Color me surprised, this turned out to be relatively good. A bit shocking after the third one to be honest. I was not expecting this much rejuvenation from a franchise I considered to be dead, buried and best be forgotten about. Maybe I need to reconsider my stance on the upcoming TV series adaptation from MTV, I’m suddenly in the mood for more Ghostface stabbing teenagers.
In a way this was very nostalgic experience. I practically grew up watching the Scream films, so seeing the familiar faces again was both fun and odd, thanks to how everyone who survived the previous movies is already middle aged at this point. That of course meant that they’ve had to create an entirely new generation of young kids to kill as cannon fodder, to fill in the age gap so they can recapture the old teen scary movie aspect. And that resulted in this queer combination of being a direct sequel to the previous movies while also almost being a quasi reboot due to the necessity of featuring and in part focusing on a younger cast going through the Ghostface murder, for obvious dramatic purposes. And of course the movie is once again horribly meta, as we see just by the opening of the movie, so it gets some great mileage of this hybrid format.
While the fourth installment does redeem much of the failures of the franchise, largely concerning the stink of the third one, it still does suffer slightly from the obvious fact that it’s a sequel. You can predict certain elements of it very easily and it feels relying heavily on nostalgia, though the movie does appropriately play around with that in a meta way, so you’re able to forgive most of the sequel trappings. The movie does fail pretty badly in getting you properly invested with the new generation, and that does lessen the impact of the climax where they serve a large role as the kids being stabbed to death. The death scenes weren’t particularly elaborate or exciting this time around, but they did manage to a degree capture that frantic “omg there is a knife wielding lunatic chasing me!” feeling that made the previous films so fun to watch. Still, more stalking would have been nice. One particular aspect I’m very satisfied with was the way they went with Ghostface’s motivation. It ties to Sidney in a logical way without being as convoluted as the third one was with her secret half-brother who was revealed to have had direct hand at giving the spark to the murder sprees from the previous movies. This could have very easily been another crappy and shallow sequel nobody wanted, but Wes Craven is good at his craft and manages to charm you enough to want to perhaps see Sidney Prescott revisited in a possible fifth and final Scream movie.