When the original Scream was released back in 1996 I was at the impressionable age of 8 (or 8 and 3 quarters if we are going based on how I would have said it then); definitely not the correct time to be showing a young girl horror films. Let’s just say that I was scared out of my mind, even considering that I watched it during the day. Yet somewhere within the terror the spark was lit within, starting my love of the genre. So when I heard that a fourth film was being released in the series almost 15 years following the original I was a little nervous about whether or not it would live up to how great I remembered the original trilogy considering the special place in my heart they reside in (ok, and ridiculously excited considering the pitch of the girly scream I emitted). Luckily enough for me Scream 4 doesn’t disappoint.
Seeing as the last film of the series was released back in 2000 (and considering most of the characters are brutally murdered in each film) Scream 4 is bursting at the seams (or I guess gut would be more appropriate) with actresses ready to test if their endorsement of Neutrogena products will come in handy while attempting to wash blood splatter off of their faces. Though the characters are new, for the most part, the setting is still the same. And guess what; Sidney Prescott’s book tour includes a homecoming. Idiotic decision for her, awesome mistake for us. After all, what better than a new serial killer based on the murderers that have tormented her three times before as Ghostface to celebrate the occasion? Everyone knows parades are for losers anyway…
Because the Scream films turned me on to the slasher/horror genre it is safe to say that they are to blame for a lot of my paranoia in life. Years ago when the power went off in my house late one night and I was home alone my mind immediately went to images of me being brutally murdered as I attempted to hide under my covers seeing as the one flashlight I finally found died seconds later in my hands, and I am not at all ashamed to say that when I went downstairs for a late night chocolate chip cookie tonight, after turning off all of the lights behind me I was quickly stricken with this feeling of dread, propelling me at a ridiculous speed up the stairs. Sure the films aren’t actually that scary now that I am out of my tween years, but that does not mean that I have given up on my natural inclination to play the “if this was a horror film” game in my mind.
Which is of course where the biggest problems stem from in these films. The commentary written into the script poking fun at the genre is hilarious to a point, but it becomes annoying when they seem so self-aware of the film they are in yet continue to make the same mistakes time and time again. We know you’ve seen the films! We don’t need any of this “oh my God, how are we supposed to deal with these reanimated corpses!?” nonsense. I don’t care if it sounds ridiculous, you should know they’re zombies! Ok, wrong subgenre, but the idea applies. Anyway, with the self-professed horror film buffs of the film, there is no excuse for the classic idiotic mistakes that lead to character deaths. If you are comfortable tempting fate by running off on your own when a killer is out on the loose then you are either the killer or you are an idiot and are just asking to have people yell “you deserve to die you stupid face!” as your murder plays out on the big screen. However, the audience wants what the audience wants, and they want to feel like they should be wearing gear appropriate for the splash zone at SeaWorld. And let’s face it, if they still live in Woodsboro after all that has happened there then how intelligent can we really expect them to be?
In addition to the blood and guts, the film still does a great job in the “who done it?” department. Going in I had a guess lined up, just ready to break out my “I told you so” dance when the credits rolled, but as the story progressed I began to question everyone, wading through the red herrings and doing the math in my mind. Even with my deductive skills in full swing when the reveal came about I can honestly say that I didn’t really see it coming. And though I still haven’t decided on how the motive sits with me, I can be satisfied that the mystery of Ghostface was able to reach it’s fullest potential for me.
Considering I went into this as I did when I saw Toy Story 3, praying that the creators of Scream 4 wouldn’t spit on my cherished childhood memories by ruining the series that I have come to love, I can say that Scream 4 was everything I could have hoped for as a fan. The blood flows, the screams curdle blood, and I gleefully giggled like an excited tween girl in my seat once more.
Final Grade: B+