Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts
What’s your favourite scary movie? Well, it certainly isn’t Scream 3. That’s how a film review of Scream 4 starts out: with a joke about sequels. Then it goes on to talk about how Scream isn’t so relevant these days after all the horror reboots and remakes we’ve had to endure, before adding that this satirical slasher series is doing exactly the same thing. And Scream 4 has a fair stab at it too. Wind up with a witty sentence, and that’s your first paragraph.
Some kind of synopsis usually occurs at this point. Ten years after the last Woodboro massacre, Sidney (Neve-r-say-never-again Campbell) returns to her home to be haunted by Ghostface all over again. A summary a bit like that. Only a lazy review fails to mention the other old faces that pop up (most likely making an ironic reference to Courteney Cox being old and David Arquette being divorced) while an obligatory few words go towards welcoming the new bunch of identikit teens ready for slicing and dicing.
Then you expect some sentences using words like ‘acting’ and ‘script’. So let’s skip that bit and talk about the fact that local cop Adam Brody doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. And then we return to the obvious review clichés anyway, rehashing the usual line about how Scream 4’s not as scary as it used to be. In short: it’s not as scary as it used to be.
A swift discussion of Wes Craven follows – if nothing else, he’s still the undisputed king of chasing people round empty houses – alongside some very kind words about the laugh-out-loud screenplay, which opens with a brilliant sequence straight out of the Kevin Williamson playbook and concludes with a wonderfully tense final act.
The fifth paragraph drags a bit.
The sixth mentions that the killings aren’t as inventive as they once were – which is quite convenient really, because they aren’t. The review might also mention the amount of gore present despite the film’s 15 certificate, or argue that mentioning Facebook and Twitter isn't cheesy but is to be expected in a modern-day context.
Of course, a brief comparison of the cast has to happen, singling out Hayden Panettiere as surprisingly good and adding that the others (e.g. Emma Roberts as Sidney’s niece, Jill) are pretty solid if unremarkable – a long-standing Scream watcher may note that it takes that guy from Scott Pilgrim plus Rory Culkin to even begin to replace Randy in the film nerd role. The review then adds that the franchise veterans are the real stars who get the best lines, even with Craven’s eye on starting up a brand new trilogy.
Finally, there's a comment on how ludicrous it all still is – here you can read adjectives like “fun” and “entertaining” to allow for the stupidity of the victims and policemen as well as to explain why the reviewer didn’t predict the almost-as-clever-as-you-think-it-thinks-it-is twist.
Put all those together and you’ve got yet another Scream 4 review. A film review about writing a film review? That’s exactly the kind of post-modern meta crap that Scream fans love. And Scre4m has it by the bucket load.
A terrible Scre4m pun goes at the end. Not a howler? Gre4t.
What did you think?
- courteney cox
- david arquette
- emma roberts
- hayden panettiere
- kevin williamson
- neve campbell
- post-modern meta crap
- scream 4
- wes craven