Scream 4    B

Movie review: Acacia

Scream 4 starts off as all of the previous films have, with a phone call to a ridiculously young, ridiculously attractive girl.

But this is a new decade and Scream 4 is for a new generation. The film’s initial act serves up what made the original Scream great: great self-referential digs at horror movie remakes that any pop culture lover can recognize as something they might say. Then we’re made aware that we’re back in Woodsboro, the setting of the original movie. The two sequels, as much as I enjoyed them, felt to epic once they left the small town setting. There’s something really scary about a killer on the loose, who you can’t easily hide from on a huge college campus or in a big city.

Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is back in her hometown to plug her self-help book. There she reconnects with her remaining family; cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) is now a Woodsboro resident married to Dewey Riley (David Arquette), now the town sheriff. Unfortunately, with Sydney’s return comes Ghostface’s reemergence and people quickly begin dropping like flies.

This is where the film stalls a bit for me. The sequences are filmed to guarantee the maximum scares and the dialogue is filled with snarky one-liners, but there is just no oomph behind any of it. For instance there’s a scene between Deputy Perkins (Anthony Anderson) and Deputy Hoss (Adam Brody) about the tragic fate of cops in horror movies. The scene should’ve been one of the most memorable in the movie, especially, with the hilarious Anderson. Another scene that fell short was of the Film Club meeting, where the new rules of horror movies are given. This should be a classic scene reminiscent of Jamie Kennedy’s explanation of horror movie rules in the original. However, both scenes just didn’t have the snap that they needed to be scenes that people leave the theater quoting.

In my opinion, the sheer kinetic energy that was palpable in the original is missing from a lot of Scream 4, even in the scenes featuring interactions between Sydney, Dewey, and Gale. Furthermore, except for Emma Roberts, the newcomers like Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen and Nico Tortorella just don’t grab the audience the way the original actors did in the first Scream. So, one’s left sitting there guessing who the killer might be while the body count steadily rises.

Then just when you’re about to give up on Scream 4, the final act begins and the killer is revealed. What follows is one of the most twisted and entertaining monologues I’ve seen in a while. It’s totally what the film had been missing up until that point, the madness, humor, and energy all coming together finally. You can tell director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson had a lot of fun with it. The last twenty minutes of the film definitely take you back to the original in the best way possible. It’s an homage to Scream while truly being of this new generation – it will leave you breathless and wanting more.

So, if you loved Scream, check out Scream 4 this weekend. By the time the credits roll, you’ll feel like the movie ended way too soon even though two hours have passed. Which is what every horror movie lover can only hope for when they go to a scary movie.

Scream 4 Press Conference:

LISTEN TO THE SCREAM 4 CONFERENCE WITH THE CAST

Scream 4 Official Trailer:

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REVIEW: Scream 4 Goes Back To Its Roots To Capture A New Generation

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