A decade has passed and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), has got herself together and is now the author of a self-help book. She returns home to Woodsboro - the last stop of her book tour - where she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courtney Cox), who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately, Sidney's appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface (voice of Dane Farwell), putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
We're back in Woodsboro, on the 10th anniversary of the events that made the little town infamous and some prankster has shrouded the lampposts with scream masks. On this very day, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) arrives on the last leg of her tour promoting her self help book, Out of the Darkness. If only ....
It's more a case of back to it because Sidney's arrival seems to have attracted screaming Ghostface.
It's been 17 years since Wes Craven tilted the teen slasher genre with the self-mocking Scream, dismissed at the time by Variety's Leonard Klady as a potential flop at the box office; had Craven 'gone to the trough once too often' he wondered. That film grossed over US$103 million in the US alone and spawned two sequels - and now a third.
The 'trough' Klady referred to is the sum of its genre elements: a small town, the central characters are teenagers and there is a serial killer on the loose.
Craven has had another crack at tilting the tilt in the franchise, by spelling out how in today's always connected world, the killer would embrace a YouTube mentality. Simultaneously, he scolds the fame mentality that drives so much of today's world: fame for the sake of it. That is the film's dire message.
Craven also messes about with the character of the serial killer. This goes against his own advice in the movie that "remakes shouldn't mess with the original". Indeed, his characters comment on each twist and turn of the film by references to the genre and the twists to it being made in the film. He's winking at the audience.
Maybe there too much winking. There are perhaps too many laughs, as well, diluting the scares until it's not just a matter of self referencing but self parody.
First published in the Sun-Herald
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SCREAM 4 (MA15+)
CAST: Neve Campbell, Alison Brie, David Arquette, Lucy Hale, Shenae Grimes, Dane Farwell, Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Aimee Teegarden, Brittany Robertson, Courtney Cox, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Adam Brody, Heather Graham
VOICES: Roger Jackson
PRODUCER: Wes Craven, Iva Lubanka
DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
SCRIPT: Kevin Williamson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Deming
EDITOR: Peter McNulty
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Adam Stockhausen
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 14, 2011