies open spitting in the face of predictability.  Then one of the two girls kills the other and it’s another movie within the movie (Stab 7) and then we are finally to the actual movie .  So then the movie goes ahead and executes the same exact fucking scene!  It’s mind boggling that the movie acknowledges cliches and then execute them.  So these two girls that were killed were from Woodsboro which is where the first movie took place and shows the arrival of Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) coming home to sell her book that she wrote about people trying to kill her over and over on the anniversary of the original Woodsboro massacre. (makes sense to come back on that day, nothing bad could happen)  We’re simultaneously  introduced to a new guard of characters mainly 3 girls Sydney’s cousin Jill (Emma Robberts) Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and some other girl (She dies quickly) and the reemergence of the old characters along side Sydney which are Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Dewey. (former WCW world champion David Arquette)From there we get just what you would expect with Ghostface offing characters as we move along and patiently wait to see who done it this time. There are other side characters as well “The Boyfriend” who’s a dick, stupid cops, film buff/nerds, a bitchy publicist played by Allison Brie and non of it works all that well.

Now a huge problem with this film is that it throws these self-aware characters at you but some how makes them completely brainless at the same time.  People are dying at an alarming rate but we’re still throwing parties and not mourning the death of friends who were killed right in front of you. We’re recognizing rules and tropes of the horror genre but still executing them at an alarming rate?  There’s a horror buff character that’s walking around the whole movie with a web cam so you think you’ll get paid off with his death being live on the internet.  Nope, just dies, for nothing.  It feels like nothing is really at stake besides lives of characters you really don’t get to know or like.  Another problem is you have a character walking around the whole movie with a web cam headset and it seems sort of insulting to the audience.  This film wants to be so modern but it doesn’t know what modern is. References to Twitter, Facebook and Web Cams doesn’t connect a generation to a film when it feels like the writer was informed that these things were “cool”  and should include them in the movie.

When the film concludes (or so I thought) we find that the girl we thought was the target of Ghostface was the actual killer herself.  Jill, Syndey’s cousin was the killer along with one of the film nerds who she dispatches after the big reveal.  Her motivation is the internet, and fame, and hating being part of the Prescott family, so she sets it up like the first one where the killer is going to kill everyone, blame it on someone else and be the sole survivor.  This chick kills everyone, kills her boyfriend, stabs Sydney and then stabs herself, trashes her self through coffee tables and into walls and lays down to be discovered by Police as the survior and hero like Sydney was.  See this I liked, I saw this and believed it to be a viable way to awaken a franchise where this girl kills the main character and lives as the actual killer.  Also the social commentary on the fact that failure is the new success. (Charlie Sheen, Rebecca Black, The Kardashians) The killer points this out while revealing her plan to Sydney who points out that you don’t have to do anything to be famous thus her just being the survivor of a string of murders will make her a hero.  After explaining this she “lightly” stabs Sydney in which her entire plans hinges on Sydney’s death and trashes herself around the house hardcore, wipes up finger prints, lies down, cops show up, the end.

Wait, I was wrong…it’s not over, they take everyone to the hospital, Sydney’s not dead, just hurt. (EFFFFF!) Jill finds out while lying in the intensive care unit that Sydney lives, finds Sydney and attempts to finish her off but all the other main characters from the first one show up, Sydney kills Jill: The End.  Oh fuck you!  The creator of such an unforgiving film like “Last House on the Left” didn’t have to balls to kill one character from the original movie.  They had it set up for a really well with an original ending but they said fuck it and just preserved the original characters and gave us the same ending to every horror movie they make fun of.

I wanted to like this Film, I like Wes Craven (early stuff to be honest) and I wished he really lite a fire under this franchise but he did not.  I’ll be honest; the reveal of the killer I did not guess. My guess was Gale Weathers because she was pointless to the plot of the film, but I was wrong and maybe gave the writers too much credit.  I was half right though because through the whole movie they refer to the killer as “he” multiple times as a way to subliminally augment the reveal and it a bit obvious it would be a girl.  The fact that it was Jill was a bit of a surprise but didn’t knock my socks off.  I thought because in the third movie it was Sydney’s brother that they wouldn’t go down that road again but I thought after the revel it could have worked but they dropped the ball. I thought maybe she’d prevail and spin the movie on it’s head but I was wrong, the film just dove back into the cliches it seemed to be self aware of. In a way it wouldn’t have mattered who the killer was because screen time was so spread out and total lack of character development.  The only character with any sort of an arc was the character played by Hayden Panettiere and she’s really the only character you care about. everyone else is so throw away, even the returning characters.

If the original Scream film just existed on it’s own I think it’s legacy would be much greater than it is and that’s too bad.  With every sequel this franchise just keeps stepping on it’s dick and making stupid mistakes.  I’m sure some people who don’t over analyze movies will enjoy this as just a fun horror movie, but I don’t have that privilege.  It’s also harder to swallow a movie that had potential to be good but instead you just watch everyone involve drop the ball.

D+ (coulda been good if the film took chances but it didn’t, Fuck this movie.)

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~ by ATOM on October 9, 2011.

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