Review: Scream 4
You forgot one rule about remakes – never fuck with the original
As a person who’s an ardent fan of horror – I’ve not watched The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre -. the Scream franchise has never held much of an appeal beyond the fantastic original. So coming into Scream 4 with a casual interest, this entry is something of a return to form.
Scream 4 takes place 10 years after the events of Scream 3. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns home to Woodsboro, now a successful writer, to promote her self help book. Sidney’s appearance also marks the return of Ghostface who wants to kill Sidney as and anyone else related to her.
The rest of the plot is familiar if you’ve watched any Scream film. Arguably it’s a not a fresh take and doesn’t take on the ascendancy of ‘horror porn’, but for those who enjoy their horror with a slice of humour, Scream 4 performs admirably.
If you saw the marketing you would have noticed the “new decade, new rules”. Understandably like any sequel to a long running franchise Scream 4 seeks to re-invent itself and in a rather canny move I feel, decided to riff of a couple of genres and trends that have been emerging in horror over the last few years – that of torture porn and the reboot.
The film embraces the internet and the widespread use of new media, but the use of viral videos and blogging don’t add much to the film’s meta-narrative. The real strength of Scream 4 is the idea of a reboot and director Wes Craven deconstructs that with better results.
Without spoiling, the notion of reboots and remakes and how Scream 4 functions in that trend is part of the fun in this, most self-aware of franchises. You know the rules and the film knows that, but can find ways to surprise expectations. Guessing the killer is old hat – now it’s just fun watching characters trying to escape horror clichés but fall unwittingly into them.
There’s something refreshing about good old fashioned scares. It may be a new decade and new rules, but it’s the same old fun.