Main cast: Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), David Arquette (Dewey Riley), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), Emma Roberts (Jill Roberts), Hayden Panettiere (Kirby Reed), Rory Culkin (Charlie Walker), Erik Knudsen (Robbie Mercer), Nico Tortorella (Trevor Sheldon), Marley Shelton (Judy Hicks), Alison Brie (Rebecca Walters), Mary McDonnell (Kate Roberts), Marielle Jaffe (Olivia Morris), Anthony Anderson (Anthony Perkins), Adam Brody (Ross Hoss), Aimee Teegarden (Jenny Randall), Britt Robertson (Marnie Cooper), Anna Paquin (Rachel), Kristen Bell (Chloe), Lucy Hale (Sherrie), and Shenae Grimes (Trudie)
Director: Wes Craven
I realized I forgot to review this movie when I watched it shortly after it came out to the cinemas in 2011, which should tell you how memorable I found it to be. I only remembered Scream 4 when I caught it on cable recently and thought to myself, “Wait, didn’t I already see this thing?” This is also Wes Craven’s final film – he died of brain cancer, and please, no jokes about that and his last few sorry movies up to his death – and… yikes. Sure, it’s not like his track record was amazing up to this movie, but still… yikes.
Scream 4 promises to introduce some new generation of fresh faces to keep things interesting, but unfortunately, the fresh faces do not come with fresh ideas. When this movie opens, the old cast are still around. Sydney has released a bestselling book based on her experiences, the movies based on her brush with Ghostface have spawned the seventh sequel recently, and she’s back in town for a book signing. Dewey is now sheriff and yes, once again, we have another woman – his deputy – interested in him. Why? It must be in David Arquette’s contract that the roles he play must be some sex magnet even if they look like Mr Arquette. Gale, now married to Dewey, of course has writer’s block and is quite jealous of Sydney’s success as an author.
Sydney just has to schedule the book signing on the anniversary of the murders, so the town is “decorated” by Ghostface costumes. Anyone surprised that the phone calls and murders begin anew? Our heroine is considered a suspect because by now, everyone knows she has the Jessica Fletcher effect – people always die around her, hmm – and she has to stay in town until she is cleared. Of course she and Gale are soon dragged into drama along with Dewey. Meanwhile, Sydney’s cousin – she has a cousin, I didn’t know that – Jill, her friends Olivia and Kirby, and her ex-boyfriend Trevor along with nerd crew Charlie and Robbie round up the fresh faces that fill up the shoes left by the archetypes in the first two movies.
The new characters are on the whole bland and forgettable, except for Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby who is adorably bitchy, feisty, and hilariously self absorbed (interestingly, Kirby is the kind of role usually Emma Roberts would play). Kirby is also genre savvy, and she’s way too good for this movie. The rest of the newer cast members have to compete with the core trio who already had three movies to flesh out their personalities. Worse, the movie attempts to “pay homage” to the roots of the franchise by putting them through various similar situations the teens in the first two movies went through. Seriously – the movie even lampshades this by having Sydney tell Jill that the younger lady reminds her of the Sydney in the old days.
All this meta stuff doesn’t make the movie anymore interesting. In fact, it has the unintentional consequence of making Scream 4 feel like a bankrupt rehash for the first two movies. Even the denouement is a rehash! The deaths in this movie elicit a lukewarm reaction that barely go beyond “Who cares?”, especially when most of the scenes are just boring stab-stab-stab types, and the pay-off is an over the top rehash of something that has already been rehashed a few times already in the same movie franchise. Seriously, who cares anymore?
RIP Wes Craven, and I guess we may as well bury this franchise with him if there were nothing left to say or do with it.