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Rated: R

Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.

Synopsis: In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (played by Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately Sidney’s appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger. The newest installment in the acclaimed franchise that ushered in a new wave of horror in the 1990s is written by series creator Kevin Williamson and directed by suspense master and director of the first trilogy, Wes Craven. The film stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox-Arquette, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton, Nico Tortorella, Marielle Jaffe, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Lucy Hale, Shanae Grimes, Aimee Teegarden and Brittany Robertson.

Review: Scream 4

The movie works as both a well-cast horror-comedy and a multiple-suspects mystery thriller. With Scream 4, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have just managed to push the slasher movie through the looking glass.

So what’s the big deal? Isn’t this just another Scream movie, with a higher bodycount and a more elaborate opening-scene death?

It is … until we get to the crucial scene where the killer is unmasked. From this point on, things get very, very interesting – and this is where Scream 4 pushes the slasher formula up to the next level.

See, the one thing that had always kept me from loving the Scream movies more than life itself was that I hated the central mystery. And let’s remember, Scream aren’t traditional slashers – they’re a specific subgenre we could call Mystery Killer slashers that force the potential victims to piece together a crime or long-lost mystery in order to identify their attacker and save themselves. Prom Night, Terror Train, The Prowler, My Bloody Valentine, and the original Friday the 13th similarly employed masked killers with agendas to propel the storyline, but in most cases the victims were too oblivious of their situations to do any proper sleuthing. In theScream franchise, the characters’ fundamental self-awareness empowered them to be more actively involved in the solving of the central mystery – and I think it is this active participation that made the movies the fun, interactive experience that they were.

I think that the ends more than justify the means – especially when the ends were the huge smile on my face when I left the theater.

Scream 4 was a sequel that had a massive amount of expectation attached to it, and I think that in terms of its aim to reinvent itself without losing what made the franchise so beloved in the first place (including its core three characters), it did a fantastic job. I’m only hoping that, like its Stab cousin, Scream 5 involves time-travel so that we can revisit this clever spin on the slasher formula again and again.

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