Sunday, 24 April 2011

REVIEW: Scream 4

Scream is back. After 15 years since the first one, Ghost Face is back and trying to kill Sidney Prescott all over again.

Wes Craven's original rehash of the 70s slasher film is very strange. Scream itself was a post-modern take on the genre that Craven helped invent and now, with Scream 4, it's coming after a huge horror remake episode that has taken over cinema since, something they discuss during the film. So then is Scream 4 a post-post-modern take on the horror film? The opening sequence would suggest so but people are really just going to go for the fun, and so they should.

The Scream series, similar to some other slasher films, is a more horrific 'whodunnit' that could fit into any pulp crime novel. The only difference here is that it's taken different conventions that make horror interesting, but essentially it's keeping you guessing throughout the whole film and that's what makes it so damn watchable.

The story is about how Sidney is returning to her hometown to promote her new successful self-help book and the killings start again. I always had a problem with how it's always about Sidney as she is the most boring character of the whole ensemble. She portrays the strong, feminine victim that becomes the Final Girl that is often discussed in horror analysis, but she lacks the key element needed for me to will her to survive like other horrors. Maybe it's just her smarmy face? Well, it hasn't got any better with age. In fact, no-one has, apart from maybe Dewey. Courtney Cox looks dreadful to the point where it's actually offputting as she has had a lot of work done and seeing as this is her most popular role apart from in Friends (maybe Cougar Town), she might as well enjoy what's left of her awful cinema career by having a more plastic face than the killer. Anyway, Sidney is staying with her extended family and we follow her daughter and her hot friends as they seem to become the focus of the killings.

The idea behind this film is that there are no longer any rules as it's a 'new decade' - that you shouldn't expect anything anymore. But really, it makes no difference. There are some good shocks, some great bloody bits and I enjoyed it more than I thought I did. I even thought the ending was okay, which is an issue I've had with previous Screams and it's purposefully mirroring the original but I left satisfied. There were some bits I had issues with, mainly the inclusion of Anthony Anderson who is in all the Scary Movies - a homage to a homage perhaps - but really, it's a stupid piece of fun that Craven is comfortable with doing. It hasn't fared as well at the box office as previous Screams but there is a lot of worse fodder out there and you'll be walking in knowing exactly what you're going to get - and by hell are you going to get it. It's nothing new, it's nothing amazing, it's nothing even that scary - it's just some good ol' fashioned slashing.

Rating: 6/10

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