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Movie Review

Scream 4

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking.

Reviewed by: Christopher Walker
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Horror Thriller Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
April 15, 2011 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: October 4, 2011
Copyright, Dimension Films click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films

murder in the Bible

death

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

AFRAID OF THE DARK—How can I help my child to trust in God’s care when she is afraid at night? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

sin and depravity

Featuring: Kristen BellChloe
Hayden PanettiereKirby Reed
Emma RobertsJill Roberts
Adam BrodyDetective Hoss
Heather GrahamCasey
Lucy Hale … Sherrie
Anna PaquinRachel
David Arquette … Dewey Riley
Courteney Cox … Gale Weathers-Riley
more »
Director: Wes Craven
Producer: Corvus Corax Productions
Dimension Films
Midnight Entertainment
Outerbanks Entertainment
Wes Craven … producer
Iya Labunka … producer
more »
Distributor: Dimension Films

“New decade. New rules!”

To gear up for the fourth in the series, I re-watched the first “Scream” movie. I was too young to see it in the theater, as I was in high school, but it was my first insight into the horror movie genre. Looking back at the movie when viewing it again, I found Wes Craven’s film to be both ground-breaking while being both scary and humorous at the same time. The kids in the film watch horror films and know the rules, yet the irony is they have no idea they’re truly in a horror film and end up getting killed anyway. Kevin Williamson’s script was masterful, with all the pop culture references, and Craven’s masterful direction made it work, after all, he knows the ground rules because he made several of them before this movie—“Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Last House on the Left,” and “The Hills Have Eyes.”

It is now 10 years after the release of “Scream 3,” and I can finally go see this and review it as an adult now. The question: does “Scream 4” live up to the hype? The answer: Yes and no. “Scream 4” takes place a decade after the last movie, and the pop culture references are evident. This time, however, Craven decides to take a jab at the inevitable numerous sequels/remakes/reboots craze, in which, as one character puts it, everything in the horror movie rule book is thrown out the window, and a new set of rules are formed: there are no rules, everyone is privy to be next. And, yes, the original crew, including series’ writer Kevin Williamson, returns.

It is, also, a time to see what past characters are up to, and new characters are introduced: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the survivor of the previous films, has returned to Woodsboro on the last leg of her book tour, while Dewey (David Arquette) is now Sheriff and married to Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). Gale has become bored with her life in Woodsboro and has developed a case of writer’s block. Sidney’s arrival occurs on the 10th anniversary of the last group of killings, and, when she comes back to the town she thought she left behind, the body count begins again (which makes Gale happy, as she will have something new to write about now).

The new group of suspects include Sidney’s cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), her “horror cinema geek” friends Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) and Olivia Morris (Marielle Jaffe), blog nerds Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin) and Robbie Mercer (Erik Knudsen), Sidney’s publicist (Allison Brie), Deputy Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton), who knew Sidney from her high school days, and last, but not least, Jill’s creepy ex, Trevor Sheldon (Nico Tortorella).

The opening sequence shows promise, with its commentary on the state of horror films now days, with all the sequels and torture porn (and also comments on the recent Facebook craze, which was a great setup). It loses its commentary only halfway into the film and evolves much like a straight-out, no holds-barred horror film, but the commentary comes back in its neat twist ending that this reviewer did not see coming.

The reason this film works, and the reason this series continues to work, aside from the pop culture commentary/references, is that both Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson continue to focus on character development; something desperately lacking in most horror films now days. Whereas the original trilogy movies were two hours each, this movie runs below the 100 minute mark (minus the credits), which is sad: this was one movie that I would’ve liked to have seen run at least 15 or 20 more minutes, as some of the action felt a little rushed. Some characters are overused, while I felt some characters were underused, as well (Dewey and Emma Roberts come to mind).

In my honest opinion, this doesn’t live up to the original (most movies don’t), but, in terms of sequels, this is probably the best since the second movie. The series took a dark, sinister-like tone unlike the light subtlety of the original films (clearly seen in most of the film’s night shots and the climactic sequence), and, overall, becomes a worthy addition to the “Scream” series (and, by the way, all of Craven’s above-mentioned works have been remade).

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme (at least 33 “f” words, plus many misuses of God’s names, including “Jesus,” “Jesus Christ,” OMG (6), “Oh GD” (4), “For GD sakes,” “G-damn,” etc.) / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Editor’s Opinion: As with most horror films, “Scream 4” contains strong bloody violence, profane and vulgar language, bad attitudes, sick humor, and displays a generally unbiblical perspective on reality. Although arguably not as bad as some other horror movies, it will certainly not be uplifting or of genuine value to most true followers of Jesus Christ, and will tend to numb one’s God-given sensitivity to sinful violence, evil and suffering. Such movies can have other negative effects on mental and spiritual health. Buying a ticket, video or rental financially rewards the producers and investors who created this product, and encourages them to produce more of the same (or worse). This film is a poor, and likely harmful, use of a Christian’s entertainment budget. Use your money and time wisely. Skip it.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I love the Scream series! Okay, I am a Christian, but I love movies that have great acting and a great plot. There are movies though that I can’t stand and movies I love. One thing I don’t like about movies is nudity. I hate it! Anyway enough about the likes and dislikes of movies. The Scream series is perfect. No nudity! But there is a lot of cussing and blood and scary scenes. (Younger kids better not watch it.)

I loved “Scream 4” because it was between good and evil. We have Ghostface (bad) trying to get to Sydney (good) by killing her friends. Ghostface calls and tell her that she will die. When they meet, it’s obvious that the bad will go. But anyway, I thought this movie was great. I’m a big fan of the Scream series. Also, when I watch rated R movies, I do watch for the scripting and acting and special effects. I don’t care if they cuss. I know I don’t use language like that. But I wouldn’t let kids 17 years or younger see this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Aaron, age 18 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—When I saw “Scream 4,” two things went through my head. One was how good the suspense and mystery of it was and the other how good the characters interacted with each other. But setting the gruesome and bloody details. This movie has a small moral take to it and that is that trying to be someone else and seeking fame over god is never the answer and always is destined to fail. So if you like scary movies or a fan of the “Scream” series or just a fan of the characters in the movie, I recommend it. Obviously, you have to know that it is very much fiction and should never take one part of this movie seriously. Also, it is obviously not for kids. But in all… there a very much worse movies out there then this one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Charlie, age 22 (USA)
Negative

none