Scream 4 | Horror Movie Review

I put off writing this review, because I really have mixed feelings about the movie. It is really a weird feeling to not know whether you liked a movie or not. I know, you’re thinking, “How can you not know whether you liked the movie or not?” Well, as I thought about the movie just after watching it, I thought about the scenes that I liked, that made me laugh or made me jump, but I didn’t have the feeling of satisfaction that an enjoyable movie gives you.
Spoiler Alert!     Read at your own risk!      Spoiler Alert!      Read at your own risk!
It took me about a full day to figure out why. It was that the concept and the execution did not meet each other. It’s a shame really because the concept of the added aspect of voyeurism in the form of live streaming webcam was a great addition, but maybe a younger screen writer more familiar with the medium would have done it more justice.
First let’s talk about what I liked. The movie within a movie within a movie opening was clever and fun. Jill’s (Emma Roberts) Scooby-doo like evil villain why-I-did-it speech, followed by her beating herself up literally, had me and the rest of the audience laughing and clapping. She stabbed herself in the shoulder, threw herself into a mirror and then followed that up with putting herself through a glass coffee table. Good times. She really brought the crazy. I also enjoyed the final showdown in the hospital between Sidney (Neve Campbell) and Jill.
Next let’s talk about what was lacking. First of all, about 30 minutes in I thought Sidney’s cousin Jill did it. They tried to throw a curve ball and set us up to think that her ex-boyfriend was involved, but they tried to hard to make him seem douchie. I’ve watched too much Law & Order SVU to be fooled that easily. In the end, yes – Sidney’s cousin did do it. The kills: I guess years of horror movie watching has desensitized me so much that people getting stabbed is just so, meh. Even when Deputy Perkins (Anthony Anderson) gets stabbed in the head, I was like “yawn’. It was funny how he paused then said, “Oowww!” Gale Weathers-Riley (Courtney Cox-Arquette or is she just Cox now?) sniffs out a lead with the help of Robbie (Erik Knudsen) and Charlie (Rory Culkin) a couple of film geeks who are into live streaming using a head mounted web cam. This is where the movie could have taken this concept a step further and gotten really “meta” as they so wanted. 
Kevin Williamson (writer) and Wes Craven (director) missed some important social context about the society we live in today, by dropping the ball on the webcam and smartphone technology they made sure we were aware of (i.e. the scene in the classroom where all the kids get the text about the murders.) For example during the party scene when Ghostface shows up to terrorize Gale and Dewey  (David Arquette) starts shooting, all the teens run. What’s wrong with that you ask? In 2011, yes some teens would run, but ask yourself how many would turn and film the whole thing and upload it to Facebook or YouTube before the police report was even submitted. Do they know any current teenagers?
They spent all this time reminding us that Robbie is filming everything for his live video cast, but we never get to see the other side of that. There should have been some scenes of people watching and reacting to his live casts. Then take it a step further and add some more social networking. If this were happening current day, and this teen was live casting from a town where a murderer was on the loose, it would be all over Twitter, YouTube etc. Why doesn’t Robbie have a YouTube channel? Robbie is supposed to be web literate, but he never mentions number of views, whether his video has been shared or tweeted about etc. They could have at least added a throw away line like, “This is so going viral!” I should know. I am an Internet geek. We talk about these things. Even if they could not officially use the names of these outlets they could have made some up like Viewtube, Zwitter or Friendbook. Imagine if throughout the movie they intercut scenes of people watching Robbie’s cam online reacting to what they’re seeing!
Scream 4 was fun, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it a little, but it could have been so much better if they had a cowriter that understood new media’s affect on current day teens. It felt more like Scary Movie 5 than an actual Scream movie. This movie was like a love letter from Wes Craven to Wes Craven; from the poster of The Hills Have Eyes in the background, to Hayden Panettiere’s character Kirby name checking all of the recent remakes including several Wes Craven movies (Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street) in response to a question asked by Ghostface. Then finally having Sidney say, “Don’t fu¢k with the original.”
It was better than Scream 3, so there’s that. I’d watch it if it came on TV, but I don’t like it enough to buy it on DVD.

Edited to add: Did anyone else catch Everett McGill (Daddy/Eldon Robeson from The People Under the Stairs) as one of the news reporters? I wonder if the other reporters were from other Wes Craven movies.

Edited to ad also this funny clip from

© 2011 H.B. Walker All Rights Reserved 

7 thoughts on “Scream 4 | Horror Movie Review

  1. @ Heis, great comment! I've read that there were quite a few rewrites, so maybe that's how it ended up so hack kneed. To answer your question, yes I usually use the page break before spoilers, but I did not intend for there to be such a large gap of space there. I'll see what I can do to fix that.


  2. I agree with you, but would take it a bit further; I thought they dropped the ball on the community identity thing. Personally I think it would have been a great film if they'd gone full satire, and headed in the direction that practically all the new characters were killers who had banded together briefly to get to the end point (as in, one survivor gets all the fame) but end up having a crazy off and trying to kill each other real quick at the end when the plan goes awry and the Police are coming too soon. But that's just me.Incidentally, I was wondering if you use the line breaks instead of leaving a paragragh before spoilers? x


  3. I always read ur reviews b4 deciding on a movie ur reviews let me kno if i should spend da money at da movies wait till dvd or tv or if i should bust my head tryin to find a bootleg copy on da net. I like ur writing style juss enough info not to give away da whole movie. I'll pass on dis movie till it comes out on dvd to rent it not buy it. "don't fuk wit da original" lol


  4. I agree. It was a fun watch but I don't think I'll pay to see it again. I think that there were too many re-writes also and it showed. BTW Courtney Cox is overrated. She's not pretty. She's alarmingly skinny and her face is sucked in…..she was scarier than the Ghostface killer (not to be confused with Ghostface Killah)


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