Sunday, October 8, 2023

Scream IV

Movie Name: 
Scream 4
Year of Release: 2011
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Alison Brie, Marley Shelton, Mary McDonnell, Nico Tortorella, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Gordon Michaels, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Britt Robertson, Shenae Grimes, Lucy Hale, Aimee Teegarden, Marielle Jaffe, John Lepard
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review
In what turned out to be his swan song before his sad passing, director Wes Craven went back to one of the series that also showcased his wonderful talent (the other being of course "The Nightmare on Elm Street" series). The narrative picks up after the events of the third chapter. 15 years have passed since the original murders in Woodsboro, and Sidney returns to the city to promote her self-help book with her publicist. During the same time period, two high school students are killed. Sidney's cousin who also lives in town, is dealing with boyfriend issues, and getting threatening phone calls also from Ghostface. Dewey Riley, now the sheriff of the town who is married to Gale Weathers, is investigating the case, as is Gale who has been on a funk. One of Jill's friends is killed, something she witnesses alongside her friend Kirby. Ghostface quickly comes to attack them, as well as Sidney who is in the same house. Upon the return of the police Ghostface manages to quickly escape, but the deaths don't stop. The high school kids theorize that the killings will continue and escalate further, some of them occurring during a party, which one of them is organizing. Gale learning of this decides to crash the party, only to find out Ghostface has anticipated some of her moves. That party soon gets cancelled, and as Jill and Kirby and a few others go back to their homes, Ghostface is trailing them and continuing the killing spree. It's up to Sidney to figure out the solution and stop that figure.
The "Scream" series always privileged the whole meta aspect of its narrative, by placing the characters in this lethal game of cat and mouse with a brutal killer, where the rules of horror films essentially dictate what is happening in the narrative itself. Kevin Williamson the screenwriter who wrote the original film and continued with those duties throughout the sequels, does the same once again with this film. This time around he brings the concept of the undetermined killer(s) to a younger generation, with Sidney's presence still looming as the original victim to all the events, the character who ties it all together. Wes Craven smartly continues to build a quasi claustrophobic environment in this small town, where everyone seemingly knows everyone, which makes the process of uncovering the killer that much more difficult (even if the high schoolers are following and unpacking the rules of the horror film itself). It's a smart, violent and funny film, one where its downfall ends up being the relative slimness of its characters, including the new group of teenagers who are barely defined beyond typical stereotypes. However Wes Craven smartly keeps the flow of the narrative going, always featuring set pieces that are always exciting, even if at first glance they seem rather predictable. The cast is uniformly good, with the underrated Neve Campbell leading the group with solid support from Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, and Alison Brie (who has a small but memorable role). It's a worthy addition to the series and another entertaining feature from the late Wes Craven.