Almost a Hoot
When ever Hollywood announces a sequel to a movie long after that original was made I always have serious doubts. I had those doubts when they announced "Scream 4" or is it "Scre4m" as whilst I loved the original movie and the sequels to a lesser extent I felt too much time had passed between "Scream 3" and this one. I also questioned what could they do to make a fourth movie work and not just feel like a movie desperately trying to live off of the originals popularity. The end result is just that a movie which seems to be desperately trying to capture the magic of the original but by doing so over egging things to make this fourth movie less of an amusingly clever horror but something which at times feels more spoof like.
It's been a decade since Sidney (Neve Campbell - Three to Tango) had to deal with the crazed Ghostface and she is now on a book signing tour with her final stop Woodsboro. But Sidney's return to town brings with it an unwelcome return of Ghostface as friends of her niece's are killed following more scary phone calls.
Let me break this down, the idea of a grown up Sidney returning to Woodsboro on a book signing tour is a nice set up for more Ghostface horror. The whole next generation thing with Sidney's niece being in danger along with her friends is also a good idea as it has the potential to evolve the franchise into a next generation whilst maintaining the connection with the originals by having Sidney, Dewey and Gale involved again. And when it comes to who Ghostface is this time, it plays about with you nicely so you don't guess who it is.
But sadly whilst I liked the ideas with the story and characters I can't say I liked much else. Part of the trouble with "Scream 4" is that we are given to many characters with many of them intentionally mirroring the original characters. But none of them have any depth, you may recognize Hayden Panettiere as Kirby but her character never evolves which is the same through out so that by the end you don't remember their names.
Then there is the horror humour and this is where it goes really wrong because not only is the self referential humour over done it makes it feel spoof like. I won't go into detail but the whole opening sequence just put me in a bad mood, making me fear the worst and what followed did no better. And the whole self referential characters such as the film geeks talking about sequels and how modern killers would do it using webcams lacks the amusement of the original.
What this all boils down to is that "Scream 4" ends up feeling like it is trying too hard to be clever, witty and self referential giving us a final product which fails to flow, to give us characters to care about as well as humour which is clever.