Directed by Wes Craven
Starring David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts
You’d think by now, they’d ban selling Ghost Face masks in Woodsboro.
Just when Sidney Prescott thought her life is finally stable, she returns to her hometown of Woodsboro , where all the death in her life began , just to find that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson return to craft a new tale of never-ending murder in the town of Woodsboro. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette reprise their roles from the original trilogy as Sidney Prescott (Campbell) returns home on a book tour for her self-help book, with Dewey (Arquette) now as sheriff and Gale (Cox) married to Dewey and in a writing rut. The classics run into a new generation of victims, as Ghost Face reemerges to maim and murder the social circles of Sidney’s teenage cousin Jill (Emma Roberts). Who thought Sidney had any family left, let alone that they’d actually live in this town?
The returning cast seamlessly falls back into their roles after over a decade since the weak link of the franchise that is Scream 3. The audience can tell that they’ve all been through this before (three times, in fact). The new set of murders is less surprising and more of a depressing horror that perhaps they’ll never be free from that haunting white mask.
Of course, the voice behind that mask is the unsung returning star of the film Roger Jackson. Jackson brings back that uniquely dark sardonic wit back to the film. Ghost Face’s calls and kills are just as suspenseful and even darkly funny (as opposed to just campy) as ever.
The new cast, comprised of teenage fodder and doomed bumbling cops, fit their roles as need be. Some of the characters are dull, as with Jill’s overly-suspicious boyfriend Trevor (Nico Tortorella). Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody as the two deputies are almost useless beyond comic relief. On the flip side, Rory Culkin and Eric Knudsen successfully pull off the modern incarnation of Jamie Kennedy’s horror-movie buff role of the original trilogy, obviously filling that void yet not simply ripping it off.
The Scream films are both thrillers and murder mysteries, and this installment is no less. Red herrings are built into the cast to keep the audience guessing on who this film’s murderer is. It works, at least for me as I didn’t see the mastermind coming. However at some times, the film tries too hard to misdirect the audience. The most obvious is in the first few minutes. Thankfully, the film doesn’t do so many fake outs that the audience grows tired by the end of the film, but it gets close.
Fans of the franchise and of Wes Craven will enjoy this movie. It’s a thought-out sequel that takes the franchise to its basics. It has the necessary modern updates to keep the franchise as topical as it has been in the past, particularly utilizing webcams, streaming video, smart phones and their prevalence among today’s youth. It maintains that unique feel of the original, being alone and vulnerable as the killer taunts and plays with you. It’s unfortunately not as scary as it was 15 years ago, but it still makes for an enjoyable film.
The Video and Audio
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Everything comes across clear visually and audibly. No noticeable errors.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The one disc comes in a standard case with the cardboard slip cover. The fronts of the case and the slip cover are thankfully not the same, with the slip cover sporting a nice simple design with a shiny and raised Ghost Face mask merged with a knife on a black background.
This film has plenty of extras, included twenty deleted and extended scenes and plenty of gags where Ghost Face jumps out at everyone on set. The commentary was what I looked forward to the most, with Wes Craven and Neve Campbell, as well as Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere. Unfortunately, Neve is only in it for 45 minutes, over the phone no less so the others have to explain the scenes she can’t see. The rest of the time, it’s a bit awkward feeling with just Wes and the two teen girls. Thankfully, Wes gives plenty of interesting insight about the making of the film and the franchise, but it would have been nice to have more of the veteran Scream cast sitting in.
Overall (Not an Average) /10
This fourth installment is definitely worthy of the franchise without feeling unnecessary. Craven and Williamson are supposedly making this the start of a new Scream trilogy, which would probably be pushing it. However, as long as parts five and six can hold up to part four, we may be in luck.
The Film 7.5/10
The Video and Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7.5/10