Twelve Things about Scream 4
12. I was very nervous going into the cinema. A friend of mine likes to argue that there is no way the fourth movie in any franchise is going to be good. The first movie is always the best, he says; the second can live up to it, and on rare occasions be even better; the third won't be able to do either; and the fourth will simply suck.
And now that I have seen Scream 4, I want to ring him up and say that he has officially been pwned! For this is one of the best, most intelligent Horror movies I have ever seen. Thank you, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
11. It might be a bad idea to start the Twelve Things with the most important Thing, but my decision to do so anyway shows you how inspired I was by this movie's superlative opening sequence. It doesn't quite top the classic "purity" of its counterpart from the first film; but it is head and shoulders above that of the third and went where the second never dared to step. The suspense coefficient was off the charts, but even then, I didn't see the real genius of it until I was trying to explain it to someone else, and found myself saying:
"I had no idea what was really happening and what was just a movie!!!"
Oh . . . =P
10. Drawing back on the meta stuff for now . . . I love the realism of our old characters in this "new decade"--something we didn't have in the previous installment of the franchise, due partly to all the "tinsel" you need for trimming a Hollywood setting and partly to the fact that Williamson didn't write the script. Dewey, no longer "oozing incompetence," has become Sheriff of Woodsboro, and seems to be in his element as a big fish in a small town. Gale, on the other hand, really misses her old, exciting life as a muckraking reporter. Their marriage becomes a unique frame through which to watch the main story unfold.
(Anyone notice that I am no longer referring to Dewey and Gale as "the Timon and Pumbaa of the Scream franchise"?)
9. As for Sidney, one of the top Final Girls of all time . . . She finally seems to have found her ideal role: having dabbled in Theatre in uni and been underemployed as a crisis counselor for a year or two, she has totally reinvented herself as a Self-help writer.
I can't say I'm crazy about that. =P I just don't read Self-help, you know? But it makes beautiful sense that someone who has been written into the Horror scripts (literal or otherwise) of so many psychos would decide that what she needs to do is to rewrite her own role. (Talk about the perfect answer to last decade's taunt that "you can't pick your genre!")
8. There are, of course, quite a few characters who are here just to be fodder. To quote one of them, with an edit for spoilers: "It sucks to be a ______ in a movie!"
It makes me wonder about the survival rates of teachers/tutors. ;-)
7. I've suddenly noticed that I've been writing about characters more than about actors. As far as I'm concerned, Neve, David and Courtney are Sidney, Dewey and Gale. But my saying so is less a testament to their acting than to my great love for the first generation of Scream. I had to catch up to Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and I'm still catching up with Halloween . . . but Scream is my generation's Slasher franchise, with characters I've nurtured a real emotional connection to--and it felt so right to be watching it on the big screen last week.
6. So the second generation probably won't win me over until they do their own share of aging.
Emma Roberts plays Sidney's young cousin Jill. What I first saw as her flaws turned out to be integral to her character--and it still floors me . . . Hayden Panettiere is great as Jill's snarky friend; and yet I couldn't stop thinking that she looked like somebody's mom . . . Rory Culkin is wonderfully inoffensive as one of the film geeks running the school's Cinema Club. It took me a while before it occurred to me that he had the look of a Culkin kid . . . I don't know the names of the actors who played Robbie and Trevor, but I liked one and disliked the other . . . I can't identify the actress who plays the (supposedly) hottest girl in school--and don't even recall her character's name--and that's about all I have to say about her.
The young are so wasted on me.
(Can you tell which ones die and which ones live?)
(Can you tell which ones die and which ones live?)
5. Back to characters now. Deputy Judy Hicks is an interesting combination of the old and the new. She is from the first generation--one of Sidney's high school classmates--but we never saw her in any movie and even Sidney can't remember her at all. It's not very nice to have "second generation" status when you're actually a veteran, is it?
4. Now, what's with the Cinema Club ("Audio-Visual Club"?) being "one rung below the Glee club"? Is that a nod to a certain gawd-awful TV Musical Dramedy?
And for the record, I'd rather be with these geeks than with those gleeks.
3. I never thought I'd say this, but . . . with this fourth Scream movie, Wes Craven has outdone the entire Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Sorry, Freddy, but this "Screamake" beats your "Reboot." Not one, but two generations have spoken.
2. And that brings me to the concept of Morality Play Overkill. How many Horror movies are too many?
While I will be among the first to say that Horror is both the most moral and the most realistic genre there is, I don't know if I can say the same of Horror fans. I certainly don't have much confidence in the teenagers who gather for the Stab-athon, ready to see all seven Stab movies back-to-back. In the light of the fact that actual murders have just taken place, that party is both callous and irresponsible. It's also a damning satire.
Now I ask all Scream fans who are reading this: How many of you did marathons or hosted other special viewings of the first three Scream films, leading up to the release of Scream 4? Did you dress up as any of the characters? Decorate the place with Ghostface masks? Recite virtually the entire script along with the actors? See yourself in that Stab-athon audience when you were sitting in the Scream 4 audience?
There is no repeat of the previous advocatus diaboli attempts to put Horror movies, Horror fans, Horror audiences, or even Horror filmmakers in the dock for real-life killings (and only a half-hearted attempt to do the same for Horror bloggers--LOL!). But the fourth film insists that although we're not culpable, we're also far from classy. (Ouch.)
1. And in case you didn't believe me the first time I said that this is a great movie . . .
I did not miss Randy at all! Not even when he was mentioned by name. And that means something.
Image Source: Scream 4 poster