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Scre4m/Scream 4


Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Marley Shelton, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen, Nico Tortorella, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin

Director: Wes Craven

Director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson who created the ‘Scream’ franchise 15 years ago return with a splendidly savvy reboot which succeeds in both supplying super scares and shocks and, even more enjoyably, slyly commenting on the genre through teenage horror movie buffs steeped in horrorflick clichés and tropes.

We’re back in the all-American town of Woodboro (Scream 4 was shot in Ann Arbor, Michigan) where Campbell, who has exorcised her personal traumas at the hands of the Ghostface killer by penning a best-seller, comes back home. She reconnects with sheriff Arquette and Cox, now married, and with her cousin Roberts. And then, Ghostface strikes again…

Producers Dimension Films had critics sign a document binding us "not give away any of the surprising plot points, kills and of course the killer”, so I won’t (just in case someone with a Ghostface mask decides to come after me). Suffice it say, Craven and Williamson have transfused new blood into what seemed a moribund slasher series and delivered one of the scariest, most surprising, savagely satisfying shockers in quite a while.

They kick off with enough killings to fill a standard shocker – and then some, and continue in the same gore-gushing vein, springing surprise after surprise without necessarily resorting to the now rather tired Carrie cliché so that when you think it’s time for the end credits to run, they pull another cadaver out of the hat…

Performances are fine, Peter Deming’s widescreen cinematography is appropriately lush and atmospheric and, for fans, Scream 4 delivers. Result? A bloody, bloody good time is guaranteed for those cinemagoers with a taste for terror who also enjoy witty, cynical takes on well-worn and all-too-frequently cineaste-pretentious genre clichés.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distrubtors. Colour.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 16 Apr 2011