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16.4.11

WRITTEN REVIEW: Scream 4

By CORY CARR
I scream, you scream, we all scream for SCREAM 4! Now I know what your thinking and yes, I did just say that. The SCREAM franchise is something very near and dear to me. I grew up with SCREAM. I watched Sidney mature and blossom into a strong independent woman. SCREAM was one of the first slasher flicks that I had ever seen and was one of the first to become my favorite. With that said, you can imagine the unspeakable dread that flooded my body when I heard Dimension was green lighting SCREAM 4.

Living in a time when every other horror movie that graces the blood hungry eye balls of horror fans is either a remake, or a straight to DVD torture porn gross-out, I was frightened to death that "my precious" would be adapted to meet the modern horror climate of cinematic schlock. I don't need Ghostface to scare me, the threat of ever looming re-makes is enough.

What helped make up my mind to go see it was the cast, the writer, and the director. It showed promise and I just had to drag myself, still unsure, to the theater opening night. Boy am I glad that I did!
Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (played by Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately Sidney's appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.
THE VERDICT:
I like it! The ten year break between films is just what SCREAM 4 needed in order to work. The recurring characters feel familiar, but fresh and the actors playing them do their jobs well. I think this is the only horror series that has been able to maintain it's original cast throughout it's sequels. Even the threatening voice heard on over the phone, preformed by Roger Jackson, is the same in all four films. Had there been the standard money making formula applied, 365 Days + Rushed Sequel = $$$$$, I would have lost interest long ago, like I did with SAW.


Dear GOD! Someone took a shit in my trunk!

Speaking of SAW, did I mention that SCREAM 4 couldn't have come along at a better time? The SCREAM franchise has made a name for itself by taking a hard look at the horror genre, finding all the cliches, and goofing them in a smart and well written way while maintaining just the right level of fear. The past decade has given writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven plenty to work with. I'll be honest, as a horror fan and horror writer, the past few years have been abysmal. The sheer number of remakes alone is enough to drive me into a violent frenzy, and as for the films that aren't remakes, good ones are few and far between. SCREAM 4 knows this and rips both remakes and torture porn a new one and even pokes a little fun at itself with the use of the "STAB" movies. It speaks to me as a fan. It says "Hey Hollywood, we're all getting pretty fucking tired of this!", and as I sat in the theater with a smile on my face I thought "Finally, someone said it. Thank you!". But that is not all. SCREAM 4 also targets idiot teenagers and social networking, the two other things that have been getting under my skin the past few years. Is it me or are teenagers getting dumber?


Spoiler Alter! I hear Ghostface is in this movie too.

As far as the horror and gore is concerned it doesn't disappoint. There is a healthy balance between scary and gory, reminiscent of the original. I could feel the noticeable element of suspense throughout the film, which was dusted with humor. I could also feel Wes Craven getting his groove back like so many black women before him. The 2000s were not kind to Mr. Craven, however with SCREAM 4 under his belt I see him getting back to his classic horror style that is as smart as it is frightening, and every bit relevant.

SCREAM 4 has taught me that I can leave my dank, dark, opium den of an apartment and spend a night at the movies without fearing Hollywood. SCREAM 4, instant classic in my opinion, go see it! For those of you who have already seen it, below is an alternate ending that I came up with. Give it a look and lemme know what you think in a comment below.

ALTERNATE ENDING:
As the film came to it's final climax I sat in my theater seat and imagined how the rest would play out. Sidney, now older and in control of her life is an author of a book which teaches it's readers how she overcame her fear. She is no longer a victim. This is a theme that you see play out a handful of times. I expected Sidney's new found power to come into play at the very end of the film.

Earlier, the killer explained to Sidney what the goal of the killings was and how they planed to get away with their crimes. Later, we see the killer's look of shock as they discover Sidney, the only witness and lose end, has somehow survived. Now at this point Sidney has a choice to do one of two things.
1. Tell the police what she knows about the killer and let them handle it.
2. Go after the killer herself.
Sidney then corroborates the killers story to the police, letting them off the hook. Confused and frightened, the killer goes into hiding. Now the film cuts ahead a year or so into the future. The killer has spent the entire year in fear. Looking over their shoulder, waiting for the police to catch up with them. Day after day being interviewed by the media, living in the limelight, living a lie as a survivor and hero, all while knowing that Sidney is out there somewhere, and she knows.

Finally the killer is stalked like all the rest in the dead of night by Ghostface. As the killer struggles to survive, Ghostface reveals them self and it is none other than Sidney. Sidney kills the killer, proving to her assailant, herself, and the viewers that she has indeed evolved from the role of victim and by doing so justice is served. Sidney has overcome her fear and is now empowered. She has become the hunter.

SCREAM 4

★ ★ ★ ½

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