Looking Back at 2010s Films: Scre4m (2011)

12 Oct

scream-4-1.jpg

By Tanner Smith

I didn’t like “Scream 4”–oh I’m sorry, I mean “Scre4m”–when I first saw it in theaters. But after watching it again fairly recently, I’ve warmed up to it. It still has its annoying and/or unnecessary moments (the parking-garage scene, the dumb cops, the epilogue), but…at least it’s better than “Scream 3.”

What DO I like about it? Honestly, I think what I like most about it is what the ending means when you think about the movie in hindsight and watch it again with the knowledge. (Yep, “Scre4m” is another one of those “watch-it-more-than-once movies,” in which you learn something new from subsequent viewings.) I won’t give it away here, but I’ll just say it’s kind of a brilliant revelation that shows the increasingly blurred line between celebrity and monster. (It also makes certain characters I thought were bland before even more interesting now.)

I also like the little bits of commentary here and there. (“One generation’s tragedy is another generation’s joke.”) I love the opening prologue with its horror-movie fakeouts and satirical jabs at some of the more annoying horror-movie tropes (such as how certain franchises run on fumes and just do what they can to stay afloat). And I really like Kirby, played wonderfully by Hayden Panettierre–she’s a movie geek with an admiration for the genre, an acid tongue, and thankfully a heart.

I don’t dislike “Scre4m” (I’m going to keep calling it that–it’s like when the “Fantastic Four” poster labeled it “Fant4stic”) as much as I did before. I sort of admire it now. Like “Scream” and “Scream 2,” it knew how to blend horror and comedy well, it knew when to scare and when to spoof and when to provide social commentary (well, for the most part, at least–there are still some forced moments here and there), and unlike “Scream 3,” it actually felt like a “Scream” movie.

Wait…this is a horror sequel about the same woman (Sidney, played by Neve Campbell) who survived a traumatic event years ago, comes back to the place where it all happened, more killings occur involving her and her relatives, and she has to deal with the whole thing again…that sounds almost exactly like the 2018 version of “Halloween!”

Side-note: the “Scream” franchise tries to talk about the rules of horror movies, but lately, I think horror movies are more effective when there are new rules or when there are NO rules. I mean, how can the horror-movie game be changed if the rules stay the same?

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