Review: Latest Scream reboot
What’s happening to slasher flicks? They have incorporated torture of the 21st Century and, now, a bit of sleight of eye.
Wes Cravan’s “Scream” (1996) reignited interest in the teen horror slasher genre which had exhausted its audience through the endless “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and assorted imitators which had a serial killer chasing a teen gal. Along the way, her friends, family and community members faced mutilation. Since cliche rules (example: teen couple have sex, they’re next to die) and gluttony of killing evoked moviegoer yawns, “Scream” added newer elements.
High schooler Sidney (Neve Campbell) faced mass murderer, Ghostface, incorporating the suspense of “Halloween,” injecting abundant whodunit suspects, comedy, recognizable stars and a titillating musical score.
Having mocked others, “Scream” spawned sequels and its own parody, “Scary Movie.”
For the reboot, “Scream 4” boosts mystery and technology, while toying with the gender correctness of victimization breeding survivor-empowerment. Sidney is now a best-selling author but her book signing resurrects Ghostface bleeding the town’s teen kings and queens.
Cell phones become the devices for conveying threats … “You will die when I want you to. You must first watch and suffer.” Texting, streaming live Internet video and social networking dominate the culture and an interactive movie-thon (“Stab”) replaces prom or party massacres. Pointed one-liners evoke trivia and parody moments. Craven is in a serious mode when Ghostface and Sidney joust. That’s when body count climbs with accompanying anticipatory shrieks, flowing blood and a sharp object intruding the gut.
Unable to contain himself, Craven skillfully adds awesome humorous subtleties which only cinema geeks will likely understand. They do not destroy the darkness of the killer adding another trophy. Celebrity worshippers and 24/7 telephone journalists join law enforcement as objects of severe ridicule.
And, dudes, you might as well keep your eyes peeled to the screen. Learn what attitudes the “chicks” value. They aren’t going to be collapsing into your arms or chest. Forget the requisite vulnerable bra, panties and barefoot victims. No, they manage to keep their clothes on and they run from the demon in peep-toe pumps and boots made for defensive maneuvers.
Aside from screaming, the fourth installment merits a calculator — for tallying the cliches reversed and the rules shredded. Exit the cinema, grab a coffee and challenge your recall for uncovering send-ups to prior titles.
Or, down the mocha and ask, did you figure out who Ghostface was this time?