'Scream 4' Review By Bryan Yentz
... Isn't simply a testament to a once lauded director's fall from grace, but a hollow-brained misperception of what horror used to be-not is anymore...
Yeah. . .
And maybe Russell Brand will someday be funny. . . I'd sooner wait for pigs to fly.
SCRE4M? SCRE-FOUR-M? Whatever, SCREAM 4--We's most recent failure--isn't simply a testament to a once lauded director's fall from grace, but a hollow-brained misperception of what horror used to be-not is anymore. Much like the once excellent John Carpenter or the zombie-man himself, George Romero, Wes Craven has continued to pump out horror films without any conception of what horror has become. While they were once gods of the genre, they've completely failed to evolve with the changing times. As if through pure stubbornness, they've detached themselves from our generation's development in fear-inducing cinema; desperately clutching to what was--not is. With the likes of the first HOSTEL, the first SAW, THE DESCENT, FRONTIER(S), BROTHEHOOD OF THE WOLF, ACOLYTES, THE SIGNAL, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, TRICK R' TREAT, etcetera; it's fair enough to say that the rules of the game have changed, yet none of the once archetypes of the medium have seen fit to rewrite the rules of engagement.
What's infinitely worse is that with SCREAM 4, Craven continues to act as if he knows what horror is. Practically every scene of this repetitive slasher is that of dialogue describing the recent trends of horror; the new rules. Yet, that's ALL it does. It doesn't follow through with what it preaches; a hypocrite of celluloid.
This massive yawn of a picture begins with an incredibly monotonous introduction before moving into the actual meat of what little plotline there actually is. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell of the original trilogy) returns to the little town where so much bloodshed took place in hopes that she might promote her book detailing her trials with Ghostface. While here, unlikeable kids begin to die and everyone begins pointing the finger in question as to whom the copycat killer is--especially against that of Sydney. From here, the film pollutes every scene with insipid dialogue about horror remakes, the types of characters who are allowed to live and die, blah, blah, blah. Remember the first one? Okay, it's that again, but no progression in theory has been made. Upon the nth time some idiotic, husk of a character began wailing about cinematic conventions, I wanted to reach in and kill them myself--guarantee they wouldn't be able to call that one. After having seen the utter brilliance of satirical slashing that was BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON, everything after just seems trite, empty and pretentious. SCREAM 4 talks the talk, but can't make one step in walking the walk. Wes has decided to inform unknowledgeable audiences about the genre without adding ANYTHING new or even entertaining to it himself. Okay, you name-drop and quote famous horror flicks, good job, you're not getting a medal, Craven. This feature is bloated with inane dialogue which chastises stereotypes and the routes horror as taken, yet it does EVERYTHING that it vituperates!
Every kill is grossly foreshadowed leaving absolutely no tension or shock. Characters are as empty, soulless and stupid as they come. The script's attempt at humor is more embarrassing than a cast member of the JERSEY SHORE (don't even get me started on the bullet-proof vest faint). The music sounds as if it was ripped from a 90's straight-to-DVD B-movie. The acting is some of the worst to have ever befallen a mainstream film. And the final "twist" is completely laughable since none of its gravitas was remotely mentioned beforehand--it fails proper storytelling as a means to a cheap, uninspired, "Gotcha!" SCREAM 4 is scattered every which way. It doesn't understand what it wants to be in the least. Does it want to be a horror movie with campy elements--the other way around? Does it want to be taken seriously? Does it want to be a template for horror films to come? I'm really not sure. Not one single portion of the film surprised me in the least, let alone entertained me. Not even old material has been presented in an interesting light, leaving a shell of a film that thinks it's cleverer than it actually is.
For anyone with even a remote understanding of the horror genre, this is a piece of drivel dropped from the maw of someone who long ago lost touch with what makes this style of cinema so great. SCREAM 4 is so obsessed with being different that it ends up being the same thing it attempts to satirically crucify. Yet another strike against a director who, well. . . Just doesn't get it anymore.