Sunday, November 6, 2022

REVIEW: Scream 4 (live action movie)

Scream 4 is a slasher horror movie. I bought my copy new.


This installment in the Scream franchise returns to Woodsboro. Sidney Prescott is now the author of a self-help book - her book tour has taken her to Woodsboro for a signing. Dewey is now Woodsboro's sheriff, and Gale is his wife. Gale is trying to leave her journalism career behind and write fiction, but she has no ideas and no clue where to start. Her general dissatisfaction with her current life is made worse by the knowledge that one of Dewey's officers is very clearly interested in him.

Anyway, not long after Sidney arrives in Woodsboro, a couple girls are murdered, and the police learn that the Ghostface Killer called two other girls with the victims' phones. One of the girls who got a call happens to be Sidney's cousin. Sidney, too, is drawn into the investigation by the discovery that the killer somehow put evidence in the trunk of her rental car.

Those who felt that Scream 3 was too ridiculous will probably appreciate Scream 4, which scales back on the humor/macabre goofiness and aims for more of truly scary horror movie with a side of gore. People die, and intestines are shown. I could have done without the intestines.

While I appreciated that Gale had finally learned her lesson enough to not be a greedy parasite profiting off of others' tragedy, it struck me as unfair that she'd completely given up on journalism. Surely she could have stuck with her career in some fashion without being horrible about it? I also had questions about how Dewey had gone from "movie consultant with nerve damage that ended his police career" to "sheriff of Woodsboro."

This entry in the franchise had some aspects to it that came across as unfinished, and the reasons for that became clearer when I watched the deleted scenes and "making of" extras. Originally there had been plans for the murders to be more closely tied to the original Woodsboro murders, but that had to be scaled back for various reasons. Unfortunately, a line of Gale's dialogue about the similarities between the killings was kept in the final movie, and it was confusing as heck, because the bits viewers were shown barely seemed to have anything to do with the original killings (versus, say, all the other Ghostface killings). The only similarity I could see was the bit with that poor girl and the garage door.

It's too bad that that aspect of the film wasn't followed through with better, because it would have tied in really well with the ending, which did, in fact, parallel the original movie quite nicely. As a plus, it even addressed some of the issues I had with the original movie's ending - what kind of idiot killer goes to the part of the plan that involves wounding themselves before they've satisfactorily dealt with their victims? And this movie's more sadistic psycho was, in my opinion, better, colder, and creepier than the original one, although the person still had some monumentally stupid moments near the end. And speaking of stupid moments, ugh, Dewey. I thought for sure he'd caught that major slip-up at the end and was just pretending to look sympathetic, but nope.

Four Scream movies down, one more (and a TV series) to go. I have questions about what the final film will manage to accomplish, since this one's message seemed to be "horror doesn't really have rules anymore." In a franchise built on being self-aware of the genre's rules and tropes, how can you build off of that?


Deleted and extended scenes, an alternate opening, an extended ending, a gag reel, and a "making of" featurette. Also a commentary track I didn't listen to.

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