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Scre4m Movie Review

Pick up, answer, survive. Thought the killing spree was over? Think again! Ghostface is back, terrorising Woodsboro anew.

Genre: Horror / Mystery

Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, Rory Culkin, Adam Brody, Alison Brie & Mary McDonnell.

Run Time: 111 min.

US Release: 15 April 2011

UK Release: 15 April 2011

German Release: 05 May 2011

In a surprise turn of events, news broke in 2010 that Wes Craven as well as original writer Kevin Williamson would return to collaborate for a fourth flick, ten years after the conclusion of Scream 3. Public opinion was critical about that news, with many believing that another instalment would bomb, especially since the predecessor did not perform well. To everyone’s surprise, this meta-slasher managed to subvert everyone’s expectations. So grab your knives and let's start slashing into my review for… Scre4m!


On the 15th anniversary of the Woodsboro murder spree, high school students Jenny Randall and Marnie Cooper are killed. Sydney Prescott, now the author of a self-help novel, returns to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. Reconnecting with her old friends Sheriff Dewey Riley plus his now-wife Gale Riley, she is informed that the killing spree had begun a fourth time, coinciding with her visit.

Jill Roberts, Sidney’s cousin, is targeted by the new Ghostface, who is looking to “reboot” the serial killings. Who could hide behind the mask? What is their motive? Most importantly though, who is next? Questions the trio are trying to find answers to.

Even though the series was originally meant to be a trilogy, The Weinstein Company declared their intention to develop a third sequel in mid-2008. The main cast, just like the director and original creator, signed on to return shortly after. Williamson would write the script during the hiatus of his show Vampire Diaries, with Scream 3 script author Ehren Kruger having been hired later on during production, to pen the many changes in the screenplay that would be implemented in the final cut.

Scre4m was a major improvement, compared to the third part. It not only kept the self-aware aspect of the series but brought back the brutality and blood that was missing in the predecessor. The humour was dialled back down, however, it still was very sarcastic, poking fun once again at the industry with its sudden boom of remakes, reboots, endless row of sequels, etc. It also predicts accurately the rise of internet celebrity stardom, where followers are all that count.

That said, the narrative also contains some pretty blatant issues. For one, the introductory segment went a little too far with the meta references, parodying the “Stab” films. Then there is the sudden appearance of two new Prescott family members in Woodsboro, who were never mentioned before, simply added for plot convenience. Finally, the whole premise is not as memorable, feeling more like a course-correcting afterthought.

The dialogue is much more vicious than in the previous flicks, as Ghostface goes full intense mode with the phone calls. It also manages to balance the different languages of two generations.

When it comes to the casting, as well as relationships between characters, the weirdest aspect of this fourth feature, is that there is no real main character. None of the original or new cast is really in focus. It’s a weird hybrid between sequel, reboot, passing on the torch to a new cast angle, without being any of that at the same time.

Neve Campbell portrays Sidney Prescott for a fourth time. Once again brilliantly played by the actress, Sidney is badass in this chapter! She goes after the murderer, going head-to-head with him/her in a hand-to-knife conflict. Most intriguing is the fact that she doesn't feel like a safe character anymore. I genuinely believed that Sidney could die!

David Arquette returns as Dewey, now Sheriff of Woodbror and finally married to Gale, who again is played by Courtney Cox. Their relationship has finally reached the point it should have progressed at least by the third instalment. That said, Dewey is behaving like a real dick towards Gale, who is suffering from writer's block. Other than that, the two do their usual things; Dewey stumbles clumsily over clues, while Gale does the real investigating.

Emma Roberts was cast as Sidney’s cousin Jill, and she was amazing! Roberts delves fully into the mind of a psychotic teenager, who is chasing social media fame. Jill, jealous of her older cousin’s fame due to her surviving the Ghostface killings, concocts this elaborate plan to recreate the murders and pin them on her cheating ex-boyfriend. Needing to be the next sole survivor, she organises for Ghostface’s return to coincide with Sidney’s book tour stop in her hometown, to kill her.

That said, while her scheme was ingenious, I don’t buy her as Ghostface. Yes, her partner Charlie did most of the killings, however, it is revealed that she took on Gale during the Stabathon, plus the way she throws Sidney around, in the end, is simply not believable for her slender stature.

Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed is the most interesting of the new cast. Her persona is an amalgamation of a hot chick, geek, as well as badass. I was happy to hear that the character survived, making a comeback in the 6th instalment.

On a technical level, the picture contains a glowing hue from smoothing filters having been used, to delete some of the grain for high-definition screens that distract heavily, plus gives the whole premise a false atmosphere. Other than that, Craven kept his usual style of filming the franchise, which still creates the creepy cinematographic intent. As far as effects go, Scream 4 returned to being bloody in a savage way! In fact, it might be the goriest movie in the franchise. That said, it is also the first in the franchise to use a CGI blade, instead of a retractable one.

Marco Beltrami returned once more, to devise the soundtrack but failed to create anything new. It is memorable, simply a little bit lacklustre. Specific rock anthems of that era were also included.


Verdict: Eleven years after the original trilogy ended, fans were treated to a third sequel that wasn’t bad, yet also did not reach the heights of the first two movies. The inclusion of Sidney’s aunt and cousin feels like a script convenience to make the storyline work. Kirby is the most interesting new character, apart from Jill, who after her reveal as one of the Ghostface killers became way more fascinating, especially when she reveals her motive. Nevertheless, the rest of their friends are simple meat bags for the killers to stab or slice open. The script returned to a balance of sarcasm and horror, which was very welcoming. That said, the opening scene went a little too far with the meta references. The cinematography did experience some issues this time around, using an HD smoothing filter that overlit the imagery, just like using an obvious CG blade on the knife. Scream 4 is good but not memorable, which is why I can’t rate it more than a 7.0 out of 10.

So, what is your opinion on this chapter of the saga? Is it your favourite? Leave a comment underneath to let me know. Thank you very much for reading!

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