Movie Review: Scream 4 (The REALLY Short Version)
By Tom Houseman
December 22, 2011
Recently, another member of the BOP writing staff, Tom Douglass (whom I shall from now on refer to as either Tom 2 or Fake Tom), decided to review the first ninety-four minutes and twelve seconds of Scream 4. I think this is a wise decision, as the Scream trilogy plus one is one of my favorite film series and I love every minute of every Scream movie except for the finale of Scream 4. What is extra painful is that in the first three movies, my favorite parts that do not involve Randy are the confessions of the killers. When Randy declared “it's the millennium. Motives are incidental,” it blew my mind. These were the movies that were meta and self-referential before it was cool to be meta and self-referential. When everyone else was still getting used to the idea of being ironic, Scream was already post-ironic.
So I was curious to read Tom 2's thoughts on Scream 4, especially ignoring everything to do with Emma Roberts (I'll give Rory Culkin a pass because I love all those beautiful Culkin boys). But when he began talking about the opening sequence, I realized that while Fake Tom's intentions were good, he just didn't get it. When you describe the first couple of scenes of Scream 4 as “interesting in a couple of respects” and “a little inconsequential,” it is clear to me that you just don't get how extraordinary what Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven are doing is. The phrases you should be using are “totally fucking brilliant” and “holy shit I can't stop orgasming I probably need to go to the hospital but that would tear me away from this mind blowing work of cinematic genius.”
However, since Fake Tom included neither of these phrases, it is up to me to step up and correct this grievance. Overall, Scream 4 is not nearly as good as any of the first three, and it's entirely possible that I'll never watch it again. Except for that opening sequence, which is by far the best part of any of the four Scream films, and which I could watch over and over again for eternity. Since Tom dropped the ball, I will pick up that ball and throw it at your face like you're a fat kid in a dodge ball game, with my review of the first five minutes and thirty-five seconds of Scream 4. I will try to get across to you, dear reader, as well as any other Tom's out there, why these first two scenes are not just hilarious, but perfectly encapsulate everything that the Scream movies are trying to do.
The First Scene
The challenge facing the new Scream film is to fit the formula of the first three films while still remaining fresh and original. When audiences go to see Scream 4, there will be certain things they expect. How then, can Williamson and Craven placate the audience expectations while still being able to surprise them? The first two sequels did this so effectively because they were able to constantly change the rules. The second one played with the idea of a sequel, and with it the notion of a copycat killer. Scream 2 also introduced the Stab series, a self-referential way to explore horror movie killers, an idea already established in Scream.