|Starring||Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox-Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Alison Brie|
|Release||15 APR (US) 15 APR (UK) Certificate 15|
The return of Kevin Williamson on scripting duties makes a measurable difference. Gone is Ghostface's chameleonic phone manner and the cheeseball deaths of Scream 3 (death by ironic fax) and in comes a knowing script that's not afraid to show its work. At times, the layers of self-reference begin to stick together and the opening kills are HARDCORE META but the bare bones of the film represents a return to what made the first two movies great: a modern murder mystery with added chuckles and a real sense of danger.
That's mostly due to some great character work by the principle cast, particularly the old guard. Neve Campbell is the definition of 'steely' as Sidney (even if she would have gone irretrievably bananas in real life by now), who displays noticeable maturity. David Arquette's Dewey is the worst police officer in cinema history, but he's a lovable enough lug, enough to have you clenching every time he comes within a half-mile of anything sharp. Courteney Cox, however, continues her tradition of looking absolutely horrorshow throughout the entire franchise, adding Scream 4's trout pout to the lime-green pant-suit of Scream, the red streaks of Scream 2 and the Dumb & Dumber fringe of Scream 3.
Fair enough, under close scrutiny, Scream 4 makes little sense; it's seemingly set in a town with only retards as policemen and despite being populated by characters who know everything there is to know about horror films, they still seem unable to behave like rational human beings in scenes of extreme peril (although, given my first point, perhaps there's a reason no one ever calls the damn police). And yes, Ghostface is still clumsy as fuck.
Let's shoot for a little perspective here. This is a third sequel to a horror film about horror films, starring a director past his prime and seemingly only capable of profiting from his past glories. Scream 4 has no right to be half as entertaining as it is, and when the dust has settled and the blood on the walls has dried, the bold choices that Williamson and Craven have made speak for themselves. Brutal? Funny? Clever? You get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, Randy would have approved after all.