A Reboot To Die For?
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Alison Brie, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen
RANT: Trying desperately to catch up on the fields that are out or have been released last week, I have come up with a daring plan. I will see two movies in a row. Not only that, I am going to see one movie in one theater, then drive 20 miles to watch the other. Sounds crazy, but before you start shaking your head at my seeming incompetence, I can tell you that I am going to see the second movie with a friend who have to drive 20 miles as well. Tally-ho!
SYNOPSIS: Sydney Prescott returns to Woodsboro after a ten year absence, for a tour to promote her book about surviving and overcoming her past. Upon her arrival, Ghostface returns to torment her and kill those around her.
Wes Craven returns to the franchise he created, bringing back to Woodsboro the characters Sydney Prescott, Gale Weathers and now sheriff, Dewey Riley. Also in the cast are the next generation of Woodsboro residents, including Sydney's cousin, Rebecca and her group of friends. Rebooting the reconstruction of the deconstruction of the horror/slasher film genre that the Scream franchise was built on, director Craven and writer Williamson take the original Scream plot concept, kill it, then bring it back to life.
The new generation of Woodsboro horror cinephiles are savvy of the ways of the genre. No longer are they content with the played-out, tired devices that have come in previous films. Craven pays homage to horror classics and pokes fun at the Scream movies via the movie-within-a-movie Stab movies based on the Gale Weathers book, "The Woodboro Murders", where the 2.0 teens read deep into the mythos that is any horror film franchise - much deeper than I ever delved into any blood-soaked film's lunacy.
In the opening sequences two girl discuss the merits of the Saw series, spouting that Saw IV was nothing more than torture porn with no character development. Since I actually loved the entire Saw line, I found myself smiling at the thought of counterpointing against the girls position onscreen. Which just goes to show that any horror film fan will take a stand for or against any genre flick as passionate as any politician's platform topics.
Most of the critics have been taking about how the series has held up, how the fourth entry will compare to the earlier trilogy, and how Courteney and David's relationship has weathered throughout the entire run. I took a look at Scream 4 as a standalone film. Ten years have past, and a new generation of movie goers will be introduced to the series (or reboot, if you prefer). They will, of course, run out to Blockbuster or to Netflix to see the originals afterward, but it Scream 4 cannot stand on its own, the thoughts of a fifth and sixth entry could be shelved.
In my opinion, Scream 4 is worthwhile. The killings are brutal and clever. Seeing Neve Campbell's Sydney as a grown up survivor of past tragic events faintly echoes to Ripley in Aliens, not wanting to face the truth of the situation, but finding the strength to endure. The Dewey (Arquette) and Gale (Cox) sub plot is entertaining but ultimately unnecessary. The new breed of horror stab bait, including Culkin, Panettiere, Knudsen and Roberts, show just how smart and stoic modern audiences have become concerning the Rules of the Game. When Sydney's publicist is cornered in her car in the hospital parking garage, she does show enough sense to look around and under her car, plus look in the back seat when she does get in and lock the doors.
Rolled up against the first three Scream films, Scream 4 may or may not satisfy the die hard fans. But I did enjoy how Craven and Williamson turned the horror conventions on their ear again, pleasantly surprised at the film's outcome. And for many movie-goers, that's all that is really needed.
WORTH: Matinee or DVD