Scream 4 (2011) Review

Yet again, Wes Craven has blatantly molested gore, added slapstick comedy and mashed it up with domestic irony for the latest incarnation of his 90’s-borne blockbuster money-horse: Scream.

Audiences who loved the original will immediately appreciate the truest form of homage that made the first one notorious. Scream is the franchise that allowed other cinema of the genre to flourish within the storyline of the present and, rightly so, it’s the Horror that is laughing at itself from the beginning.

The beauty of a Wes Craven movie is that his world of cinema is completely aware of its place among mainstream pop culture. Scream is – and continues to maintain its place as – the most elegant urban legend. The envelope has been pushed and yet Old Hollywood still gets a bow.

No decent sequel leaves its native city and so the tale begins in Woodsboro. Beautiful young things are debating life and film while watching scary movies, home alone. Fifteen years after the heartless murders that rocked their small town, these girls are attached to their technology like a basketball player to his court shoes. And, as the coolest of the in-crowd with a short expected lifespan must, they have smart phones and ‘app’ appropriately.

Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) is now Sheriff of said town and a role model to citizens who have accepted tragedy and look to their Favorite Daughter as a beacon of hope. His wife, the former Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox), is a homemaker with writer’s block. On the anniversary of the fated night that made them each household names, Sidney (reprised by Neve Campbell) returns home to Woodsboro for the final leg of her book tour.

Cue the unwinding of the web. Once the dead bodies start popping up it is only a matter of time before super sleuth Gail Weathers emerges and begins with the bossy orders, the insults and the snooping that is her claim to fame. Sheriff Dewey is set to do anything necessary to rid his town of rebel trash and Sidney is poised to protect the only family she has left in the world.

In the new installment, current technology has given leverage to the inverse of power. Teenagers see the world in the palm of their hand via the Internet. Violent films of late have continued to seek infamy with serial killers that have a bloodlust for the instant gratification that can only be found online. Scream 4 takes these ingredients and mixes a sticky, sweet cocktail that gushes blood and guts for audiences who like to laugh through their terror.

True to form, there is a who’s who of the Hollywood young and hot that has lined up to take their slash of the blade. These damsels of certain death keep the guessing game exciting as anyone has the potential to be the next victim. Viewers understand that the fun lies in deciding who really deserves the death sentence received.

But, who is the mastermind behind the little town with the mounting death rate…this time around?

So many possibilities; townsfolk can only surmise. The new Deputy, Marley Shelton, has a thankless job as the town number two. Newcomers, Emma Roberts as Sidney’s cousin and best friend Hayden Panetierre certainly, pose a threat to the poor boys whose hearts they string along but, that is quintessential Scream. Students are always suspect. Those who love scary movies, double so. This time around, it’s the studious that possess motive enough for seeking the penultimate celebrity of filming reel-time murders. The possibilities abound.

Cut to the end. The proverbial bad guy is no disappointment. As villains go, this one is as cold and heartless as the most corrupt need to be. Wes Craven is never one to cheat the fans of the beautiful death required for the crumbiest scum of the Earth.

Scream 4 is a thrill ride. Audiences who loved the original are prepared for the language nuances and innuendo that lend credibility to old black & white movies. Viewers experiencing their first Scream adventure can still enjoy the timing of sequences and throwbacks to simpler cinematic sociopaths.

Consistent to every film of the franchise thus far is the introduction of a horror movie fact new to even the most seasoned of classic scary movie trivia.

It is the time of year when the first buds of spring are working to garner their share of sunlight. Take a spin on the morbid and delight in the senseless violence that is Scream 4.