Friday, April 15, 2011

Scream 4 (2011) - Late-night Popcorn Premiere


On the Menu:
SCREAM 4 (2011)

Ingredients: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Eric Knudsen, Nico Tortorella, Mary McDonnell, Nancy O'Dell and Heather Graham. Directed by Wes Craven. Run time: 111 minutes. Rated: R. 

At First Bite: Despite being slightly annoyed that my Ultimate Scream Collection DVD trilogy set was made redundant, I was still super-psyched to see the fourth installment. 

Sidney (Campbell), now a writer, is back in Woodsboro on a book tour. Her arrival coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the brutal murders from the original SCREAM. You know what that means. Let the killings begin. 

Sid's younger cousin, Jill (Roberts), and her friends are the new targets. Dewey (Arquette) is now the sheriff, and is trying to keep everyone safe, while Gail (Cox) is just looking for a story to write.

But, it's not your average horror reboot (sequel, whatever).

New decade. New rules. 

Tough to Swallow: The credit for Extras casting is listed as "Extra's casting." Apparently, it took two people to hire ONE extra.

Slightly less noticeable was the extra space in the 1st Assistant Director credit under the Additional Photography section (between 1st and Assistant).

Some of the shots looked blurry, and I did hear another theatergoer mention this upon leaving the movie, so my eyes are still good.

The douchebag randomly shining a red laser pointer at the screen for the first 10 minutes of the movie, and the guys in the row behind me intermittently making jokes and talking to the screen.

One reviewer somehow confuses Lucy Hale and Emma Roberts; writing the review as if Hale's Sherrie was Sidney's cousin. Another reviewer refers to Jill as Sidney's niece. Both reviewers pretty much railed on the movie, but obviously weren't paying too much attention to it.

Something to Chew On: Anthony Anderson's character is Deputy Anthony Perkins. Anthony Perkins is, of course, the star of PSYCHO and its three sequels.

Anderson previously appeared in the last two SCARY MOVIE sequels (numbers 3 and 4).

Brittany Robertson plays Marnie Cooper. MARNIE is another classic Hitchcock thriller.

I will assume, since this movie is set in Woodsboro, the character of Dr. Orth is the father of Steve Orth, who was Casey Becker's boyfriend and the 1st victim in the original film.

Aftertaste: This succeeds where the original did. It's self-referential and pokes fun at itself, but is still scary and gory. It's a sequel/reboot (more reboot) that trashes the idea of sequels and reboots. It's also a social commentary on today's youth being controlled by texting, Twitter, iPhones, etc., and becoming famous/successful for no apparent reason. It even takes aim at the post-SCREAM 3 horror trends of torture porn and scary Japanese kids. All of those little jabs made me laugh on the inside (and sometimes out loud).

The opening scene is very clever. It screams black comedy, and, I think, that hint is what you need to remember to really enjoy this movie. Otherwise, you're just going to say, "It's just the same movie. Why didn't they leave well enough alone?"

Honestly, I've said that about almost every other horror remake, although I found things I liked about Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN and the reboot of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Ultimately, I'd rather see the original films get another theater run instead of a newer version, even if the movie looks dated like ROSEMARY'S BABY or THE BROOD.

I digress.

There's a plethora of movie references in SCREAM 4, whether they be spoken or visual. There are also nods to other films using character names (as mentioned in Something to Chew On). I love that kind of stuff. I'm so much of a nerd that I pointed out the appearance of a Mountain Dew bottle to my fiancée, Megan. Product placement is interesting to me,too. Hey, I said I'm a nerd, right?

I have to say this is the bloodiest of the franchise. The stabbings are pretty hardcore and extra bloody. Megan doesn't like horror movies, but braved this one (at midnight, no less). Her lone critique: too bloody.

The original trio of actors, as well as Roger Jackson, hold their own, but Roberts steals the movie. I mean, she is basically the new Sid. Rory Culkin should be propelled into bigger things now; he was great in MEAN CREEK and THE CHUMSCRUBBER, but the box office success of this mainstream flick should get his name out there. Look out, Kieran. And, I enjoy seeing Panettiere do anything really (even with the cropped hairdo).

I will say I successfully predicted half of the outcome about halfway through, but wasn't disappointed in being correct.

SCREAM 4, or SCRE4M as it is affectionately known, is better than its two predecessors (both of which I rated 3.5 stars). It's funny, SCREAM 2 wasn't SC2EAM, but SCREAM 3 did show up occasionally as SCR3AM. Despite there now being 7 "STAB" movies, I doubt there will be a fifth SCREAM installment. If it happens though, following the leetspeak example, I can't see them advertising it as 5CREAM.

But, who knows.

There's a strong possibility I'll see it again before it hits the cheap theaters.

Rating:

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