Horror films have been in a steady decline for the past few years with countless remakes and sequels to some of the most loved horror franchises. After an 8 year hiatus, Wes Craven resurrects the seemingly dead Scream series with some fantastic results. Scream 4 does for horror what the original did way back in 1996; it carves out a new direction for what has been a lifeless genre.
Scre4m sees Neve Campbell return as Sidney Prescott alongside the much loved Courtney Cox and David Arquette as Gale Riley (previously Weathers) and Dewey Riley respectively. This time, the story focuses on Sidney Prescott returning to her hometown of Woodsboro promoting a book about her life. Of course, this is Scream; so it’s not all plain sailing and her arrival beckons the return of ‘Ghostface’ and his (or her) grisly murders.
The first Scream was well-known for poking fun at the genre and the latest instalment is no exception. It wraps a sublime mix of comedy and self-awareness with the sharp horror which made the first trilogy such a hit. The success in this film is that it never takes itself too seriously, and neither do the cast who look like they’re having a bloody good time. 8 years on and they don’t look like they’re too long in the tooth for this kind of madness, which is an unusual thing. By far the standout performance is from Courtney Cox who slips seamlessly back into the role of Gale and shows the audience why she was the perfect choice for her part.
However, it isn’t all about the veteran stars, some new talent joins the ranks and what better place to start than in a film which has the opportunity of revitalising a tarnished and battered genre. Nico Torterella joins the franchise as Trevor Sheldon, playing a similar part to that of Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis in the original. Torterella, with his limited characterisation does very well and steps into the shoes of the creepy ex-boyfriend role exceptionally. But who is he the ex-boyfriend of I hear you cry? Well, Emma Roberts comes to the series for the first time as Jill Roberts, Sidney Prescott’s cousin. Emma plays the part well and in fact provides some of the standout lines throughout the entire film.
Anna Paquin also gets a short cameo in the introduction of the film; much like Drew Barrymore did in the first.
Scream 4 is much like the first with its comedic timing and as such is one of the better instalments in the series, stopping short of being the best. It has been directed very well but is slightly too long and the constant guessing game of who is to blame for the murders can wear thin if you’re not in the mood for Cluedo. The fantastic characters, portrayed brilliantly by their real-life counterparts and the excellent story really are the highlights of a film which has succeeded in what it set out to achieve. Here, 8 years on from Scream 3 and 15 years; yes 15 years on from the original, Scream 4 revitalises the horror genre and is in every respect, brilliant.