Although some like to roll their eyes at the lack of original ideas that persist in modern popular culture; it is hard to deny that we’re in a culture of remakes and recreations, as we revisit the past to repackage and resell it. In 2011, we all witnessed the reboot of the acclaimed slasher franchise, one that is more than willing to retain its wink to the camera, in Scream 4.
It’s been over a decade since the last murders in the quiet town of Woodsboro, society has changed, yet some things remain. Sidney is once again desperate to move on, after publishing her self-help book, she must return to her home to help with its promotion. Meanwhile, Gale is relatably suffering from writer’s block and decides to go back to where it all began for inspiration. However, the town of Woodsboro still lives in the shadow of the Ghostface killings 15 years ago. As the murders begin to resume upon Sidney’s return, all eyes are upon her, she must not only prove her innocence but protect her family and friends in Woodsboro. Now a new generation of teens faces against the legacy of Ghostface, can they stop it from being reborn?
Whereas the third film had its brilliant commentary on the effects of Hollywood, Scream 4 has embraced the era of web 2.0. The horror genre has evolved a bit since then, and the fictional Stab films are all too keen to comment on it. The prevalence of multiple sequels is a juicy target, and the increasing, shall we say, inventive ways their characters are dispatched is also smartly spoofed. The topic of the scarring that these killers would leave even decades after the killings have ceased remains the central thesis. However, the focus here is on the thorny issues of reboots, one that materialises in the plot in a trademark, meta way. As you’d expect from a slasher film, the kills are on point, and the series embrace of C.G.I. certainly helps bring a fresh twist to the exterminations.
While it wouldn’t be a Scream film without the return of Campbell, Cox, and Arquette, with a new generation comes some new faces to the town of Woodsboro. A lot of whom you will recognise from other work, such as Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed, a horror fanatic. Joining her is the brother of The Pizza Underground founder, and brother of Succession star, Rory Culkin also graces our screens with his portrayal of Charlie. Armed with a plethora of horror trivia, making him the next successor to Jamie Kennedy’s Randy. Scream Queen herself Emma Roberts is also delightful as Sidney’s cousin, along with Marley Shelton offers a new face for law enforcement as she dons the role of Deputy Hicks.
A new generation of fans who were born way after the original film’s debut are still loyal devotees of the franchise, like practically all the great horror franchises. Scream 4 deals with this all while providing a fitting epitaph to the career and legacy of Wes Craven. As we enter new eras of horror entertainment, some things retain their greatness, and Scream 4 shows when dealing with murderous meta films, you can go home again.
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