The last Scream came out eleven years ago. Usually, this would lead one to assume that he or she was safe from any subsequent features. But alas, Scream simply could not be left untouched as a trilogy. Still, what separates Scream from other horror franchises is the fact that screenwriter Kevin Williamson is self-aware enough to know how to keep audiences coming back for more without feeling like they're trying to be duped into watching something that is totally mindless. This is, after all, the creator of Dawson's Creek. He knows how to write dialogue. And this is typically the ingredient missing from most horror movies.
It is a remarkable victory in and of itself when the same director and writer are willing to make another cycle of the same movie, but it is even more incredible when all of the original (remaining) actors are on board as well--particularly when they all have to star alongside a gaggle of twelve year olds that include Emma Roberts as Jill Roberts (Sidney's cousin), Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed (Jill's friend), Marielle Jaffe as Olivia Morris (also Jill's friend), and Rory Culkin as Charlie Walker (the resident movie geek). The "revitalizing" cast definitely sheds a harsh light on Courtney Cox's plastic surgery.
Scream 4, while not comparable to the classic first one by any means, trumps its predecessors in that the message--as well as who the killer is--seems to come entirely out of left field. Without revealing the identity behind that ghost-faced mask, it is significant to share his (or her) following quotes:
"I don't need friends. I need fans."
"What am I supposed to do? Go to college? Grad school? Work?"
The telling nature of these utterance is Kevin Williamson's harsh stance on how our culture has reached a point where nothing disgusts it. A person will go to any lengths for fame, regardless of how crude or destructive the requirements are to reach that sought after state of notoriety.
Although this satirical and vitriolic aspersion on fame is the essence of Scream 4, the main highlight of the film--apart from the most self-referential opening scene of all time--is the party thrown by Charlie (Culkin) as head of the Cinema Club. In honor of the fifteenth anniversary of the Woodsboro murders, Cinema Club has a Stab marathon that doubles as a costume party. Gail Weathers (Cox), in a bid to reinvigorate her fledgling career, finds the location of the party and awkwardly dances around in a Scream/Stab mask so she can blend in and find out who the killer is. For some reason, I just enjoy seeing jealousy-invoking party scenes that make you think, "I want to be in this fucking frame right now." Kevin Williamson, you've come a long way from that Savage Garden soundtracked dance in season one of Dawson's Creek, and it's nice to see you adapt while still maintaining your singular voice. As for you, Wes Craven, I'm still trying to forgive you for Red Eye.