REVIEW: Scream 4

22 10 2013

Few franchises can come back from after a decade and still be entertaining, much less relevant.  Pixar can do it, but just about everybody else is incapable of such a feat.

And though the poster for “Scream 4” promises “new rules” for this new decade, I can think of few sequels that make the case for their own existence less persuasively.  Wes Craven’s latest parodic horror entry into the “Scream” series is just the same old stuff, entertaining the first time but now just stale as day-old popcorn.

He tries to hide the rotting of the franchise with two transparent ploys.  First, he brings back some of the surviving characters from the original trilogy to gin up some nostalgia sympathy for “Scream 4.”  If nothing else, you should enjoy seeing Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, the smart one who outwits the morons slashing people with the “Ghostface” mask.  And they also trot out David Arquette’s Sheriff Dewey and Courtney Cox’s obnoxious reporter Gale Weathers just for fun too!

But then, of course, they have to bring in the new … because every horror franchise needs young, fresh blood!  We get it in the form of Hayden Panetierre, Adam Brody, Rory Culkin, Allison Brie, and the grating Emma Roberts.  I wouldn’t mind if it had just been an “American Reunion” style sequel where they just brought back the old characters for another unnecessary adventure, but these new characters just bring nothing to the series.  Make a clean break, go no old or all old.

“Scream 4” is the Emma Roberts show, much to my chagrin, as her character Jill Roberts becomes the new final girl for the franchise.  There are laughs to be had and frights to be felt, sure.  But by the time the movie reaches its conclusion, I was left with little but a painful awareness of how far the “Scream” franchise had fallen from grace.  I wished I hadn’t tarnished my image of “Scream;” the better choice would have been to watch the 1996 original again.  That opening scene with Drew Barrymore just doesn’t get old.  C2stars