A slasher flick is not supposed to leave you in fits of laughter. But Scream 4 does.
Central character Sidney Prescott, who has written a self-help book, returns to the fictional town of Woodsboro for a book tour. She reconnects with Sherriff Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), who have married, and new characters are introduced such as Sidney’s teenaged cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and Jill’s high-school friends.
But Sidney’s return to her old hometown, where she has witnessed gory murders, including those of her mother and close friends, also marks the return of Ghostface. The entire town is now in danger again and many inhabitants feel Sidney made the wrong decision by returning. Olivia, one of Jill’s high school friends, even calls Sidney ‘the angel of death’.
While her popularity in the town is evident, it is clear that people are curious about Sidney. One high-school girl even wonders ‘how many scars she must have’ after all that she’s gone through. And frankly, as an audience member, I wondered why she would even want to come back to a town she has such nightmarish memories of and was lucky to have survived three times? More significantly, once Ghostface returns, why doesn’t Sidney immediately decide to leave instead of jeopardising the lives of almost the entire town and causing a re-run of the horrifying events of the first three sequels?
The other thing that I wondered was this: who made the colossal mistake of hiring Sherriff Dewey as part of the Woodsboro police force? Not only is he not able to put two and two together quick enough, the speed of the police force is reminiscent of the Bollywood movies of the 1970s where the police invariably get to the crime scene so late, one wonders if they are coming from another city. The time lag between the Woodsboro police receiving information and acting on it was ten seconds but the police would always reach the scene of crime until after someone’s guts have been split.
However, I would give the film a ten-on-ten in the suspense department. There are only a couple of characters that are made out to be suspicious, unlike the previous Scream movies where every character was a suspect or Scream 3 where, at some point, the audience was led to believe that the killer could be Sidney herself. Right until the very end, it is impossible to guess who the killer is and what their motive could possibly be. The ending is sort of draggy but between Sidney’s fighting skills and Dewey’s incredibly daft questions, it is quite an entertaining climax.
All in all, despite a gap of 11 years between Scream 1 and 4, writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven manage to recreate the same feeling as that in the first film. I enjoyed seeing Dewey, Gale and Sidney back on screen together while newer members of the cast also deserve a mention.
Scream 4 is highly recommended whether you are a fan of the horror movie genre or are just out for some good old-fashioned entertainment.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, April 24th, 2011.
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