One Generation’s Tragedy is the Next One’s Joke in ‘Scream 4’

A new decade and generation of actors take the lead for 'Scream 4'

If your expectations are high, you’ll be disappointed. If your expectations are low, you’ll most likely get a kick out of the majority of the scenes. If your mindset is in the mid-1990s, then you’ll love it: Scream 4 is the 4th installment of the Scream series from director Wes Craven that, unfortunately, brings nothing new to the table. The film heavily relies on overdone horror twists, stereotypes of the millennial generation, and memorable scenes from the past Scream films. Contrary to the other installments, Craven boldly pokes fun at (and/or criticizes) several well-known horror series (SAW, Hostel, etc.) and, at times, his own series. As well, actress Emma Roberts, who portrays Jill Roberts – the younger cousin of Sidney Prescott, outshines legends Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette in her supporting role.

The film’s tagline “New Decade, New Rules” plays a significant role in the installment. We are introduced to a new generation that the film describes as intelligent, technologically advanced, impatient, and fame-hungry. Craven takes advantage of this message and uniquely directs his millenial generation cast (Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudson, Brittany Robertson and Lucy Hale) in playing out his idea. Each character portrays a certain stereotype of the current generation, and a big contrast of Gen-X and Millennial are rather noticeable. As well, the use of modern technology (text messaging, live streaming, and web cam) helps the film flow from beginning to end.

Because the film takes place over a decade later from the original, the younger crowd may not comprehend or even understand the purpose of the film. Craven brings back several memorable scenes with Ghostface Killer from the original film (perhaps for nostalgic purposes), but – if I were 17 or under – those “nostalgic” scenes would leave some head-scratching and confusion. Perhaps Craven takes advantage of this; after all, “one generation’s tragedy is the next one’s joke”.

In ways, the purpose of the 4th film makes sense, but there are moments where you will question exactly why Scream 4 was given the time of day in the first place. With so much reliance on the previous films, was it truly necessary to know how Sidney Prescott and the gang are doing nowadays? Sure, Craven makes interesting points here and there, but how effective would it have been if he used his younger characters in an entirely new film without Ghostface Killer? Either way, you’ll be going home satisfied or figuring out if all the commotion for the film was worth it.

This film runs 111 minutes and is Rated R.

Grade: C+

-D. Rattanaray


One thought on “One Generation’s Tragedy is the Next One’s Joke in ‘Scream 4’

  1. I saw Scream 4 this evening. I will agree with your general assessment and say the Kristen Bell in her cameo and Courtney Cox really made the movie work for me. After a 10 year hiatus, it was really difficult for me to take the movie seriously, considering that I’ve seen the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise – perhaps the most shocking part is when the president of the cinema club turns and runs into the flower pot. The dialogue itself was all a bit too hokey for my taste and the film itself was drug out about 20 minutes too long. (My Grade: C-)

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