I tried not to catch a preview of this movie because I didn't want to have any preconceived notions about it. Unfortunately, I saw the preview, and immediately became concerned. I was hoping for a Scream that relied more on the mystery of who the killer is, and the deaths as in the original. However, the preview made it appear this one would rely on a lot more laughs than I would hope for. I began to fear I would be watching another Scary Movie sequel instead of Scream.
What would Scream be without Sidney, Dewey, and Gale? Sidney returns home on the anniversary of the original murders as the author of a new book. Just after Sidney and Gale get a second to catch up, Dewey and the entire police force show up looking for a cell phone that was used in the murders the night before. They find it, along with some blood smeared on posters for Sidney’s book, in the trunk of her car. The big three immediately fear that they are about to relive the events that put the small town of Woodsboro on the map.
A lot of people would agree that the first 10 minutes or so of the original Scream could be the best 10 minutes of that movie, maybe even the trilogy. Well, this movie comes right out and tries to top Drew's 10 minutes of Scream fame. I’m not going to spoil it, but it quickly reminds you what Scream is all about, and sets the table for what is about to come: comedy, commentary on the state of horror movies, and death scenes. None of this is a surprise, as it is the Scream formula.
Even though the opening is quite enjoyable, it is where my fear became reality. I understand that in the Scream movies there is always that quick-witted humor from time to time. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously, which is somewhat refreshing but can be equally annoying. There is that on going battle between pretending to be a serious horror movie and a comedy with deaths sprinkled in. It makes the movie entertaining, but also frustrating for someone that looks forward to the death scenes, and mystery of who the killer is.
One of the most interesting things about Scream is how it comments on the state of horror. It is not afraid of reminding the audience about the key elements of a horror movie. It is almost awkward to hear, but an amusing and important part of the storyline. Flash forward to Scream 4, and more commentary on where horror stands today. For all of those people who hate remakes, considered your voice heard (but don’t think for one second that Hollywood will change anything). The movie makes a point that it is hard for remakes to top originals, and how most come up short. In an effort to save her friend from Ghostface, one-girl names just about every remake she can think of in 30 seconds. It is a funny reminder of just how many remakes there have been.
They also point out what a remake needs to do to have any chance at topping the original, which leads to an extended ending to the movie. Playing on the idea that Scream 4 is trying to top the original, the story takes several twists and turns before finally ending. Again I was hoping the movie would act like a serious horror film, but it almost becomes ridiculous by the time it finally ends. There has been some talk about this being the start of another trilogy, and I thought they had the perfect opportunity to stop the movie for a sequel. Too bad they shot right pass that, and dragged it on, in typical Scream fashion, to the point that I was like “enough already!”
I might have missed it in all the rapid-fire jokes, but I was surprised they didn’t mention 3D horror movies. Next to remakes, it currently might be the most hated form of horror movie. They bring up “torture porn” like in Saw, movies with Asian women ghosts, and some other types of horror films. Maybe they feel there haven’t been enough 3D horror films to bash them, or wanted to keep the focus on remakes. Quite possibly they are saving the jokes for Scream 5 in mind blowing, earth shattering, top of the line cinema quality 3D, where Ghostface will be closer to you than you ever thought possible!!!!
While I might not have gotten a movie that focused on the mystery of who the killer is, all is not lost, as there are plenty of deaths in the movie. Along with Sidney, Dewey, and Gale, they introduce a bounty of new characters. Some are there to make the few audience members, who are trying not to get all caught up in the humor (like me), question if they are the killer, while other characters are just lambs about to be slaughtered. There are two things you can always count on Ghostface doing well: making a scary and intimidating phone call, and stabbing a person to death. He does such a good job stabbing people; sometimes I have to look down to make sure I wasn’t stabbed as well (maybe in Scream 3D). However, in one scene, they push the envelope a little too far. Ghostface stabs one of the characters right in the forehead. Come on now, everyone knows that can’t happen. On top of that, the character continues to move, and even whispers something before dying. Also, in another scene, there is a girl that is killed, and an exaggerated amount of blood is sprayed all over the room. As much as I enjoyed the death scenes, even some of those scenes can’t escape being used to mock horror movies.
In my review of Piranha 3D, I said that if you took the movie seriously, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy it. I guess you could say the same thing for this movie. It sticks to the usual Scream formula of laughs, a State of Horror Movies Address, and plenty of death scenes. I was hoping for the seriousness of the movie to be on par with the original because there are only so many jokes about horror movies I can take at one time. No, the humor isn’t as extreme as it is in Scary movie, but this movie comes closer to being a parody than a true horror movie. On the bright side, it is a lot better than My Soul to Take. Whether you are expecting the movie to be funny, and/or bloody, there is still enough here to entertain you, so I give it 2.5 pools of blood.