Movie Review: Scream 4 (Short Version)
The First Ninety-Four Minutes and Twelve Seconds of Scream 4
By Tom Douglass
December 13, 2011
But at this point, it gets really interesting. Jill betrays the young Culkin, killing him and setting him up for the fall. She then turns her blade on Sidney herself, accomplishing the murder that so many Ghostfaces had failed to do through four installments. Jill then proceeds to elaborately cover her tracks, by impaling her own shoulder on the knife and leaving it near another teenager, then (in one of the best shots of the entire movie) running full throttle face first into a glass picture on the wall and then throwing herself through a glass table. She then curls up next to Sidney in a mirror image of her recently deceased aunt as the sirens approach from outside.
This is a fantastic ending, and gives the franchise a welcome shot in the arm. We move from the now-tired “who is Ghostface?” mystery to an era where one of the killers has finally survived the bloodshed. Would Jill proceed from here to put the mask back on and take down a sequel full of victims in Scream 5? Would Sheriff Dewey and Gale be able to link a new string of killings to the events in TFNFMATSOS4, and bumble their way towards capturing the girl who escaped justice? These are far more interesting questions than anything a Scream audience has carried into a theater before, and kudos to Craven and Williamson for knowing they needed to mix up the formula a bit this time out.
TFNFMATSOS4 isn't a perfect film, but it's a fun time throughout that greatly exceeds the expectations set by a boring third film and decade-long hiatus. More importantly, it should make audiences demand a Scream 5. Considering that TFNFMATSOS4 seemed to be an unnecessary cash grab, that's an impressive feat. Giving you most of what you expected and hoped for, and a couple welcome surprises, TFNFMATSOS4 successfully brings back the fun of '90s horror for a welcome and enjoyable evening at the movies.
Editor's note: If you would like to take the Scream 4 test, here is what you need to do. When the movie is at 94 minutes and 12 seconds, a significant shot of two people on the floor should be onscreen. Turn the film off at that point and consider it over. Determine how impressed you are by this conclusion. Later, go back and watch the final 15 minutes or so and decide which ending you want the movie to have. We at BOP have chosen the shorter version. Drop us a note and tell us whether you agree or disagree.