{2jtab: Movie Review}

Scream 4 - Movie Review


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1 Star

Entering into the ever-changing world of twitter and facebook status updates must be a hard task to accomplish for a 90s-based movie franchise. Scream made its mark back in 1996 with some clever lines concerning horror films and what not to do when faced with a psycho-stalker, horror movie obsessed, crazed killer. The killer, of course, changed identity with each passing movie, yet Ghostface – regardless of who was wearing the mask - outstayed his welcome with the cinematic mess that was Scream 3. Ten years passed quickly and audiences changed in what they expect from a horror film.  Or did they?  (Me?  I just want a decent script.)  With an emphasis on how to make this 15-year-old franchise fresh and hip again, Scream 4 ups the ante on the gore and the pop culture references (including a massive riff on horor film remakes), yet those distractions can’t mask the rotting stench from the pile of dead bodies lying on the floor of this largely disappointing reboot or, if the makers are to be believed, a satire of a satire and definitely not a reboot of the original.  Whatever, folks, it's H2O all over again.

Because I’m not to give anything away concerning the disappointing 11-years-in-the-making plot, know that series regulars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette are back in the same roles and stuck in the same town of the original (albeit, their presence is relatively brief compared to the love shown to the younger cast).  Campbell is on a self-help book tour, promoting her new "take charge and don’t become a victim" mentality (yet, there’s no proof of this mentality in her actions and is more than willing to play the victim throughout the movie) and Cox (now unbelievably retired) and Arquette (now the town’s Sherriff…HOW?) stop by to pay her a visit…and so does Ghostface as he test-drives his killing lust and knocks off nameless folks one-by-one in an effort to get closer to the holy trinity. Their inclusion in the story is supposed to be comedic, but it just comes across as flaccid attempt at continuity and incidental to the plot at best.

Yet, this time Campbell is not alone in her battle against Ghostface.  Joining in on the teenage carnival of flesh is her selfish cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), her holier-than-thou BFF Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), and two annoying nerds, Charlie (Rory Culkin) and Robbie (Erik Knudsen), who’ve decided to stream their high school lives online for all to witness.  They are the real stars of the movie and as unlikable as every other cast in a modern day teenage horror film.

Cue the music and let the killing begin.


Unlike the original, there is no fun (outside of the opening ten minutes which is more effective in proving the film’s original point than the film is in itself) to be found in Scream 4 - only general slapstick and random Scooby-Doo goofiness with the occasional clever line (usually delivered by Panettiere) as we tromp through familiar territory.  We’ve seen this movie before and your spidey sense tells you it was much better the first time around.  It was.  Craven actually made you jump – a little – in the first one and delivered a memorable product.  Here, he has no presence behind the camera, at least not one that can be found.  Nothing in Scream 4 is worthy of suspense; it’s all too familiar.  Even the kills are repetitive (marking those of the first almost in order).  They might be gorier, yet – when a blonde runs from a locked door and trucks on upstairs as she is being pursued by Ghostface – the film fails its own history and simply cannot comment upon this reboot’s inability to incite genuine fright.

There’s no real life in this script credited to Scream’s original scribe.  Kevin Williamson’s script is mere Horror film theatrics.  It’s a script that finds its inspiration in annoying itself (and us) by acknowledging the rules of inferior sequels and the recent craze in rebooting original ideas for new audiences.  By doing so, the script can’t provide – other than being a last ditch money grab – a reason for its own existence.    Scream 4 acknowledges that, as a reboot, it has to be formulaic because it’s covering the territory of the original and then tells us that you should never screw around with the original, proving that the essence of Scream 4 has no honest purpose to, in fact, exist.  Audience claps.  People exit the theatre.

Oh, it’s a bore.  And, at a whopping two hours, you will find yourself wondering what happened to conciseness.  It truly is a marvel that it takes so long to tell the story you already know it’s going to tell.  This is the best Williamson and Craven can come up?  An unfunny and definitely not scary retread of the original Scream overstuffed with deliberate wink-wink-nudge-nudge cinematic references on what not to do in a reboot?  And then, one by one, do exactly that in the reboot?  Red Herring anyone?  Really?  This is the grand idea that, after eleven years of silence, resurrected Ghostface?

Poor Woodsboro. Poor us if this thing actually makes money. Dimension is already threatening to make good on Scream 5 and Scream 6.

Picture this:

Phone rings.

A teenage girl answers.  She is wearing nothing but a yellow bra.

“When is a Scream not a Scream,” the creepy voice on the other end asks.

“Who is this,” the girl asks.

“When is a Scream not a Scream,” the creepy voice yells.

“I don’t know,” she says whimpering.

“When it’s a yawn,” the creepy voice says.

And a yawn is exactly what you get with Scream 4.  “New decade, new rules” or so the tagline reads.  If that’s true then why, oh, why does this film feel so saggy, so wrinkled and so very old.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Scream 4 - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking.
Director: Wes Craven
: Kevin Williamson
Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Lucy Hale, Dane Farwell and David Arquette
: Horror
Memorable Movie Quote:
"There's something really scary about a guy with a knife who just... snaps. "
New decade. New rules.
Distributor: Dimension Films
Official Site:
Release Date: April 15, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Plot Synopsis: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courteney Cox), who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately Sidney's appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Details}

Scream 4 - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 4, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 0GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (as download); DVD copy



  • Director Wes Craven and Stars Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts are featured

Special Features:

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (480p, 26:02)
  • Gag Reel (480p, 9:18)
  • The Making of Scream 4 (480p, 10:29)
  • Scream 4 Video Game Promotion (1080p)
  • Digital Copy

{2jtab: Trailer}