Scream 4

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After revisiting the original Scream trilogy in early September I thought that, in the spirit of Halloween, I should finally watch Wes Craven’s final feature Scream 4 (2011). Scream 4 doesn’t get a lot of love from fans, but I thought that it was a better sequel than the second and third installments. Though none of the sequels capture the wit, the hipness or the nineties quite as effectively as the first, each subsequent film has its own standout sequences. I really like the commentary on race and the horror genre that opens the second film, just as I really appreciate all of the on-set scenes in the third film. But neither of these has the cohesion of story nor atmosphere that the (as of now) final installment possess. 

Scream 4 is as much a remake of Scream (1996) as it is a sequel. Craven directs Scream 4 in discourse with the previous three films on every level. And, since it is a Scream film, the characters themselves are self-aware enough to consciously enter that discourse as well. Of course some of the plot twists and inventions born from this discourse may be a little arbitrary or predictable, but that has always been the point of the franchise. Each Scream film is obvious in every way until the third act when the “rules” are jettisoned out the window.

With each installment a number of new cast members are introduced and Scream 4 is no exception in selecting some of the best talent available. However the core of each film is the same; Neve Campbell. Neve Campbell is the quintessential “scream queen” for my generation so I personally was a little disappointed that Scream 4 didn’t even begin to touch upon the subject of aging (Neve Campbell and Wes Craven began this franchise in 1996). The film lightly touched upon the feminist motifs of the last two films (dealing primarily with notions of female survival in a hostile masculine world) but failed to offer anything new of substance on that score either.

The Scream films are, collectively, Wes Craven’s masterpiece. First and foremost, as with any horror film, they are meant to be enjoyed as escapist fare. So let’s spin Let Love In on the turntable, then get out our NECA Ghostface figure, make some popcorn and settle in for one of the classic horror movie marathons.