By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) -
I was not expecting to like this. Scream 3 was pretty bad even with low expectations and while screenwriter Kevin Williamson came back for this installment his last crack at it, Scream 2, was pretty mediocre. So, a “reboot” eleven years later didn’t seem like a very good idea.
Not that I’m full of those
In Scre4m, as they’re apparently calling it, Sidney Prescott finds herself back in Woodsboro on a book tour on the anniversary of the original killings. Dewey’s sheriff now and married to a retired Gale Weathers, and they find themselves embroiled again in the usual shenanigans when somebody starts slicing through the local teen population, which includes Sidney’s niece and her posse, ‘cause, you know, they always stay the same age.
The killer’s McConaughey, isn’t it?
Yeah, Wes Craven still has it. He deserves a toast for finally delivering on a Scream as good or possibly even better than the original. He’s taken inspiration from the last decade’s worth of classic horror reboots, which we even get a list of later in the film. As a result, this one’s gorier and intent on being more surprising than the original, which to a large degree it actually accomplishes.
The real thing this series has lived and died on, though, is the final act. It was what made Scream, and what 2 & 3 noticeably lacked. Williamson nails it, filling it with callbacks to the original and twisting the conventions of the Scream series itself around a conflict between the 90s and 2000s. Not only does he have something to say, but he does it coherently this time.
A final raise of the glass to the fact that a movie drinking game is referenced at the same time we found out that Robert Rodriguez directed the first Stab.
Which cost like 7k to make
The script still relies on a few clichés more than ridicule them. The most glaring is that everybody is so fucking resilient. Seriously, you need to kill ever main character about three times. At one point this is used for a laugh at Scream 3’s expense, but otherwise no eyebrow is raised at some people’s ability to shrug off stabs to the gut like they were love bites. On an unrelated note, Hayden Panettiere’s haircut is terrible.
She’s still far from ugly, but they tried as hard as they could
A final beer to a problem the whole series has had- length. This is due to several scenes giving the characters conflicts to resolve, outside of, you know, staying alive. Outside of maybe Anthony Anderson and Emma Roberts you have a cast full of television actors and 90s has-beens whose last job enjoyed the direct to DVD route.
I’m looking at you David Arquette
This is fine for murder and mayhem, but tightening up on the “character development” would save us a few minutes and trying to figure out why Neve Campbell looks so confused.
If you love the first one and hung in there through the sequels, I can just about guarantee you’ll love this movie. It’s pretty damn watchable for everybody else, too.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: for every arterial bubble or spray
Take a drink: every time someone survives something they shouldn’t
Take a drink: every time someone says “Sidney” or “Prescott”
Drink a shot: every time you jump (that should steel your nerves)