Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scream 4

Well, well, well…Scream 4, huh?  Or is it SCRE4M?  Anyway…I never thought it would happen.  As ridiculous as the original trilogy was (and when I say ridiculous, I’m referring to parts 2 and 3), I thought it went full circle and concluded as a three-part tale back when Scream 3 finished it in 2000.

However, when it was first talked about, publicly, that another sequel (actually, another trilogy) was in the works, I was skeptical and didn’t think much of it.  I thought that’s all it was—talk.  But when it was announced that some of the original cast members were signed on for it, including Wes Craven, it pricked up my ears.  When a release date was announced, I paid full attention.  Finally, when trailers started popping up, I became very interested.

With some of the original cast coming back—the ones whose characters were still alive and not killed off (there was a rumor that Jamie Kennedy's character of Randy was going to make a cameo)—I figured the magic would appear and the cast would come back to their characters like slipping into a comfortable pair of sneakers.  And that’s what gave the original movie, in 1996, the magic it had: the cast.  Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Jamie Kennedy, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, and many more, all had great chemistry together.

But, of course, with my optimism came my skepticism.
Suddenly, the cast announcements kept coming, stating that a lot of newcomers were joining the troupe—newcomers to the franchise, but well known faces in other teeny bopper flicks, making me think that this new Scream movie was turning into a Twilight-esque nightmare.  Even more cringing, was the thought that the only reason Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox were coming back was just to be killed off to make room for all these newbies.
All that aside, the weekend finally showed up and Scream 4 arrived at my local theater.  I waited a few days, of course—since there are always idiots who show up opening day to ruin the movie with incessant talking and remarks—until Sunday and took a drive to watch the flick.

Without giving too much away (and definitely no spoilers here), the opening movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie gimmick seemed like a bad omen on what was to come.  But I remained optimistic and watched, nevertheless.

Now, the story itself seemed good.  As they showcased in the trailers, there are updated rules—not really new ones, but changed a bit.  But these rules were stated by the new faces of the cast, not the originals.  Also, I really liked the message about how Hollywood is just regurgitating stories with remakes and reboots constantly.  Overall, you’re kept in your seat, waiting, to find out who the killer is.  But that’s about it.

What’s bad about this movie is the size of the “new” cast, because it was a little too much.  It wasn’t that you couldn’t keep track of all of them, but there were just too many.  Maybe it was a way to keep everybody guessing who the killer was.  Maybe it was a message about how off-putting it is to see new faces in a rebooted franchise.  Because it seemed like they did it deliberately: Sidney’s cousin (Sidney), the suspicious-looking boyfriend (Billy), the talkative friend (Tatum), the film geeks (Randy), a couple of inapt deputies (Dewey), and so on.  I don’t know if it was a bad thing or a good thing, or if it was a message from Wes Craven—especially since he had one of his previous masterpieces terribly remade last year (A Nightmare on Elm Street), but it was there.

I’ll just end this with saying that, like most other reviewers, the last ten to fifteen minutes of the film are the most critical and satisfying to watch.  But that’s not saying much.  The reveal is a little predictable, but the motives for the killer are ridiculous.  After watching My Soul to Take a while back, I was hoping that Craven would’ve made up for it with Scream 4.  He did…a little…but not much.

My final “bit” on Scream 4?  I’d wait for it to come out on DVD/Blu-Ray to rent it.  A die hard Scream fan, like me, may buy it to add to their movie collection, but I’m a completist and I can’t help it.  One other thing…I’m surprised as hell that they didn’t release this in 3-D.  With the latest craze (that’s sure to die down, leaving everybody with expensive TVs and glasses that’ll end up in the Beta, 8-track, laser disc and HD DVD wayside), I’m shocked that the studio didn’t insist on it.  But, maybe the Weinsteins are realizing that you need to put story ahead of visual gimmicks and know that there are quite a few film fans who are smarter than wanting to sit down and watch crap like Avatar.  I'm sure Craven and the studio learned their lesson with My Soul to Take.

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