Scream 4: "Don't F**k With the Original"

Director:  Wes Craven
Writer:     Kevin Williamson
Starring:  Neve Campbell
                Courteney Cox
                David Arquette
                Emma Roberts
                Hayden Panettiere
                Rory Culkin
                Nico Tortorella
                Eric Knudsen
                Marielle Jaffe
                Marley Shelton
                Adam Brody
                Anthony Anderson
                Alison Brie
                Mary McDonnell
                Britt Robertson
                Aimee Teegarden
                Lucy Hale
                Shenae Grimes
                Anna Paquin
                Kristen Bell
Rating:    ****

Normally I would agree with the above statement, but in this case I have to say that fucking can sometimes pay off.

Scream 4 (or Scre4m) is the most recent entry into my favourite horror series. It sees the original trio, Sidney, Gale & Dewey reunite whilst a bunch of attractive teens get their shit handed to them. Now I know alot of people were sceptical about a 4th film, and unfortunately it didn't do aswell as the studio and the fans would have liked in the box office, which is a real shame. Whether it down to the gap between 3 - 4, or the fact they didn't use the often cheap looking 3D to bring in an audience, like the recent Nightmare remake...(Less said about that the better) is unclear. The reason is still being debated among fans, but i'm not here to tell you why it was unsuccessful, im here to tell you what people missed out on. 

Alison Brie, Marley Shelton, Adam Brody, Neve Campbell,
Courteney Cox, David Arquette & Anthony Anderson
It starts off like any good Scream film; phone rings, attractive girl answers, suspense builds, her and friend get slaughtered by Ghostface, standard...wrong. What this film does is tell you right off the bat what to expect, Scream 4 is about remakes, and reboots, and incessant sequels. As Sherrie & Trudie are butchered (Hale & Grimes), the title card for Stab 6 flashes onto screen, showing us two more attractive teens(???) sat on a couch (Paquin & Bell). Again another trick as this is just a scene from Stab 7, but what this does is show us how sometimes studios can clutch at straws just to get a scare (you'll understand if you've seen it). Then we see the real teens, Marnie and Jenny (Robertson & Teegarden) who of course get cut in act 1, a nice end to the opener with some cool homages to the original film. What I didn't like particularly is the lack of suspense in this scene, and how little you saw of these characters. When comparing to Drew Barrymore in Scream there is none, but it still is a clever scene which overall whets your appetite for more.

Now the rest of the film just gets better scene by scene. My favourite moment (apart from the first sighting of Ghostface) had to be seeing the trio back together, (Campbell, Cox & Arquette) they just slipped into their roles so perfectly and the chemistry was just as good as ever. If only we had seen that more, Gale and Sidney had maybe two scenes together, and apart from one scene with Sid and Dewey, there wasn't enough interaction with Sidney, Gale & Dewey at all. But the moments we had I loved!!! Cox & Arquette played the parts so well, and when Gale almost meets her maker I genuinly felt sad at the thought of losing her. Which shows how fond I am of both the characters and the actors, and how happy I am that all three returned.

The teens weren't as fresh and believable as the original teens but still bought what the Scream films have always needed, characters to sympathise for and scream at when they don't bloody RUN!!! First is Jill (Roberts) the 2011 Sidney shall we say, not as innocent for me and I couldn't feel for her at all, which was a shame as she was the main girl, Kirby (Panettiere) on the other hand I loved. She was sassy, clever, bright and the best character since Tatum in Scream. I felt for her, and wanted more than anything for her to survive, which is really a credit to Williamsons writing and Panettiere's acting.

Eric Knudsen, Rory Culkin,
Marielle Jaffe & Hayden Pannettiere
Olivia (Jaffe) wasn't likeable and she wasn't unlikeable, she was just there. In Scream 1 & 2 you feel for the likes of Casey & Cici, despite only having 1-2 scenes each, but Olivia was just a bit to bitchy for my liking. She was clearly there to show how the towns teenager felt about the original killings, but for me, I wasn't fond of her and it made me uneasy, especially how she spoke about Sidney. Trevor (Tororella) was just as creepy as Billy in Scream, which I found really nice, as it was the first time you have had the type of character you really can believe is the killer since Scream. He played it well, and I, for a while, truly believed we had a Billy Version 2 on our hands.

Robbie & Charlie (Knudsen & Culkin) were brilliant as the two film geeks. Knudsen really played it well and turned Robbie into a genuinely likeable character that I got quite fond of. He was also quite good and being the comic relief when he was needed as one. Culkin clearly has talent in his genes and it shows. He is funny, and you care for him and his geeky attraction to Kirby, but when needed to, he could turn on the creepy and really make quite a disturbing character.

Now the cops. Oh, dear...why it takes police 30 minutes to drive across a small town I will never know, and how they never were able to catch the killer at the easiest of opportunities will always puzzle me. Hoss & Perkins (Brody & Anderson) were nice enough characters but god were they crap at their job. We already have one sweet bumbling cop in Dewey, we don't need two more. Judy Hicks (Shelton) is slightly better, and her creepy persona and clear obsession with Dewey makes her no.1 suspect, which is a clear indication of Shelton's talent and knowledge of the horror genre.

Neve Campbell, David Arquette & Courteney Cox
Sidney's publicist Rebecca (Brie) was a brilliant character as the Gale 2.0. She was cutthroat, bitchy and in parts hilarious, plus she featured in one of the best chase scenes of the film which again played homage to the original. Finally Kate (McDonnell), Sid's Aunt & Jill's Mum, a wonderful actress, but completely underused. You can count her scenes on one hand which is such a shame for what could have been a very interesting, as well as damaged character.

The writing as ever was witty, clever and sharp and gave you all the deliciousness that only a Scream film or a Kevin Williamson script could. There were parts you could see were rewrites from Kruger, but mainly you could tell it was all Williamson and all brilliant. The comedy element could have been done less just to make the film that bit more scary and suspenseful, but thanks to director Wes Craven who really bought the scares and jumps when they were needed it worked out quite nicely. So all i can really say about Craven, is bow down to the Master of Suspense.

One final thing I must say is how spot on and perfect Neve Campbell was in this film. She brought the pain of the character and really pulled it out of the bad. Subtle things like when she asks Dewey "Is this a prank?" or when she sees the murder of a character and just the despair on her face really show what a fantastic actress she is, and it angers me she is not recognised more for her talents.

All in all, it is a fantastic thrill ride and at points a wickedly chilling and scary experience. Some parts did feel rushed and the comedy could have been toned down a bit, but thanks to great performances, clever writing and a suspense filled finale featuring the original trio, Scream 4 is easily the best entry in the series since the original. Hopefully the Weinsteins will see what an amazing triumph Scre4m really was and they will make the second trilogy that the fans so desperately want. So yes Hollywood sometimes you can fuck with the original. (But do it right please)

Scream 4 - Trailer