Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holla,' I Mean Scream

Directed by WES CRAVEN


What can one do with the Scream franchise except clinch your teeth, close your eyes, and giggle.  The best thing about this franchise is that it doesn't take itself too seriously.  I remember when I saw the first film in 1996.  It wasn't your average horror flick.  Scream was a witty hybrid of When a Stranger Calls and the original Halloween.  Prior to 1996, horror films were in a downturn, in fact many went straight to video.  Scream single-handedly reinvigorated the horror franchise, not because Scream was so great, but because it turned the genre itself into a parody.   Of course the unintentional result of Scream were a slew of copycat films, including the (still terrible) I Know What you Did Last Summer, seven disgusting Saw films and two horrendous Hostels.  That said, Scream 4 is bloodier than the previous Scream films, as are most sequels, but it sticks to it's slasher roots.  There are no prolonged torture scenes or elaborate killing mechanisms, it's a simple formula-- a guy in a mask with a big knife.  I should note that there is a cameo at the beginning of the film and the two actresses need no introduction.
Emma Roberts with the ghostafce killer
Plot:  It's the fifteenth anniversary of the Woodsboro massacre and two teenagers are brutally attacked and killed by a ghostface copycat just when Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) comes back to town--perfect timing.  This time Sidney's a grownup and she's promoting a grownup book.  Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers Riley (Courtney Cox-Arquette) are back in the saddle in their respective roles.  As expected, new characters are introduced, including Sidney's cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), her aunt, Kate Roberts, played by one of my favorite actresses, Mary McDonnell, and Jill's best friend Kirby, played by Hayden Panettiere.  Hayden is one of the better actors in this film.  Her character is sassy and smart.  She reminded me a lot of Rose McGowan's character in the original film. 

Another new cast member (chew toy) is Sidney's pushy publicist, Rebecca (Alison Brie), but this film is really about Jill and Sidney.  In fact, one could say that Jill is the "new" Sidney and like Sidney, Jill has boyfriend issues with Trevor (Nico Tortorella), not to mention, a killer with a ghostface mask stalking her.  One major difference between the original film and the sequel is the technology.  Needless to say, high school students and technology have come a long way since 1996. 
Neve Campbell returns as Sidney Prescott
 As the plot thickens, so to speak, you start to realize that this sequel is an homage to the original film, with some of the original scenarios amped up for modern consumption.  As the ghostface attacks continue, Sidney closes in on the killer(s)??? who is/are ultimately revealed and admittedly, it wasn't who I originally suspected.  Overall Scream 4 is an entertaining popcorn flick that doesn't take itself seriously, so why should you.  Seeing it once is enough.  We're not talking about Oscar material here.

Neve Campbell and Rose McGowan in the original and still the best

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