Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween special: Scream 4

I've always regarded myself as a true fan of the Scream franchise and would even openly defend its horror honour from the verbal attacks of friends, that would belittle it for its cheesy approach to teen murders. So you shouldn't find it very surprising that I was quite excited when I heard that the fourth installment was on its way... But even even though I was looking forward to seeing Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Sidney Prescott  (Neve Campbell) run around covered in blood again, I have to admit that I had my doubts about how well Wes Craven's popular slasher franchise would hold up after so many years.

And to my own extreme dismay, I found my worst movie fears realised: The screams in Scream 4 just aren't as scary or entertaining as they were back when I was a teenager. And no, I don't think it's merely because I can't seem to connect with the very unfortunate teens – It's got more to do with the direction horror movies in general have taken the last decade and when one considers this, it makes Scream 4 look really, really old. And it's quite a shame, as a lot of work has gone into this film in order to make sure it stays true to its demented roots, with more than a few exciting stabs and chases to keep things relatively interesting.

I also really appreciated the fact that the entire core cast returned for this one – A huge part of the series' success is directly due to the strong emotional connections with the original survivors and seeing them reunited again after so many years is a great cinematic treat for die-hard fans of the series. The rest of the cast, that includes Rory Culkin, Emma Roberts, Adam Brody (and even a guest appearance by Anna Paquin) can also be mentioned for their believable performances as inevitable slasher victims.

"...seeing them reunited again after so many years is a great cinematic treat for die-hard fans."

Getting back to the important stuff, I would really have enjoyed some more gory death scenes – It's not that they were horribly bad, it's just that they would have benefited from some more deliberate showerings of blood and human insides.  I suspect my bloodlust comes from movies like Saw and Final Destination, but still, it just seemed like the killers could have mutilated their victims a tad bit more.

Thankfully, Scream's meta-textual (referring to itself in an ironic matter) approach still works wonderfully for the series and maybe even better due to the long list of movies that have parodied the film for years and years.  It just wouldn't have made sense if the film took itself too seriously, so poking/stabbing fun at itself was definitely a clever move.

All in all, the movie is a return to form for the Scream series, but the problem is that it's a return to a franchise that seems very old and cheesy. Nevertheless, fans will adore the film's loyalty and those who have never seen the film is sure to be left with a sadistic grin. A perfect DVD for this weekend's Halloween festivities.

Poor Sidney  Prescott just can't seem to catch a break...

Highlight: There was one scene that really got my attention... it made a white room seem very red and a unfortunate victim's bed look like a surgeon's operating table – Nicely done, Mr Craven!