Thursday, April 14, 2011

SCREAM 4 - Milking The Ghostface Franchise

SCREAM 4 (slasher flick)
Cast: Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin
Director: Wes Craven
Screenwriter: Kevin Williamson
Time: 100 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

ANOTHER ONE SLASHED - Part of the cast of SCREAM 4

PREAMBLE: Among the slew of slasher flicks over the years, I would rate the Scream series rather low in terms of scares, tension and suspense. They are not as effective or as popular as the A Nightmare On Elm Street series even though both are helmed by Wes Craven. After being in the slasher-pic game for so many years, Craven certainly knows the score on its marketing. Instead of just recycling the old plots for Scream 4, he goes tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at both the slasher genre and its 'cult' of young hormone-charged fans.

This offbeat approach may be initially fun and funny - and way better than Scream 3, but it robs the movie of whatever scare and suspense that are built up.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? It has been 11 years and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), has got herself together and is now the author of a self-help book titled Out Of The Darkness. She returns home to Woodsboro - the last stop of her book tour - where she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courtney Cox, above), who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Expectedly, Sidney's arrival also brings about the return of Ghostface (voice of Dane Farwell), putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.

Neve Campbell and Emma Roberts

HITS AND MISSES: The opening sequences, which introduces a series of nasty twists of the Stab movies-within-the-movie is amusing and even clever. They spoof the slashpix and have memorable guests stars like Anna Paquin and Heather Graham. Then when we are taken to Woodsboro where the main plot takes off, the movie starts going downhill.

Sure, there are a few sparks of wit once in a while in Craven's 'critique' on the Internet webcam and Twitter generation - but everything else is stale. The characters are under-developed and so badly portrayed that we don't give a hoot if they are slashed. I have seen Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox perform so much better before but here they are just going through paces and reading out the script. We don't know whether they are trying to be funny - or scary. Cox, for example, gives only a caricature of Gale, the has-been journalist, because the role is written that way.

THE LOWDOWN: Another vain attempt at milking the Scream-Ghostface franchise.


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