'Scream 4' Movie Review-Examiner.com
Written by: Karen Benardello
Once again trying to show how people would react if the plotlines of horror movies became real, Wes Craven has rebooted his popular 'Scream' franchise, aimed at a new generation. While the premise of the original 'Scream' trilogy helped make the series an instant classic in the late 1990s, the latest installment, 'Scream 4,' falls victim to the horror don'ts debated by its characters. While mixing main characters from the original trilogy with a new cast seemed a sure way to update and improve the already popular series, the new characters unfortunately fall victim to a recycled plotline.
'Scream 4' follows the return of Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell) to her hometown of Woodsboro, California on the 15th anniversary of the murders committed by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher in the original 'Scream.' Sidney is staying with her younger cousin Jill Roberts (portrayed by Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (played by Mary McDonnell), as she promotes her new book about surviving the murders from the first three movies. Several of Jill's friends and classmates, including Olivia Morris (played by Marielle Jaffe), Jenny Randall (portrayed by Aimee Teegarden) and Marnie Cooper (played by Brittany Robertson), are all killed by the series' antagonist, Ghostface, after Sydney returns to Woodsboro.
Dwight Riley (portrayed by David Arquette), who has been promoted to become the Sheriff of Woodsboro, is determined to find the new killer. He is reluctant to involve his wife, former journalist and best-selling author Gale Weathers (played by Courtney Cox), to solve the new cases, since he's now in a higher position. But Gale is determined to help solve the crimes, as she has major writer's block and wants to work again.
Craven, who has directed the entire franchise, and Kevin Williamson, who wrote the screenplay for 'Scream 4,' unfortunately lost focus on what made the original trilogy so intriguing and terrifying. Unlike the first three movies, the focus of the latest installment has shifted from how the killings are directly harming Sidney and instead focuses on Jill's struggle to survive. While Craven and Williamson most likely to some degree hope that 'Scream 4' will kick off a new trilogy in the franchise, and felt that featuring Jill and her friends more prominently than Sidney would help do so, the new characters aren't as relatable as the original cast. They spend most of their time trying to impress each other with horror knowledge and the latest technology than trying to figure out why they're being targeted.
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