Scream 4, Revisited!
Ten years has passed since the events of Scream 3. Sidney has gotten on with her life, just now publishing a best-selling memoir about her experiences with the Ghostface Killer. She’s on a book-signing tour, and the first stop is her old home town of Woodsboro. Dewey and Gale live there; Dewey is sheriff now and Gale is a frustrated writer. They are married but going through a rough patch. Cue the Ghostface Killer. Murders start happening, again, on the anniversary date of the original massacre, and this time the terror is happening to a bunch of new high school kids, one of whom happens to be Sidney’s niece, Jill (Emma Roberts). As usual, bodies stack up and Sidney is in the middle of it all, fighting for survival. Who is the killer, and can Sidney stop them?
I loved this movie when I saw it in the theaters when it originally came out. It got bad reviews and word of mouth wasn’t good, but I decided to go, anyway, because sometimes people are wrong. I was glad I did because I really enjoyed it. Years later, Scream 4 has gotten somewhat of a reputation-lift, as more people seem to be coming over to my side of things. Revisiting it, I found I was right. What we have is a smart, taut thriller that ups the blood and gore and viciousness, keeping that trademarked snark but updating it for a world filled with remakes and needless sequels. In fact, this one almost seems like a remake or rebooting of the first film, and Craven and Williamson have a good time playing with that theme. They go back to Sidney’s old house and room and there we see an almost exact repeat of a scene from the first film, involving Billy and Sidney. It’s a nod and a wink without being gross about it, and the entire movies is filled with such good-hearted moments. The dialogue is snappy and I liked the teens a lot; they felt like real people. And when the first girl gets slaughtered, it’s merciless, like old 70s Wes Craven merciless. It was fun to see these characters grown up and dealing with the issues of adulthood all while having to also struggle with a past that keeps coming back to (literally) haunt them (he’s not Ghostface by accident). In the end, things wrap up beautifully, and honest to God, I left wanting more, which is a good thing.
This was Wes Craven’s last film. That’s kind of hard to imagine, now that we’re almost five years after his passing. I think he went out on a really high note, much better than the last three movies he made, Scream 4 returned the franchise to its slasher roots, cutting out the gloss and the dross that had gathered on the franchise over the two previous sequels, returning to a lean and mean formula. It kept what worked with them and then doubled-down on the horror, which was a good move. A true return to form, I only wish we had more time for Craven to dip into his series again. Rest in Power, Wes, and let’s hope when the inevitable Scream 5 happens, it can live up to your golden legacy.