Scream 4 has the uncanny ability to deconstruct itself while simultaneously presenting the viewer with more of the same with updated references to Facebook stalking, the Saw franchise, Channing Tatum, and of course articulate teens debating the merits of horror movies. The self aware postmodern metanarrative format that writer Kevin Williamson is able to re-inject into the once popular franchise is the film’s greatest pleasure; there are no aliens, zombies or asian ghost girls. Stylistically this picture falls seamlessly in line with the previous films. Returning director Wes Craven has filled the screen with a similar color palette, set design and tone that he so successfully employed on those earlier blockbusters.
The first act introduces us to a variety of characters that all have motive or reason for committing the ghost face killer murders. The fun in the series, and in particular Williamson’s clever script, is not only spotting the pop culture references but also the knowing nods to genre conventions. All the characters in the film seem guilty at one point or another and the filmmakers leave it up to keen audience members to puzzle it together before the bloody conclusion.
Back in 1996 Scream caused a stir over its casual mixture of humor and gore. In the following years audiences have been subjected to the torture porn of Saw and found footage debacles like Paranormal Activity. There is something comforting in this relatively tame series, you get the feeling the creative forces want you to enjoy the experience as opposed to Saw, where it’s a dare to sit all the way through.
Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox-Arquette, Neve Campbell