Posted by Spencer Koch | Posted in Entertainment Guide | Posted on 13-04-2011
Sequels scare me – because they’re usually so lame.
If You Go
Star rating: Three Stars
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Emma Roberts
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Kevin Williamson
Running time: 111 minutes
Rating: R (for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking)
Where: Entertainment Cinemas in South Dennis; Heritage Theaters in Sandwich; Regal Cinemas in Harwich, Hyannis and Mashpee
“Scream 4” is scary in the right way – though it’s likely to produce more laughs than nightmares.
That’s been the appeal of the series.
With the first “Scream,” released 15 years ago (!), horrormeister Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson (“Dawson’s Creek”) turned the terror genre on its head by calling attention to, and spoofing, all of its cliches while still providing a bloody, albeit comical, chiller. It turned out to be a terrific combination, funny and scary, leading to the successful, entertaining franchise that continues with this fourth edition.
Craven and Williamson waste no time in setting the right tone, with a few false starts, featuring surprise guests, that represent the “Scream” approach at its best.
From there, the story proceeds with series protagonist Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returning to the hometown where she’s seen so much bloodshed to promote her new book, in which she details her efforts to leave her life as a victim to emerge as a new person. Naturally, a cloaked, ghost-masked killer starts phoning and slaughtering people in true “Scream” style.
Deputy Dewey (David Arquette, once again providing the funniest character), now the sheriff, and former tabloid journalist Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), both still in town and married, lead the investigation.
New characters, potential killers or victims, include Dewey’s deputy (Marley Shelton), who has a crush on him; Sidney’s obnoxious publicity rep (Alison Brie); Sidney’s teenage cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts); Jill’s creepy mom (Mary McDonnell); Jill’s party-girl pal Kirby (Hayden Panettiere); and several other high school kids who happen to be slasher-film fans.
A large part of the fun is guessing who’s behind the mask. It could be one of the new characters; it could be one of the old ones. Anything’s possible in this nutty burg – especially since this film is a lot more clever, and unpredictable, than the movies it spoofs.
To its credit, “Scream 4” also provides fresh, offbeat commentary on fast fame and celebrity obsession. But, more important, it’s just a lot of fun – as long as you don’t mind seeing red, lots of red.