“What’s your favourite scary movie?”
Any Wes Craven fan would know the reference to that question. Alas, after 11 years, the Scream franchise has been revived. Note that the original idea for Scream was for it to be a trilogy. Producer Bob Weinstein then decided that a new trilogy would be set up to refresh the idea of a masked murderer chasing teenagers around and stabbing their guts out. Right, how new could that be?
Before we go into the details of Scream 4, we’ll give you guys a quick recap of the previous three installments. More under the cut!
Scream Opening Scene:
Originals are somehow always the best.
The opening scene with Drew Barrymore being taunted by a mysterious psychopath (later coined as Ghostface because of his mask) on the phone, in the midst of preparing popcorn for a late-night horror movie, is probably one of the most iconic acts in the horror genre. The transition from innocence to pure terror is captured perfectly on screen as Barrymore runs around the house all vulnerable and petrified. Chest-stabbing and gut-slicing; the amount of gore in the beginning of the movie itself is refreshing.
Neve Campbell plays Sidney Prescott, whose mother, Maureen Prescott, had been recently raped and murdered. The story basically takes place in Woodsboro and revolves around Sidney. Gale Weathers, played by Courtney Cox and Sheriff Dewey played by David Arquette, work with Sidney to find the killer, thus forming the central characters in the entire series.
Scream 2 (1997)
Scream 2 Opening Scene:
The movie opens with Jada Pinkett-Smith and Omar Epps going to the theatre for the release of the new movie “Stab”, based on the book by Gale Weathers about the murders in Woodsboro back in Scream. “Stab” depicts the occurrences revolving Sidney Prescott and her friends previously. A typical case of a movie within a movie, which at that time seemed pretty unique. Little did we know that this technique would later be used for all the other upcoming Scream films.
One thing which I’ve always liked about the first two films is that the methods of execution are pretty creative although simple. For example, in the first film, Rose Mcgowan’s character is killed by having her body crushed by the garage door while trying to make an escape through it from the killer.
Also, Scream films are famous for having very special opening scenes, as mentioned above. Any movie with a good solid opening to kick-start the whole story is commendable and admirable. (I have an extreme fondness towards good introductions and openings if you notice)
Scream 3 (2000)
Scream 3 Opening Scene:
Although this installment hadn’t received rave reviews like the previous two due to audience weariness, I still think that it was worthy!
Again, another good intro (although not as terrifying as the previous two, but still pleasant). Cotton Weary, previously accused of murdering Maureen Prescott, is murdered together with his girlfriend in the beginning of the film.
Every time there is a chase scene around the house, I get excited. I find it kinda thrilling in a way because you just never know if the psycho is going to grab your ankle or pounce on you any second. The opening scene here really depicts that type of terror.
And finally, Scream 4 (2011)
Scream 4 Trailer (2011)
I am not a fan of spoilers myself so I try my best to stay away from review articles which contain spoiler alerts. Thus, I will not give much away in this review, just in case any of you out there share my distress. :D
The promotion here in Singapore for Scream 4 hasn’t been all that great. There hasn’t been any hype towards the movie at all. At most, I have only bumped into a few posters scattered around town. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it helped curb my anticipation for the movie. YES I AM A HUGE SCREAM FAN, so you can only imagine the anxiety that I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks.
Well, I anticipated a much more horrifying or gory intro but what came out was really unexpected! As mentioned earlier, the technique of using a movie within a movie had been used for the previous two installments. In Scream 4‘s opening scene, a movie within a movie, within the actual movie is used to tease us. Hint: The mock Scream movie “Stab” wasn’t a trilogy. (It was a WTF moment for the audience, especially Mr Ravenous who was muttering “This is too much, this is too much” at that) Anna Paquin (True Blood), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) and Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) make cameo appearances in this part of the film.
In this movie, it is Sidney’s cousin’s turn to get harassed by an unknown masked murderer. Jill Roberts, played by Emma Roberts, together with her endless string of friends, are taunted by the classic “Ghostface” phone calls. The first death occurs when Sidney returns to Woodsboro for a book-signing session. I’m not going to reveal the villain(s) in this movie, let alone the victims. All I can say is that Hayden Panettiere and Courtney Cox sort of stole the show from everyone else.
Besides Hayden’s physical beauty, her acting is actually one of the most decent ones as compared to her other female counterparts, particularly Emma Roberts. Courtney’s character has always been one of my favourites in this franchise because when everyone else is being too scared or teary-eyed, she is actually out there making an effort to hunt the killer down with her bare hands. Gale Weathers is still badass, even after so many years. Her hubby Dewey is still his usual dorky self in this movie, but with less appearances. Instead, we have Adam Brody (!!!) and Anthony Anderson roaming the streets of Woodsboro to protect the Prescott/Roberts family.
The murder scenes are pretty bloody and gruesome, but suitable for an NC-16 flick. Therefore, we can’t expect too much in terms of murder techniques. This isn’t some Saw movie after all. We can’t expect people to be tangled up in wires or have heads crushed like watermelons. The essence of Scream is still and forever will be the stabbing of the knife. The cinematography is rather pretty as well with the usual play of silhouettes and shadows.
It was interesting how they weaved in elements of the first film to explain character motivations. A new beginning to a new trilogy while paying homage to the original characters.
The whole concept of filming a live stream snuff video is pretty new-age. Like what the movie’s tagline states, “New decade, new rules“.
The script is rather comical, especially on Gale Weathers’ part. Her one-liners are cute yet feisty. I am so glad that the film did not resort to nudity or attempts at remaking any one of the previous installments. References to other notable horror movies (Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and most of all, Shaun of the Dead) are also a bonus here as horror fans can rejoice in their knowledge of the genre. Don’t expect to be terrified out of your wits when you step into the cinema. This movie exudes more of a fun and comedic aura rather than an actual s***-in-your-pants kinda scary. It’s an intentional parody that weaves in modern and youthful elements.
Without comparing it to previous installments, I gotta say that the climax and build-up of the movie are excellent as sound effects are utilised appropriately, with the right amount of scares and screams. Full of unpredictability, the story leads us into various twists and turns, which is what makes all Scream installments so desirable.
The ending, if you ever get to it, is pretty intense. Expect hair-grabbing, ball-shooting and lots of glass-breaking. I am certainly looking forward to the next two installments in this new trilogy. With that, I’ll like to end off with a quote from the ending scene of the movie – “Don’t f*** with the original“.