Scream 4

2
0 5

Meta-Horror is Sooo Last Century

Reviewed by Rebecca Wilson
on Thu, Apr 21 2011

Scream 4 doesn't entirely suck, but it doesn't offer up any surprises either. Which is probably the worst thing that could possibly be said about a horror movie. (Or, in this case, "horror" movie.) Maybe you'll enjoy it, but only if you have really fond memories of Scream 3. Or 2. Or even the first one.

See / Skip
See it if: 
You number Screams 1, 2 & 3 among your favorites
You really like feeling that you 'get' all of the humor
Being in on the joke makes you feel like you're in the movie
You'll take gore and violence over sex every time
Skip it if: 
The whole movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie is really played out
Ghostface Killah has the mad flow; the Ghostface killer--not so much
Your sense of humor has matured even a touch since high school
You like at least a few actual surprises

This is a great movie for people who don't typically "get" clever movies, but wish that they did. The humor in Scream 4 is witty without being smart, so even folks whose skulls tend toward the thick will find it humorous. And it's a few steps up from slap-stick silly, so people who fancy themselves cerebral won't have their sensibilities offended. Probably. I mean, they bought a ticket for Scream 4, right?

It's just that this whole idea of "Guess what audience, we know that you know that you're watching a horror movie" is so 1999. What seemed so clever and meta then, seems kind of embarrassing now. In the same way that a certain well-known sitcom actress' plastic surgery is embarrassing. You want to like it, but you'd rather go watch Bruce Springsteen videos.

There are the usual fake-out startling noises and the usual gory serial killing. Stab, slice, impale, guts, yeah yeah, we get it.

The whole thing starts when Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) makes the ill-advised return to Woodsboro in order to promote a book she has written. Because what else would she do after going through all that as a teenager? Anyway, Ghostface takes advantage of her return to once again start murdering Woodsboro High students, mostly the friends of Sidney's young cousin Jill (Emma Roberts). Gale Weathers Riley (Courteney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) must learn the "new rules" of horror movies in order to come to, once again, come to the rescue.

No boobs, though. Sorry.

Here's the thing though. I've read that this Scream 4 could actually be the first in a new trilogy. Ugh, no! Unless Wes Craven has a real game changer marinating in his imagination, I think we've had all that we  need of the tongue-in-cheek, kinda-scary-but-not-really slasher sub-genre. No?

Fri, April 15
Click here to view site
R
103 mins.
English
$ 40M
$ 19M
$ 22M