I’m going to begin this review by prefacing my own personal bias towards this series of films. I grew up on the Scream franchise – these films were my go to scary movies throughout my early teen years. Ghost face was my Michael Meyeers, and it is difficult for me to think of any slasher film franchise that I have enjoyed as much as I did the Scream franchise. Unfortunately, Scream 3 left a bad taste in my mouth – perhaps I was getting too old, or perhaps it was just a bad movie. Either way, years later, the fact that I did not enjoy the third film on the same level as the previous two is what ultimately kept me from seeing Scream 4 on the big screen. This is a decision I wish I could take back.
Last night I had the opportunity to watch Scream 4 on blu-ray. I began the film with less than enthusiastic expectations and was quickly proven how wrong I was. Scream 4 is a breath of fresh air in a stale, moldy basement. One of the film’s most enduring qualities is that it manages to make fun of its own genre while at the same time still managing to take itself seriously and tell a relatively compelling story. There were moments in this film that genuinely made me laugh out loud (most of these were within the first five or so minutes). The performances in this film were not any better or worse than the previous installments of the franchise – the actors do well with the characters they are given and each has a role to fill in the mythology. There were moments of laughter and there were definitely moments that made me jump and cringe. Scream 4 successfully played on a wide range of the emotional spectrum.
Still, there were aspects of the film that did fall flat. The ending in particular was extremely over the top, but again they were trying to poke fun at the genre and in this regard, they were successful. Unfortuantely, in my opinion the film crossed the line from poking fun to being overly cliche, and this ultimately detracted from my personal enjoyment of the ending.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie – it was a great trip into the past for me and brought all of the things to the table that I love to see in a slasher film and delivered on most of them spectacularly. Be warned, however, if you didn’t care for the previous movies at all or if you haven’t actually seen a Scream film, you probably shouldn’t watch this one just yet.