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Movie Review: Scream 4 (The REALLY Short Version)

By Tom Houseman

December 22, 2011

Scream: The Gossip Girl Years

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Paquin continues her rant. “A bunch of articulate teens sit around deconstructing horror movies until Ghostface kills them one by one,” she says, and the irony is palpable. “It's been done to death, the whole self-aware post-modern meta shit.” Okay, so in the first scene Williamson was ripping on torture porn, and now he's ripping on... the Scream movies? True, Scream was self-aware, post-modern and meta before any of those things were cool. And we expect Williamson to bring something new to the table this time around, but is he really just going to continue the same Scream shtick while at the same time mocking it? Additionally, this scene is even more on the nose than the last one was. And where the heck is Ghostface?

“I like the Stab movies,” responds Veronica Mars (why can I not remember that girl's name? And why do I refuse to Google it?), “they're scarier. It's not aliens or zombies or little Asian ghost girls. There's something real about a guy with a knife who just {dramatic pause as Paquin opens her soda} snaps.” This line is actually quite beautiful, and defends the Scream movies on a level beyond just “look how clever they are.” These movies have always been very realistic, and there is a power in having real people as killers, people who know the people they are killing and have real motives, even though in the 21st Century, motives are of course incidental. Of course, there is a silliness in talking about how these are real people, since the characters in the Scream movies are fictional and therefore, by definition they are not real people.




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After having offered up his defense, Williamson continues to rail against his own series while simultaneously fucking with all of our heads. As Paquin continues to mock the Stab movies (“these sequels don't know when to stop, they just keep recycling the same shit”) that feeling in our stomachs that something is amiss continues to grow. There's no sign of Ghostface, no phone call from a wrong number. There has always been discussion of horror movie tropes in these movies, but it is usually earned, long after a few people have had their livers put in the mailbox next to their spleen and their pancreas. This feels out of place, wrong even. Especially after what happened in the last scene, suspicions abound.

And then pretty much the last thing that we could possibly expect to happen, happens. Veronica Mars (Kristen something? This is bugging me) pulls a knife out from her lap and jams it right into Anna Paquin's stomach. Wait, what? The scream movies are quick to bend the rules and twist the formula, but this isn't bending the rules. It's, well, shoving a knife into their stomach. “Did that surprise you?” Kristen Bell asks (I got it!), essentially saying it both to Anna Paquin and the audience. “Because you talk too much,” Bell explains, when Paquin, coughing blood, asks for an explanation as to what the heck just happened. “Now shut the fuck up and watch the movie.”


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