Scream 4 / Scre4m: 15 years after the Woodsboro Massacre, ghostface returns for another whodunnit. The biggest failing of this fourth outing is the copious number of drawn-out, boring, unrealistic, painfully ‘meta’ dialogue-based scenes – executed by a bunch of smug ‘teens’ with a
hardcore superficial knowledge of the horror genre. The level of self-awareness in Scream 4 is so high that it’s genuinely hard to gauge and continually courts with ‘spoof‘? Despite being promised a ‘New decade, new rules’, what we actually get is a fifteen year old concept with some glaring modern references that stick out big time: social media / hand held footage / torture porn… To further challenge your pain threshold the knife-fodder cast are the epitome of boring, the ending isn’t too hard to figure out from the middle of the film, there’s still no nudity (the most common thread in all horror films!) – also, where’s everyone’s parents when this is all hitting the fan? There are a few standout moments, but they’re few and far between: the speech about victim culture and modern ‘celebrity/fame’ is memorable – and the opening 10 minutes with the Stab franchise was a smart way to start the movie. Unfortunately, this relies too much on the tricks of the original film (namely self-awareness), which seems a tad cheesy after so many ‘Scary Movie’ movies. Unnecessary money-making remake.
Hamlet 2: a melodramatic drama teacher has to inspire a bunch of underachieving Latinos to turn his sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet into a successful production and save his department. There are a few funny parts, but the play at the end is the only real winner. The rest of the laughs stem from shock value: ‘face rape’, Christian-bashing, gay jokes and a lot of Steve Coogan’s ass – probably won’t help you break America Steve! The main song ‘Rock me sexy Jesus’ is totally catchy, but could have been better. The story plods along quite predictably and is a jumble of Dangerous Minds, Summer Heights High and Jerry Springer the Opera. With Pam Brady’s track record on South Park BLU, Team America and Hot Rod (not to mention the likes of Catherine Keener Amy Poehler, David Arquette and comic genius Steve Coogan) you expect a bit more from this.
Scream: looking back, this film is totally bizarre. A horror movie about ‘teens’ being aware that they’re living out a stereotypical slasher scenario. Aimed at fans of the genre it’s full of clichés and a classic horror references; both explicitly and through visual homage. Although it’s very gory the humor and self-referencing irony ruins the potential scariness of the film. The high level of ‘borrowed’ content also detracts from how unique the concept of scream was. Ultimately, it became the phenomenon that kick-started a new wave of horror films (& parodies) and although it’s a bit self-indulgent, I take my hat off to Craven for continually pushing the envelope. It also left me wondering what ever happened to the perky Neve Campbell and Rose McGowan? An instant classic that’s entertaining, original, quotable and is ingrained in so many peoples brains all these years on. There’s word on Scream 4 coming out next year, better dig out your box set! Do you like scary movies?