Thoughts on “Scream 4”

After watching the first three movies, I found a pack that contained all four movies, but wasn’t sure that I wanted to buy the first three again to get the fourth one.  And then I found the fourth one in a discount shelf for a lot lower price and got it so that I could watch what is presumably all of them.

This movie returns to the more direct self-awareness and parody of the first one, opening with the openings from “Stab”, the in-universe version of the movie and bringing back the movie buffs as more important characters who get to talk about these things again.  However, those characters end up having the movie pat itself on the back more as they talk about remakes trying to outdo the first movie and so being bigger and aiming to be unpredictable.  This is only the more ironic given that the movie seems to end up doing what I chide most remakes for doing:  capturing the form of the original movie while missing the heart of it that made it so good the first time.  Yes, there is self-awareness but it’s too obvious and on the nose and even overdone (they do something like three openings to make the “Stab” joke which is (ahem) overkill), and the overall plot isn’t all that interesting and isn’t all that well-developed but doesn’t come across as deliberately vague either.

I will say that in comparison to “The Birthday Cake” the movie really uses well-known actors well.  Lucy Hale of “Pretty Little Liars” is in the first death sequence, and I recognized Kristen Bell in the second, but Hayden Pantierre gets more screen time and so isn’t just a waste of a well-known name.  I’m not sure if Emma Roberts counts as “well-known” at the time of this movie, but she puts in a wonderful performance as the purported victim who might not be one at all and is another name that I recognized and also have made a bit of a mistake of buying something because she was in it.

Ultimately, “Scream 4” strikes me as a shallow copy of “Scream”, aiming for the same sort of ideas and themes and mood and presentation as “Scream” but not pulling it off anywhere near as well.  Still, it works as a movie in that series as we can follow familiar protagonists around, and so would be worth rewatching while rewatching the entire series.  Since that’s true for “Scream 2” and “Scream 3” as well, where this movie and those movies go depends entirely on how I feel about “Scream”.  And, yeah, “Scream” is good enough to watch again, so they all go into my closet of movies to rewatch again at some point when I get around to it.  “Scream” was good and somewhat innovative, and the others are not as good and not as innovative but are enjoyable enough in the context of the first movie.

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One Response to “Thoughts on “Scream 4””

  1. malcolmthecynic Says:

    I thought the first “Scream” was great, a self-aware horror film/black comedy with some genuinely good plot twists and death sequences.

    I thought “Scream 2” was the same film, but worse, though I did really like the scene where Dewey was stabbed while the reporter watched from the soundproof room. That was great.

    After “Scream 2” I saw no reason to continue watching so haven’t. I kind of regret seeing “Scream 2” honestly.

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