To watch a sequel to movie to which you are devoted in advance – after more than a decade of abstinence -, pump you up with expectations. In those terms, there are three paths to follow: to be disappointed with the results; to have all of your wishes fulfilled or; to have something new on your way. To me, Scream 4 is all about the third road.
Some people believe that this film is about passing the tradition to the next generation, that in some ways is true, but the dogmas and the essence remains: the harsh social critique to the media still is what makes the Screamverse to roll. The massive exploratory immersion of the media into tragedies, serial killers and the subsequent trivialization of this topics made some of us harder, but some of us apathetic – and this is reflected on Woodsboro.
The major difference in this chapter is due an elevation on the language that made the first one so clever. The meta talk created by Kevin Williamson is subverted in modern high class humor that lasts to the final frame – and this is the element that separates Scream 4 from the contemporary torture porn (genre leaded by movies like Saw and Hostel) that populates the horror shelves nowadays.
Not saying that the fourth is completely aseptic, because those kinds of movies changed completely the terror scenario in the past few years. Scream 4 is the bloodiest Scream ever: self-mutilation and close ups of guts spilled made into the cut, but suspense isn’t the main focus, the self referential comedy is. This balance was broken to transform the movie into something original. It is a complete reinvention of the saga and everyone involved in the process.
Not saying that this isn’t scary either… This is a Wes Craven movie, and that signature is a guarantee that you’ll be at the edge of your seat. That’s because of his talent on creating paranoia and creepiness all over the place, with freshness and agility. He is the man that can make the perfect transition between the two generations exploring each one with mastery.
Scream 4 is all about this transition and the emergence of a Ghost Face 2.0 – the constant changing technology pretty much puts the Scream alumni (headed by Sidney Prescott, Sheriff Dewey Riley and Gale Weathers-Riley) into LOTS of trouble. To witness this shock and revisit them, is always a pleasure. And so it is to meet the new characters, that simply ride the new versions of what we used to know.
But even this familiarity can be an illusion. Nothing will ever be the same again…