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Scream 4 (2011)
Not scary but fun/funny--evolution of horror comedy
I think that 15 years ago, when the first Scream came out no one was expecting to be so throughly entertained, so it had the element of surprise on its side. That kind of lightning will never strike twice. Any films that followed it would be default be not as good.
Still, I must say Scream 4 is definitely worth it for horror fans of a newer generation though the film can definitely be faulted for being more clever without being scary or as suspenseful as the other films. I think the film is just one big reinvention, and since its hard to scare people who are self-aware, why even try? That sounds defeating, but it seems that writer Kevin Williamson is not beyond critiquing that which he had previously reinvented so many years ago. It's kind of a bitter film in that sense.
All that said, this film is a step in the right direction for horror movies because it knows it can't be as clever as the first Scream and somehow finds a way to be clever on its own terms and in somewhat of a different direction (I mean the villain castrates a man for heaven's sake---that would never have happened in Scream 1). A lot of the scenes are taken directly from Scream 1 tongue-in-cheek to combine the old approach to horror with the new, and the dialogue actually is great to hear with Kevin Williamson being a much missed horror screenwriter as talented as any in the genre right now. It has more deaths, funnier deaths,and is essentially a comedy about horror, whereas the original (Scream 1) was half horror, half comedy (different takes on the same material, I'd say). Strategically, this may be due to the fact that the horror spoof series of Scary Movie have done better than the Scream movies.
Aside from the fun dialogue and plot referencing, several of the laughs come from actions characters take. I was laughing for several of the last 15 minutes of the movie with one of the characters smashing themselves against glass, etc. and the same character's meltdown like we've never seen in a Scream film. And the campiness of some of these scenes reminded me of other great Wes Craven moments in films. Though this Scream's scenes might top them in terms of how fun they are for the audience.
The acting was actually decent, with Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere stealing many scenes. Neve Campbell as Sid is excellent though. Courtney Cox, Erik Knudsen, and Allison Brie are also fun to watch in this movie delivering some key funny lines. I thought the ending was fun and the unmasked villain was the best of the series...