"Scream 4" hits theaters today. After a decade long absence from cinema screens, series masterminds Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have engineered a new story that brings your favorite horror movie survivors back for one more scare against the dreaded Ghostface — and if you have any doubts about whether or not the movie is going to work, allow me to gut them like a fish for you.
If you're a "Scream" fan, and if you were thinking about skipping out on round four, don't. Much better than two and three and a lot closer to the quality of the original than you might expect, "Scream 4" is a totally worthwhile trip to the movies. Find out why after the jump!
One More Scare
On every level, seeing the old gang of Sidney, Gale and Dewey back together is an absolute thrill. The characters have aged, yes, but they're exactly who you remember them as, albeit with some new wrinkles: Sid's transformed herself from hapless victim to proactive survivor, Dewey's sporting the sheriff's badge and Gale is a caged bird waiting for the right opportunity to set herself free. It's a blast seeing Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox in these iconic roles again — they haven't missed a single step since we last saw them.
The Only Good Reboot's A Dead Reboot
There's a new generation of horror victims at the core of "Scream 4," but if you're weary over the apparent franchise reboot, never fear: Craven, Williamson and the rest of the "Scream" team are well aware of those concerns and they stab them straight in the gut. Yes, "Scream 4" is a reboot in many ways, but it takes that fact and eviscerates it for all the world to see, creating a wholly unique animal that both newcomers and longtime fans will have little trouble getting behind.
Admittedly, it doesn't take much to get me jumping out of my seat — I'm the kind of horror viewer who takes his glasses off anytime the killer's likely to strike to make sure that I can't see a friggin' thing — but as objectively as I can get, there are some legitimately great scares in "Scream 4." The opening scene is especially strong not just in terms of scaring the audience, but subverting their expectations numerous times. It's the best opening "Scream" sequence since the unbeatable Drew Barrymore cold open.
Roger L. Jackson's unmistakable vocal performance as Ghostface provides a huge wash of nostalgia and an endless supply of laughs and chills throughout "Scream 4." But it's when the mask comes off and the voice modulator takes a hike that things get really interesting. I can't say much more without spoiling the whole movie, but those last twenty or so minutes… let's just say I'm still laughing a week after seeing it, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Where We Are
"Scream 4" is very much a movie of today. It looks back upon its storied history just as much as it looks at what's going on in the current world of youth culture while also keeping an eye on what's still ahead of us. Through the killer's revelation, Craven and Williams make decisive statements about who and where we are as a species, who and what we value, and who and what we're willing to destroy to get what we're after. It's a surprisingly powerful message at the end of the day, and it starts a conversation I feel we could all value from participating in.
Oh, and the conversation about the past decade of horror? It ends with one heck of an exclamation point, not a period or a question mark. I think you'll be very pleased.
Have you seen "Scream 4" yet? If not, do you plan on checking it out? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!