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"Scream 4" Review

The biggest point of interest for me about Scream 4 (or Scre4m in l337 m0v13 sp33k) was that it was shot in the Detroit area. It wasn't even a movie I was planning on seeing theatrically but got stuck paying full price for when the showing of Fast Five we'd planned on catching with a free ticket was sold out. Drat. While it's not worth full price, it's not bad so I didn't feel too chapped.

Pretty much the whole gang that wasn't killed in previous chapters is here as Neve Campbell's Sydney is coming home to promote her book about surviving the other three movies. Courtney Cox and David Arquette are married (fun fact: their marriage was falling apart during the shoot) and he's the Sheriff of Whereverville these movies happen in. Of course, people start dying and the question is who is wearing the Ghostface mask this time.

The thing about the Scream series from the very beginning was that it was tweaking the conventions of the genre. It's hard to remember what a shock it was for Drew Barrymore's character to get whacked in the opening scene when she was prominently featured on the poster. As a decade has passed, the requirement for how Scream changed the format to be addressed is cleverly handled by series creator Kevin Williamson very meta script. From the very beginning Scre4m knows what it is and makes a running commentary about what it's doing and why. (Check out the trailer for a taste.)

You'll probably figure out the final twists since we're all so cynical and on guard for them in the first place, but director Wes Craven runs things fast enough that we don't have enough time to ponder what's coming. While not even evolutionary, Scream 4 manages to not be a Ghostface-come-lately cash-in. We didn't need this movie; but it's not something that should be killed and buried behind the garage. It's worth a rental, just as I'd planned all along.

Score: 7/10. Rent the DVD.

Weird detail: Marley Shelton, who plays a deputy and was the woman who Josh Hartnett killed in the beginning of Sin City, looks a LOT like Heather Graham; so much so that when a clip of Stab, the movie within the movie in Scream 2 (IIRC), is shown with Heather, we thought it was Marley again.


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