Best Movies of All Time + [Wes Craven]

SCREAM 4

SCREAM 4
R

Scream 4 is a 2011 horror-comedy directed by Wes Craven that serves as the latest installment of his Scream franchise. It's been eleven years since Ghost Face last graced the silver screen in Scream 3, and Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson have given Scream 4 a dose of 21st-century psychology. Once again, we're given a string of murders surrounding the return of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) to her hometown of Woodsboro. As some of the local teenagers are killed, it becomes alarmingly certain that there's a connection to Sidney and her younger cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts). Along with the help of now Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and his wife Gale Weathers-Riley (Courteney Cox), Sidney sets out to find the culprit behind the latest deaths and put an end to the terror that's once again plagued Woodsboro.

I know the above synopsis is a little bit sparse, but if you've been following the Scream franchise at all, you'll know the basic plot: someone wants to kill Sidney and kills everyone around her in order to get close to her. I don't want to get into any specifics with the storyline for fear of giving away too many spoilers, so that's all I'm really going to leave you for the moment. That's how they've all gone, and there was no reason for Craven and Williamson to stop that tradition now. This time they tackle the concept of remakes and reboots, and they do so to near-perfection. The strength of these films lies in the execution of the screenplay. What separates them from other horror-comedies is their ability to satirize the target sample (in this case, the consistent onslaught of remakes and reboots we've seen in the last decade in the horror franchise) and poke fun at them while still maintaining a legitimate aura of suspense and horror. Sure, there are a lot more horror flicks that will make you jump out of your seat every two minutes, but none is going to make you do that while you're laughing at an incredibly delectable pun at the expense of Rob Zombie's Halloween flicks.

Another strength is the level of acting which, as is the usual case in the Scream franchise, is head and shoulders above the level of acting seen in your standard horror fare. Campbell, Arquette and Cox bring back their beloved characters who have somehow managed to survive the original trilogy, and there's not much change in their overall portrayal, but they're still solid in their respective roles. However, what you're going to notice very early and very often are the many instantly recognizable faces playing smaller roles. Here's a list of names of actors and actresses in the film that you should recognize pretty easily:

Adam Brody (from 2005's Mr. & Mrs. Smith and 2009's Jennifer's Body)
Anna Paquin (from the X-Men franchise and television's "True Blood")
Anthony Anderson (from 2006's The Departed and television's "Law and Order")
Erik Knudsen (from 2004's Saw II and 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World)
Hayden Panettiere (from 2000's Remember the Titans and television's "Heroes")
Kristen Bell (from 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 2010's When in Rome)
Rory Culkin (from 2002's Signs)

Fortunately, the exuberant amount of "names" in this flick never weigh it down. I had that fear going in, but everyone's screen-time is spread out pretty evenly. Kudos to Craven on managing such a big cast. (As I re-read that list, I'm sure there's a couple people that I might only know because I'm a huge movie nerd, but I suppose they were still worth mentioning here).

All in all, I'm not sure what else I can say about Scream 4 without giving away too much of the movie, which is something I really don't want to do. I think Craven and Williamson crafted a great return to the franchise, but that could easily just be my fanboyishness showing its true colors. That being said, I think that fans of the franchise will love and accept this one rather readily. It garnered a hearty round of applause from my theater, which was about halfway full despite being an 11:30am showing. I can't rave about it enough, so if you take my opinion seriously, then you should definitely give Scream 4 a watch.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: A-
Two Thumbs Up
Addition to Rankings
Best Horror/Thriller - #27