Scream 4

Scream 4 film poster, keeping in with the style of the first three films

The Scream films have always lived in infamy. Being the kings of the modern slasher sub-genre, with high production values and a range of high profile actors, it’s easy to see why Scream is so popular. The twists in the plot are unexpected, because this genre especially plays about with conventions and audience expectations. The director (Wes Craven) knows his audience well and can subvert and delight them by knowing exactly what they expect.

But aside from the generic nature as well as it’s post-modernism tones (reworking the idea of movies within movies for example), it kept the attention. Miss King is detailing a Scre4m themed blog about the story, so I’ll tackle the visuals. While there were few jump-out-of-your-seat moments, the setting was suitably dark, especially in the ratio of daytime to night scenes. The blood and gore were obviously a major factor, with typical if surprising methods of execution. I won’t go into details, as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but I will say that it is often creative.

The repetition of the idea of a “next generation” is systematically worked in several levels, including the methods and technology. Although this does lead on to the concept of, but not discussing snuff films. For anyone unfamiliar with the idea of snuff films, they’re films where people actually get hurt. Often they’re vicious and brutal, and people will be killed. On the screen. Without special effects. Thankfully, being a Hollywood horror, no actors were harmed in the making of this film.

Some of the big names: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Mary McDonnel, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Heather Graham, Anthony Anderson and even a Culkin (Rory)!

The references to other horror films come thick and fast – if a bit too obvious. Virtually every major horror film since the 70’s are referenced in some way, and not just in dialogue (although quotes from the films integrated into regular dialogue would have worked better – Shaun of the Dead for instance used the phrase “We’re coming to get you Barbara”, a line taken in a completely different context in the original Night of the Living Dead). Overall, there’s been fairly few major horror films of this type recently, instead going for the psychological and physical grotesqueness of the Saw films (which is also referenced multiple times), numerous takes on the zombie and vampire genre or supernatural horrors such as Final Destination (another one referenced).

It’s nice to know that the good ol’ slasher, especially of this magnitude (one of the biggest in Hollywood I would argue) can still remain fresh yet familiar. A fine line that is difficult to walk.


7 Comments on “Scream 4”

  1. Emily says:

    I do honestly believe the film was set in the night time more than the previous three.

  2. Tiny Temper says:

    Hmm… can’t comment on this one as I’ve not seen it. I still can’t decide about the other three – were they great spoof comedic-horror- dramas, or just really naff films?

    The jury’s still out on that one!

    • I think the makers knew what they were doing and about the genre, so I would argue that they’re not naffy. But they do play with the genre, so I’d say light parodies.

      • Emily says:

        The Scary Movie franchise (at least the first film) is definitely a spoof of the first Scream film. In my experience with the Scream franchise, I’d say they’re meant to be taken as serious slasher films that know their genre.

        There’s humour in there, because it balances out the horror that happens on screen. And that’s horror that’s genuinely scary, unlike the crap they pull of in the Scary Movie franchise.

  3. moviegeek says:

    That’s the problem for me. It was just too familiar .
    If the aim is to re-define the rules for the new generation, they fail completely, as this feels just like a cash-in exercise and an excuse to revive something by re-hashing and regurgitating everything that we have already seen.
    Behind all the talk about going against the clichés and trying to ridicule the various the character-less horror of the last few years, there is actually very little new. There a sense of Déjà-vu throughout and (aside from its far fetched ending) it is all rather predictable in its non-predictability.
    Admitting a theft (or a reference) may ease the conscience, but it certainly doesn’t make it OK, nor it makes it a good film…. Also, it might make it funny, but certainly not scary!!
    I LOVED the first Scream, but this is just tired… Still enjoyable, but they should really stop before it becomes the parody of itself…

  4. moviegeek says:

    By the way. Nice blog!

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