“Scream 4” injects new blood into an old franchise

Director Wes Craven returns to the franchise that revitalized his career in the 90s with the latest entry of the Scream films, Scream 4. 

Ten years after the events of Scream 3, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns home to Woodsboro in order to promote a self-help book she wrote and reconnect with Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette), Gale (Courtney Cox) and her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts). Not only does her arrival coincides with the 15th anniversary of the events that took place in the first Scream, but it seems like it triggered the return of Ghostface. As the body count begin to rises, Sidney, Gale and Dewey collaborate with Jill and her friends in order to find out what are the new and reinvented “set of rules” to follow in order to survive. 

After directing a couple of stinkers, Wes Craven is back on his game with Scream 4. With the help of Williamson’s script, Craven goes back to the basics by keeping Scream 4 simple: a murder mystery set in high school with the series’ three surviving veterans. As the most brutal and bloodiest movie of the franchise, the film does not hold back on the kill scenes but it also does not go overboard with it as Wes Craven goes for the throat when it comes to dispatching of the would-be victims in all its blood-splattered, guts spilling glory.

Kevin Williamson’s funny and sometimes cynical script is almost on par with the first Scream in which the characters are aware that they are in horror movie. Williamson does a great job in poking fun at the Scream franchise in the form of the Stab movies and the latest “torture porn” horror films that have come out in the last ten years. Williamson incorporates the modern technology into the plot whether it is an iPhone app allows you to sound like Ghostface or web cameras that play a pivotal role in the story and in a suspenseful scene.

The opening sequence for the film, which begins with a sound and shot of a ringing telephone, brilliantly plays on the audience’s expectations on current horror movies that usually open with a murder that would set the story in motion. The last 20-minutes of the movie is awesome with the movie coming in a full vicious circle with characters dropping like flies and shocking revelations that may require a second viewing in order to truly make sense of it all. 

The film does a nice job in focusing on the old and new characters of the movie equally with Cox as the most entertaining of the bunch. Not only does Scream 4 reunite Campbell, Arquette and Cox, but it also injects new blood into the franchise with engaging and genuine characters like Emma Roberts as Sidney’s terrified niece and her friends played by Hayden Penettiere, Rory Culkin and Erik Knudsen. In particular, Panettiere does a good job as a beautiful movie geek in which she manages to create a fascinating character that combines certain character traits from Jamie Kennedy’s Randy and Rose McGowan’s Tatum. 

Thanks to the great screenplay written by Kevin Williamson and the great direction from Wes Craven, Scream 4 is the most entertaining and smartest horror movie of the year.  

 Scream 4 opens nationwide on Friday.

Scream 4: 5 stars out of 5

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