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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
While I’m not usually big on horror movies, I am a fan of the Scream series. While the first is clearly the strongest, I’ve always appreciated the follow-ups as it wasn’t so much the storyline that kept me vested, but rather the characters. This is where Scream rises above most slasher flicks. In almost every other movie like this, we learn very little about any of the characters, and the movie becomes less about them and more about how these characters are going to die. The filmmakers only center the film on this because we, the audience, simply expect that. It is a rather unfortunate cycle. That is generally why I don’t get too involved with the horror genre. That is just my two cents on what little I have seen. Kyle is the horror guru.
The Scream series is the alternate. Beyond the meta-fictional references and the whodunit mystery, it created some great characters that are incredibly fun to watch. In particular, our three main stars: Sidney (Neve Campbell), Dewey (David Arquette), and Gale (Courtney Cox). We were actually rooting for them. We wanted them to survive, because there are likable characters with some off-beat quirks, but also grounded. When I heard that, after a decade, a fourth installment was in production with the original three, I was open to it. Tonight, I just got a chance to watch Scream 4.
Honestly, I enjoyed it. During the production, I read about new characters played by the likes of Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere were joining the cast. Combined with the idea that it would be the start of a new trilogy, I immediately felt that this was going to be more of a Scream: Next Generation with the original cast regulated to the background. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t. The film is firmly about Sidney and her continuing struggles against the latest Ghostface.
Scream 4 continues the trend of being meta, though it doesn’t quite work as well as it did in previous entries. The part of the film seemed a little forced and, almost, a bit tacked on. It was as if the production team felt that they had to include it since the previous ones did. That being said, there are some moments that are wonderfully hilarious. The opening, for example, is very well done and is one of those gags that I fully appreciate.
As for the movie’s narrative, it’s solid (much more coherent than Scream 3), but not everything works. There are some things that happen in the movie that are either too abrupt or strain credibility (many of these issues, interestingly enough, were addressed in scenes which were deleted). The film suffers from having too many characters in it to the point where their development suffers and, as such, it becomes hard to buy some of the things that happen (going back to the film straining credibility).
What won me over with this film was the climax and the reveal of Ghostface. I really, really want to discuss it considering it might tie into an intentional lack of character development and the repeated claim on how this movie was “intended” to be the start of a new trilogy. However, I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen the movie. Suffice it to say that it was a very unexpected twist and a bit subversive.
Many reviewers have criticized the fact that this movie looks and feels as if it was made in the ’90s. I can’t get behind that criticism. I think it was great the film took that throwback approach. If director Wes Craven tried to make it in the vein of what passes for slasher flicks today, the film would have fallen flat. This movie isn’t going to be for everyone. I’ll openly admit that. And, while it wasn’t perfect, it was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it for what it was. It served as a great reunion for the audience to reunite with these characters.