Written by J.T. Johnson
It’s been 11 years since the last “Scream” film hit the big screen. In that time, horror films from the gore fest that is the “Saw” series and countless remakes have plagued the cinema. Now, it’s time for the original team behind “Scream” to make a comeback and comment on the new generation of horror.
This time, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is returning to Woodsboro for the last leg of her book tour about how she has survived since the last murders. In the meantime, Dewey Riley (David Arquette) has become Sheriff while his wife Gale (Courtney Cox) is still trying to cope with living in a small town. The current students from Woodsboro High are planning to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the original murders with a marathon of the countless “Stab” films that have been released.
Sidney is staying with her cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell) when a new series of killings begin. This time, the Ghostface killer plans on making a new movie using a new set of rules established over the past decade. He also seems intent on making Sidney watch as he tests her will to survive and begins killing those around her.
The great thing about this film is that it is similar to watching the first film. With “Scream 3”, original screenwriter Kevin Williamson had to bow out of his writing duties and writer Ehren Kruger stepped in. Williamson was sorely missed and it’s good to recognize his signature writing style.
“Scream 3” contained several self-references like any good film in the series. The problem is that it became so humorous that it became more of a self-parody. With this film, Williamson never forgets that this is also a horror film. This means that there are a few scares contained within without losing the signature humor and satire found in the first two movies.
Director Wes Craven is also back with a vengeance and has made the film gorier than the first three. This along with the cinematography makes the film a mirror of the bloodier horror projects that have been released over the past decade. Since Craven’s last few films have been duds, it was great to see him back at the top of his game.
Before the film was released, there was wild speculation about whether or not Sidney, Dewey and Gale were passing the torch to a new generation or whether they were going to survive this outing. Well, the film is definitely about the trio and less about the new kids. Of course, when the killings begin to surround Jill, Sidney knows what she is going through and tries to help the new gang survive.
Campbell is once again great as Sidney. Here, she plays the tragic heroine as a woman who has been through hell and back and has found new strength that might just help the others. The only problem with the story comes from Dewey and Gale’s plot.
Even though it was great to see them return, at times it felt as though Williamson really did not know what to do with them. Unfortunately, this means that they do not have much to do and the audience can only feel good to see them return. They also have some of the cheesier dialogue in the film that can crop up from time to time.
The new kids do a decent job as well, in particular Roberts as Jill, the woman who is destined to become the new Sidney if the killings continue. Her friends are also reminiscent of Sidney’s friends from the first film. This includes her best friend Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), boyfriend Trevor (Nico Tortorerlla), and Robbie Mercer (Erik Knudson), who acts as this film’s Randy Meeks from the first three films. In this way, the movie adds to its commentary on remakes and reboots
With a new generation of horror films that have been less than stellar, it was a great surprise to see a new “Scream” film that not only critiques the new generation but has some scares of its own. While “Scream 4” was definitely better than the third outing, it may also be just as strong as the first film.