Ghostface is back and this time, it’s personal (ok, the last three times were personal too. So really it was always personal). 10 years after the events of Scream 3, three-time survivor Sidney Prescott returns to Woodsboro to promote her new book. Surprising no one, the murders start again and everyone’s a suspect. Joining Sidney in her fight against Ghostface are returning characters Deputy (now Chief) Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and his wife, pushy journalist Gail Weathers-Riley (Courtney Cox, recently divorced in real life from Arquette). New blood includes Sid’s cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) and her friends Kirby (Hayden Panettiere of “Heroes”) and Olivia (Marielle Jaffe). It may not shock you to know that there’s also some film geeks (including a Culkin) and a suspicious ex-boyfriend on the scene.
The film doesn’t really cover any new ground on the Scream front, but there are a few nice touches. The now famous opening scene is pretty funny and filled with cameos (Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell, amongst others). Some of the murders take on a giallo-like feel, which is more interesting than the same old stalk and slash template. And most of the meta humor is cute.
Here’s the problem – the idea Craven and writer Kevin Williamson try to develop is interesting (can’t say too much without major spoilers), something not really tackled before, and I want to like it. I do like it, in theory. But it just doesn’t come together. The cleverness of the idea isn’t supported by the writing or the acting. There’s no leg to stand on, leaving the whole thing pretty bland.
While we’re complaining, we heard a reviewer criticize the film because a hot girl like Panetierre’s character would never be a film geek in cinema club. Let alone a horror fan who knows her shit. Ugh. Let’s get something clear, boys – JennyD and I would both have been in cinema club. Hot chicks like movies and they like horror. Even the serious stuff. Hell, the questions Kirby answers about horror were easy. To make the generalized statement that an attractive woman wouldn’t be caught dead being a film nerd is not only ridiculous and offensive, it’s way beyond old-fashioned. We ladies like our ghosts and our gore just as much as you, and we know as much about the genre as you do. Appearance and gender have nothing to do with it. Jerk.
Okay, with that out of my system, back to the movie. When it was over, the three of us found we didn’t really have much to say. It was a Scream movie. Not horrible, not great. And that’s really it. I will add that I did appreciate Sidney’s very active role as the seasoned final girl – she doesn’t just wait for the killer to find her, she goes out of her way to find and fight the killer to try to prevent more deaths. Sidney didn’t make our list of the top ten final girls, but over four movies she’s had a good arc from victim to survivor to fighter. Keep kicking ass, Sid.