REVIEW: Scream 4

As we have seen quite frequently over the current generation, there have been numerous long-awaited follow-ups (especially a fourth film) to a series that have been released at least over a decade since its most recent predecessor (Toy Story 3, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, TRON Legacy and Rambo are other examples). After how Scream 3 turned out, there wasn’t anything crucial that happened that could make this series continue even further, so quite frankly, a fourth Scream film wasn’t needed.

Having not been expecting very much from this to start off with due to the fact that as the films in the series carried on and nothing was changing, naturally this fourth installment just wasn’t scary nor uncomfortably difficult to watch. It’s the fact that they don’t change at all in the intense moments, they just become very predictable and therefore quite boring especially when at the beginning, the killings by ghost face were taken seriously, but now they’re taken as a joke throughout most of the time by prank calls and the Stab films in the three sequels. Scream 4 is more or less an attempt at not intentionally rebooting the series, but seeking to make something that feels new in this following generation. So, this attempt backfired on itself and just didn’t work.

After 11 years, Neve Campbell returns and reprises her role for the fourth time as Sidney Prescott, but once again feels the psychotic presence of ghost face. After already meeting father, having a brief description and idea of her mother before she died and meeting her later-revealed half brother, there was more family in the picture. This time it was her aunt Kate and her cousin Gill who have been putting themselves in harms way due to Sidney’s return. Unfortunately, Sidney wasn’t the brave, heroic and rather traumatized young woman that we saw in the three previous films because all the stories were told and this one felt like a lazy add-in so to speak. Her entire character is cursed around others so what would be extraordinary if there’ll be a fifth installment, that Sidney actually be killed off once and for all.

Only recently separated couple Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprise their roles for the fourth time as Gale Weathers and Dewey. Their performances were again convincing enough, but I think there was something missing especially for Gale. She is very different in Scream 4to when she left off Scream 3, so there was an in-between story of her situation and how her life has progressively changed. They are both there together unravelling the next mystery, and like Sidney: wouldn’t you have thought that after revealing all the investigations and putting themselves in harm’s way, they would have been killed by now once and for all? A Scream film would be interesting if another future film ends like this. We also saw a brief appearance from Anna Paquin and Juliette Lewis.

Having been the director of the first three films in the franchise, Wes Craven returns as director of the fourth installment. I have noticed that due to the fact that it has been the same director for all four, no wonder nothing has altered and improvised! If they had a different character for this one and maybe even Scream 2 and Scream 3 too because then it could have really improvised, or could have simply flopped. Scream 4 really lacked the feelings of terror, emotion or even realistic violence, hence why this is perhaps the weakest and most clichÈd of the Scream franchise. Like Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson returns to the series as the screenwriter, but admittedly the script was rather lame in the phone call scenes from ghost face, the plot twist that leads to the revealed identity of the killer and the motive explanation was flat and badly written. Williamson isn’t a bad screenwriter at all, but Scream 4 was his Anchille’s tendon, and he needs to rise back on his feet.

Overall, Scream 4 is exactly like the third film: deeply flawed but still fun film to watch. Having said that there are a number of weaknesses that Scream 4 had and already predicting it to be both good and bad, I went into this with an open mind and just tried to enjoy it. So, it was enjoyable enough, but they should just leave the series alone now and move on because it’s made its mark and served its purpose. Plus, there aren’t any more solid ideas for the series to continue, not to mention the edge-of-seat suspense and unpredictability has been killed off now. It needs to be put on the shelf now.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 16/05/2012.

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