Scream 4 - Blu-ray Review

'Craven starts to give the impression that he is throwing stuff at the screen in the hope that something icky sticks. It doesn't.'

If Scream 2 and 3 did not prove that the Scream concept does not have enough legs to sustain a franchise then Scream 4 should be the film that finally does. Lazy, poorly scripted, bloated with incidental characters ripe for a stabbing or two; Wes Craven's return to Woodsboro has more than a few similarities with his shockingly awful My Soul To Take, with only the comforting blanket of familiar characters to hide that fact from the audience.

Starting from the beginning, Craven bequeaths us with not one pre-title sequence (so important in the previous films) but with three. Could he not settle on one good one? It starts to give the impression that the director is throwing stuff at the screen in the hope that something icky sticks. It doesn't. The model that the sequences take seems like it is trying to teach us something about watching horror films (oh, how original) but is it? It says nothing and goes nowhere and once you chop out the not-needed first two, the third is obviously recycled and incredibly bland.

Once the film proper starts the list of characters you are given no reason to care for extends with every meaningless scene they feature in; Rebecca (Alison Brie), Jill (Emma Roberts), Jill's Mum (Mary McDonnell), Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), Deputy Judy (a particularly awful Marley Shelton), Robbie (Erik Knudsen), Charlie (Rory Culkin), the list could go on. The only one of the non-original trio (Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell and David Arquette) who even gets close to having a proper character arc is Hayden Panettiere's Kirby and the only reason you care about the returning stars is because you've seen the first three films.

The tension that has always been inherent in the Scream franchise - and the reason why they are unsustainable as a franchise - is their dutiful adherence to providing lecture after lecture on the shortcomings of various films, whilst steadfastly failing to heed their own guidance. In Scream 2 it was Sarah Michelle Gellar running up the stairs, in this there's an example every five minutes or so. Someone mentions the un-originality of the 'character appearing behind the fridge door' shot. Is that really any better than, late on, having one of your characters turn round to bump in to a hitherto out-of-shot hanging basket?

If the eventual reveal had have been revelatory then perhaps Scream 4 could have been marginally saved but it is actually possible to work out the initial unmasking by simple process of elimination; who has not been there during every killing? Lazy in the extreme. The coda too is weak and relies on a flawed bit of logic, disregarding the film's own claim that everything is 'all over the internet', one of many lines from Kevin Williamson's script that seems to suggest he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to technology. The more worrying thing is that, on the topic of the horror genre, it is starting to seem like Craven doesn't either.

Look further...

'there is some fun in Scream 4, but it’s made rather soggy by the nods and winks which never end... the ghostface killer from the film used to generate some energetic, fun movie-going excitement. Now I feel like the screaming face is actually just a yawn.' The Movie Snob, C


  1. I agree, wholeheartidly. I was divided between whether the film was awful as a conscious comment on the nature of horror remakes or it was just bad full stop. Well its just bad. The 'big' reveal was one of the most hateful of the year too.

  2. Still coming to turns with how much I hated it. No great fan of the others (although I do think they're quite important films in the horror genre, with some very clever through-threads) but thought this really stunk something awful. And yes, reveal didn't work at all for me - very badly managed as well.