Before going to see this, I had already watched all 3 installments of the 'Scream' franchise. The first two left me impressed. The third, meh. So I didn't go in with a lot of expectations. I pretty much went to see this only because a part of me wanted to 'complete' the franchise. I expected a lot of stabbing, some more stabbing, some close calls, a few jumps, a very loose connection to the character Sydney Prescott, and some laughs. The movie brought a wee bit more to the table than I expected.
When Sidney Prescott, now a successful writer who has chronicled her experiences and built herself back together through her writings, returns to her hometown after ten years, she is once again revisited by the Ghostface Killer. Her cousin, Jill Roberts, played by Emma Roberts, who is that cute little kid who used to be on that Nickoledeon show 'Unfabulous', finds herself pulled into the whole mess, receiving death threats from the Ghostface Killer.
This being the 4th installment, Scream 4 has no choice but to make fun of itself and the Hollywood obsession, of which it is a part of, with stretching out like laughy taffy considerably impressive standalone movies into long franchises. The first striking thing about the movie was perhaps all of the celebrities that did a cameo in the beginning for the fake movie franchise 'Stab' within the real 'Scream' movie franchise, based off of Sydney Prescott's horror story with the Ghostface Killer. We had Anna Paquin from 'True Blood', and a lot of celebrities who appeal to a younger audience like Lucy Hale from 'Pretty Little Liars', Shanae Grimes and of course Emma Roberts, so if you hoped your teen at home wasn't going to watch this slasher flick, those names probably helped rope them in. If you'd added Robert Pattinson in this, one can only imagine what the lines at your movie theatre to see this would've looked like.
I can appreciate that Scream 4 doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's another installment using some of the same trends that made the franchise famous. A slasher flick like this has to poke fun at itself and try its best to jolt you as much as it can in the process. If you're gonna actually use that fried, dried and overused trend of girls at home alone, watching a horror movie, and then they get that mysterious call from a killer, you have to make fun of the trend and put a little spin on it where you can. From the beginning Scream 4 lets you know what it's about but adds a bit more. Sydney's in trouble. The spin is, so is her adorable cousin. We've got the same bumbling police force, complete with Dewie being the sheriff, his bug-eyed 'Betty Crocker' deputy with a thing for him, and this guy (who brings on the funny in any movie he enters):
Perhaps the only real things, besides the humor, that I liked about this movie were the end and the 'whodunit' process of trying to figure out who the killer was. I actually heard a lot of people in the theatre trying some guesswork.This is what it sounds like in a Jamaican theatre:
"No sah, look pon him good! A di boyfriend a di killa. Look how him creepy like Edward from Twilight."
Scream did a nice job of casting suspicion on minor characters. From Jill's mother, to the deputy with a thing for Dewie, the boyfriend, to the two police officers, to even one of Jill's friends. The end was the most surprising where we find out that Jill, Sydney's sweet little cousin trying to avoid the obsessive boyfriend, is the Ghostface Killer, along with a know-it-all horror movie buff and student.
This is where I give credit where credit is absolutely due. Emma Roberts' scenes at the end during her reveal and attempt to finally finish off Sydney were impressive. I never knew this girl had such acting chops. She went from cute and sweet to psycho in a heartbeat like someone smashed her Ipad or something and didn't say sorry. In the end, fame and fortune is revealed to be her motivator, and she tries to eliminate everyone else to become the ultimate heroine. She's tired of being left out of the spotlight in a family that revolves around Sydney. While at first you may not believe fame or even feeling like the Watson to Sydney's Sherlock Homes are convincing motivators for the character Jill, this is pretty much art imitating life. Nowadays, fame is the ultimate goal for people, and as Emma's character points out, you don't need to do much to become famous. If you haven't seen Jersey Shore, you might not know what I'm talking about.
The movie didn't really impress me until the end with Emma Roberts' performance, but I did enjoy the fact that the movie kept me guessing. It was a nice little distraction from writing. If I had to give this a rating, I'd probably give it a C+.