What lies below is the spoiler-filled review of “Scream 4” (Spoiler-Free review). If you don’t want to be spoiled — don’t read. But if you want a full analysis — keep reading.
Seriously. You’ve been warned.
So wow…first and foremost…wow.
Sidney’s niece, Jill Roberts, was the primary killer. Rory Culkin, Charlie Walker in the film, is her accomplice, but he’s the Stu to her Billy, the Mickey to her Ms. Loomis. Nope, this time, Sidney’s own flesh and blood (of course Roman was also) is the killer.
Talk about having a screwed up past and family. Hell, Jill even instigated the murder of her own mother!
What was her motive? She was jealous of Sidney. According to Jill, it was hell to grow up in Woodsboro, not really knowing Sidney (she would have been two during the original film) but always hearing about her. So, naturally, she wanted the fame, and set up a movie where she would be the survivor.
And Sidney? In the final confrontation, Jill brutally stabs her cousin in the gut, before beating the hell out of herself, stabbing herself, and making the whole survivor thing go over. We see Jill as the only survivor, taken to the hospital. Did the killer get away?
Nope. Sidney survived (and recovered pretty quickly). Gale and Dewey figured it just in time to reunite the whole gang, plus Marley Shelton as Deputy Judy (see how they did that? Like Deputy Dewey) for the final final confrontation — a epilogue if you will.
And the big three survived, yet again. Plus Deputy Judy as the fourth survivor (all films have had four survivors).
So who died? Everyone else, like literally. It was extremely sad to see Hayden Panettiere go; she was the highlight of the film, and I really thought she was going to be a survivor. She turned in one of her better performances, and one of the better supporting roles of the series. It was a shame to see her offed by Charlie.
Charlie’s motivation was interesting. It seems while he was driven by his obsession of movies, it was more his psychosis of being turned down by these women that drove him as the murderer. While Jill was the primary plotter, Charlie killed almost everyone in the film.
Take Marielle Jaffe, Olivia, for example. Charlie had a huge crush on her, and she shot him down. She was murdered in one of the more violent scenes in the series (her intestines spilled out). And the first victims? Hot girls Charlie said had turned him down. Given the timeline and occurrences of the film, it seems Charlie murdered eight of the films eleven casualties.
Jill turns out to be one of the series more chilling killers. She wanted the fame. She orchestrated against her family and friends, though she seemingly grew up without the screwed up past of the past killers.
The trailers showing Gale as the recipient of a stab wound were, of course, a red herring. She suffered a minor stab wound, just slightly more minor than her 15-minute role in the movie.
Dewey? He doesn’t get hurt, save a final-moments-of-the-movie beat down with a bedpan by the 17-year-old female killer. Otherwise, he was just as useless in the movie as his wife. He was there as the sheriff, but I think Sidney calls him three of four different times to tell him where the killer is, then we see him racing around town in his SUV.
The cast and crew have said this film opens up a new trilogy, but I don’t see how. The film unfortunately kills off its entire cast, which was pretty great throughout the film. Eric Knudsen as Robbie and Kirby could have survived, giving the film something to go forward, but instead, they were killed along with everyone else.
And with no one else to go off, it’s hard to see where the continuation is. Scenes with the new cast worked far better than those trying to incorporate Gale and Dewey. And Sidney? That’s the worst part.
She’s overcome her fear. When a character next door is getting hacked up (Olivia, again, the most violent death scene in the series) Sidney selflessly runs into the house to try and save her. Sidney is no longer afraid, but instead willing to meet her fate head-on.
Worse, how much more wrong can her life go? Her family, friends, colleagues, almost all of them have been killed, except the murder-immune duo of Gale and Dewey. And what’s worse, it’s all some sick twisted relation to her. Her boyfriend. Her boyfriend’s mother. Her brother. Now her niece?
They are running out of ways to make her life twisted. And what’s worse, Sidney and the gang are running out of patience.
“The killings are starting again?”
That’s how they respond to this? So wait, for the fourth time in my life, someone I know it starting to murdering everyone else I know?
What was once fun, exciting, and yes, scary, is now an also-ran. The fourth time around you’d think Sidney would approach things differently. Keep a gun nearby. Not answer the phone. Leave town. Not post two lame-ass cops (Anthony Andersen and Adam Brody) outside, who are dispatched in 12 seconds (lamest cop deaths).
The film showed some life with a nice intro, showing two double murders, before revealing they are actually scenes from the movie-within-movies “Stab 6” and “Stab 7.” But outside of the fresh thrill of a film that’s just better than every other stupid horror film (looking at Saw here) coming out, Scream 4 didn’t have much to offer.
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