Over the years, I've gotten a lot of crap for my love of the Scream movies. I was 15-years-old when the first one came out 15 years ago. At the time, it rocked my socks but like many movies have a tendency to do, it very well could have been just that I was 15 and not that it was a good movie. I mean, for God's sake, I loved Face/Off at that age too.
But Scream has stood the test of time and is still considered one of the most important horror films ever made...and not just by me. One reason is that it pumped new life (no pun intended) into the "slasher" genre of horror, which was destroyed in the '80s by over-saturation and watered down sequels. But it also was worthy of creative respect on its own merit. The fact that despite Drew Barrymore, who was a huge star, was the focus of the trailer and was on the poster, was still killed off in the first ten minutes was astonishing and set up for a film where a "anything could happen" tone existed.
Sure the second and third Scream movies weren't as good, but that doesn't mean that they still weren't thoughtful, fun and interesting with what advancement in the on-going story they brought to the table. So you understand why it pains me to say this as a legit fan of the Scream movies; but Scream 4 sucked. Absolutely nothing new, original or fun exists in this film that tries desperately to come up with a logical reason to continue the story.
Sure it's fun to watch stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprise their roles. Of course it's chilling and exciting to hear voice actor Roger Jackson ask people what their favorite scary movie is again. But that quickly wears off and what you're left with is a pointless sequel filled with new and annoying young actors that are so losely tied to the original characters it makes you laugh that director Wes Craven (Nightmare on Elm Street series, The Hills Have Eyes) would even make this film.
The new cast consists of Emma Roberts (It's Kind of a Funny Story, Hotel for Dogs) is Sydney Prescott's cousin, who we've never heard of or seen till now, and Hayden Panettiere (NBCs Heroes, Remember the Titans) is her spunky best friend. Of course they're joined by fellow high school classmates that get slaughtered one-by-one but this crop aren't charismatic, funny and sympathetic like the old crew. I hope it's not that I'm getting older but this group comes across just plain annoying.
Of course the film leads to a climactic Whodunit? but when the reveal comes it keeps the par of the rest of the movie and disappoints and confuses. There's a part of the film where they mock the Saw films for not building characters for people to care about and Hollywood for just cranking out unoriginal horror remakes (many of which Craven has been involved with), but Scream 4 is just as guilty of both. I for one am really happy that I have the original trilogy on DVD, because although I know exactly how they all end, it's a lot more exciting than trying to figure out how the new one did.
Scream 4 (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: D+