Scream 4 (2011) – Wes Craven

Kevin Williamson is back with a script that gives the Scream (and Stab) franchise the course correction it needed following the Scream 3 misstep, and right off the bat, the film has the sense of fun, and play that was messing in the third film.

In fact the casting seems steps above the third film (though I totally loved the inclusion of Lance Henriksen, Emily Mortimer, and Parker Posey), filled with recognizable names and faces, whether it’s the stunt casting for the film’s trick opening, featuring Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell, or the main story cast, which sees Emma Roberts, Mary McDonnell, Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, Alison Brie, Erik Knudsen and Rory Culkin joining the franchise .

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has remade herself, and you see that in all of her interactions, whether with this incarnation of Ghostface, or any other characters she encounters; she’s sure of herself, and empowered. She’s also written a book, telling her tale, and letting it serve as a bit of a self-help tale. Accompanied by her press agent (Brie) she’s about to make a final book tour stop, back in her old home town, Woodsboro, just in time for a new series of killings to erupt.

Poor Sid can’t catch a break.

Dewey (David Arquette) has returned to Woodsboro as well, serving as the town sheriff, and Gale (Courtney Cox) is with him, struggling to reinvent herself as a writer, as opposed to a journalist, when they get caught up in events as well.

Once again, we get a film that is drenched in film references, nods, homages, and a star-studded cast this is ready to be picked off one by one. The film works best in a small town setting, and with lots of familiar faces, and Williamson’s script serves it aptly, delivering great lines, twists and commentary on films, their reboots, and the rules inherent when making one.

The reveals are fun, and Sidney is a lot more comfortable with who she is this time out. She’s ready to face this thing head on, and goes tete a tete with Ghostface in a number of scenes.

The killer reveal is a lot of fun in this one, and works just as well as the other films. I will say this for the third one, I liked the backstory for the killer, and how it layered in to the Prescott name. But the other films just pull everything off more smoothly.

Williamson and Craven know these characters, and the actors who inhabit them, so slipping into this film was like settling into a favored red and green striped sweater and turning off the lights… unnerving and a lot of fun.

And rewatching them, I honestly forgot how hard I crushed on Neve Campbell through these films.

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