Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts star in Scream 4

Hello horror fans and slasher stans, it’s Slick Dungeon here! I’m gearing up to go see the sixth installment of the Scream franchise soon but before I do that, I wanted to review all of the previous movies here. For these reviews I plan on going in-depth so if you have not seen the movies, I advise you not to read this review yet. Scream is a great slasher franchise but the best parts of it are surprising events and reveals so definitely have a watch first because reviewing without spoilers is never easy with these movies.

When I do review Scream VI, I will have a first reaction spoiler free review followed by a spoiler heavy review. For the rest of these, watch first or risk the fun of the movies being taken away by reading. I’m going to be talking about individual scenes, characters, and themes so it’s all fair game in these reviews. I will only spoil things from the first four movies in this review so you don’t need to have seen all the Scream films to keep yourself spoiler free, just the first four. If you want to read my review of the first Scream you can do so right here. And if you missed my review of the sequel, Scream 2, you can check it out here. If you need to read my review of Scream 3 you can do so right here.

Scream 4 in Historical Context

After the Scream franchise revived slashers and made horror cool again they tied up their trilogy in the year 2000. Eleven years went by with horror going in new and different directions. There were plenty of reboots and remakes of popular titles from slashers past.

And in the years since Scream made it scary to answer your phone, a new phenomena was starting to pop up in the world. Social media was beginning to have a major influence in our lives. It wasn’t films that made people famous anymore. All you needed was your phone and your favorite platform and to film yourself doing something interesting and before you knew it, everyone could recognize your face.

Even considering making another Scream film was a gamble at this point. On the one hand, it was a well known property with beloved cast members, directors, and writers. On the other hand, the series seemed to have concluded so what new could be said by these films? It would obviously make money given the fanbase but was it simply a cash grab or did Scream 4 have something to contribute to the conversation about horror, movies in general, and the social media climate at the time?

Let’s dive in deep and find out!

Spoilers follow below!

The Cold Open

Every Scream film starts with a phone call. It’s just not a Scream film if it doesn’t. Naturally, this film, just like the first one, starts with the sound of a phone ringing. We know by now not to get too attached to anyone at the start of one of these films so when we see a young woman pick up the phone, we know there is a good chance she’s not making it to the title screen.

Sure enough the voice on the other end is the Ghostface killer voice. The woman hangs up the phone and goes and talks to another woman about the movie they are going to watch. They plan on watching Saw 4 and the woman who didn’t pick up the phone talks about how she thinks it’s not scary, it’s just gross with all the gore. And she complains there is no character development so you don’t care who dies. It does echo complaints some people have about the Saw franchise (and lots of other horror franchises) but we also know these are characters we don’t care about who are going to die. Once again, Scream films comment on tired tropes while still committing the exact same tropes right in the Scream films.

The woman complaining about the Saw movies says she has a Facebook stalker. Her friend tells her to delete him and then goes to look at the picture and realizes it’s a picture of Channing Tatum.

The phone rings again. And, of course, it’s the Ghostface voice again. The woman is getting impatient with him and she passes the phone to her friend who we find out is named Trudie (Shenae Grimes). Trudie asks who it is and Ghostface says he’s the last person she’s ever going to see alive.

Trudie’s friend thinks it’s a prank. Trudie hangs up but the phone rings again. But then Trudie gets a message from her Facebook stalker who tells her to answer the phone. Trudie goes to check the front door is locked. Trudie gets a message daring her to open the door and we find out Trudie’s friend is named Sherrie (Lucy Hale). Sherrie opens the door but no one is there. Trudie gets another message that says, “I’m not outside. I’m right beside you.”

Ghostface pops out and stabs Trudie. And then he kills Sherrie. We hear a scream and we get a title card. Only, it’s not for Scream 4. This title card is for Stab 6, the movie within the movie.

The camera pulls back to reveal two other women have been watching this scene on television. These women are Rachel Barnes (Anna Paquin) and Chloe (Kristen Bell). Rachel complains how the whole killer with a meta plot thing has been done to death, obviously criticizing Scream itself. Chloe, on the other hand, thinks there is just something extra scary about a killer with a knife. It’s not zombies or aliens or anything like that and it’s something that could happen to anyone.

If you ever wonder if the people making Scream films are horror fans all you have to do is listen to the dialogue because this is the kind of debate horror fans have all the time and it just feels like a realistic conversation.

Rachel complains there is no element of surprise and you can see everything coming. And then in something no one saw coming, Chloe stabs Rachel. This is definitely not something we’ve seen in a Scream film before. It’s always a masked killer. Rachel asks why and Chloe tells Rachel it’s because she talks too much and she should shut up and watch the movie and stabs her again.

And we get a title card. Only, once again, this is not for Scream 4. This time it’s for Stab 7. And the camera pulls back and we see two more women watching television. This time the person who paused the movie talks about how much she loves the Stab movies. The audience at this point is starting to wonder if this will go on endlessly, just showing more Stab reveals and never getting to the Scream film.

The other woman in the room says she doesn’t get it. And they start debating what the movies are about if the beginning of one movie is the really the end of another movie. She’s pretty much summing up where the audience is with the Scream movies right now.

We then find out these women live in Woodsboro so we’re getting closer to our movie. It’s explained the original trilogy is based off true events that happened to Sidney Prescott. But then apparently Sidney threatened to sue the filmmakers so they just started making stuff up from that point on.

We find out the one who likes Stab movies is named Jenny (Aimee Teegarden) when she gets up to investigate a noise she heard. The phone rings and we learn the other woman is Marnie (Britt Robertson) when Jenny asks her to answer the phone. And, of course, it’s the voice of Ghostface. Marnie asks who it is and the voice says, “This is the last person you’re ever going to see alive.”

We then see Jenny laughing because she was just pulling a prank on her friend. Marnie’s pretty upset and the camera cuts over to Jenny who says someone falls for it every year. But then we hear choking sounds from Marnie’s end of the phone call. Jenny goes down to investigate and finds the phone on the floor. She thinks Marnie is just pranking back. But the phone rings again. Jenny knows Marnie doesn’t have the voice changing app on her phone so she can’t talk like Ghostface. But then it is the Ghostface voice.

Jenny is told she’s in Ghostface’s movie and Marnie’s body is thrown through the window. Jenny runs but she gets stabbed. She makes her way to the garage and tries to crawl under the door but Ghostface gets her.

And we finally, finally do come to the Scream 4 title card.

While this is not the scariest cold open by far, it’s definitely surprising. And doing the film within the film within the film into the real film was a pretty neat trick only Scream could have pulled off.

Sidney Comes Home and We Catch up with Everyone Else

Just as with all of the other Scream films, after the cold open, we catch up with Sidney Prescott. She’s back in Woodsboro to sign copies of her book. There are decorations of Ghostface all over the town but Sidney shrugs it off figuring it’s because it’s the anniversary of the original killings.

Dewey is back to working for the Woodsboro Police Department. And he’s still married to Gale. Their on again off again relationship is in the on phase at the start of this movie.

He goes to get into his patrol car when someone driving an SUV goes past at high speeds. This is Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere).

Kirby seems to be a bit of a troublemaker but she goes to pick up her friends to go to school. One of her friends is Jill (Emma Roberts), who we learn is Sidney’s cousin. Kirby is a fan of Sidney because she loves horror movies. Jill doesn’t seem to really know Sidney very well.

Jill gets a call from the Ghostface killer while they are in the car. The voice asks her, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Jill is smart enough to put the call on speaker for her friends to hear. And we hear that one of the girls in the car already got a call like that from Marnie so they shrug it off as a prank.

Dewey has gone from Deputy to Sheriff so we get introduced to a new cop, Deputy Judy Hicks. She talks about how she wishes she was around when the original murders happened because she would be bonding with Dewey. She definitely gets a bit flirty. They then get called to go to the Riley house.

Meanwhile, Gale watches an interview with Sidney on television and then tries to make progress on her fiction writing. It doesn’t go well. Obviously, Gale, is at her best when she’s doing investigative journalism.

At Woodsboro High we see Jill and her friends get interviewed by someone live casting who asks, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” This is Robbie Mercer (Erik Knudsen). He’s there with his friend Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin). Charlie seems to have a thing for Kirby.

Inside, Jill runs into her ex-boyfriend Trevor (Nico Totorella). He seems to be concerned for Jill but she lays into him pretty hard.

Gale meets up with Sidney at her book signing. Dewey shows up and tells everyone they have to stay at the bookstore. They’ve traced a phone call from a crime back to the store. Dewey calls the number and they find find a phone in the trunk of Sidney’s rental car, along with a bunch of blood stained photos of Sidney and a Ghostface mask.

At Woodsboro High everyone starts getting messages on their phones about the death of Jenny and Marnie the night before. Reporters descend on the town and our list of suspects starts to build.

At the police station Gale and Judy have a bit of tension while Dewey is interviewing Sidney. Dewey is trying to keep a lid on what is going on but the internet has already gotten wind of it and the information is out to the world. Despite Dewey’s concern Gale is determined to get the story.

We also meet Deputy Perkins (Anthony Anderson) who mentions some high school kids also got threatening phone calls that day. Dewey figures out immediately one of the kids was Sidney’s cousin.

Kirby, Jill and Olivia Morris (Marielle Jaffe) are brought to the station where they meet Sidney and Kirby worries she’ll be the next one killed since she didn’t get a phone call. Sidney wants to get out of town (as any reasonable person would) but she’s not allowed to leave because everyone is considered a suspect. She gets police protection but we know how that’s worked out for her in the past.

Meanwhile Sidney’s book tour manager is thrilled with the murders. It’s another nod by this franchise pointing out people getting excited by and profiting off of real world violence while criticizing fictionalized violence in horror films. Gale is not a fan of this woman.

The Killer Ramps UP the Violence

At Jill’s house her mother, Kate Roberts (Mary McDonnell), Kirby, Sidney and Dewey are all together. Kate seems a bit jealous of Sidney because she gets all the attention due to her past. Jill gets startled by her ex-boyfriend in a scene reminiscent of what happened to Sidney in the first film. Trevor is obviously a prime suspect because the love interests are always a suspect. Sidney walks in on them and tells Jill she reminds her of herself. And Sidney bumps into Deputy Judy Hicks who comes off as a bit threatening when she brings up how she was in classes with Sidney in High School.

Later, in a great horror easter egg we see Kirby and Jill watching Shaun of the Dead. Olivia debates going inside but figures its safer at home. Jill calls her and does a terrible Ghostface voice to try to prank her. But then Jill’s phone rings and Kirby answers. It’s the voice of the killer.

Kirby seems to think this is Trevor, obviously because it came from his number, but she also thinks he’s just trying to do Ghostface’s voice.

So, for this scene we have Jill and Kirby in Jill’s bedroom. Kirby is on the phone with the killer, while Olivia is on the phone with Jill. It’s kind of a weird phone triangle where anyone on the line might be in danger. The killer asks Kirby how Shaun of the Dead is. Kirby wonders how he could have known that and the killer tells her he is in the closet. Kirby doesn’t believe him so the killer tells her to open the closet door. Kirby does open the closet and there is no one in there. And in a great twist the killer says he never said he was in her closet. And he jumps out of Olivia’s closet. Kirby and Jill watch in horror as Olivia is attacked. Sidney gets to the window just in time to see what is happening and runs out to get the cops but they don’t seem to be there. Sidney goes into Olivia’s house to confront the killer but it’s beyond too late for Olivia.

In Olivia’s room the phone rings and Sidney answers. It’s the killer once again. Sidney pretty much dares the guy to come after her and Ghostface says some pretty horrible stuff about what he’s going to do to her. Jill shows up and while Sidney tries to shield her from the awful scene, Ghostface comes back. He gets a good slash in on Jill’s arm and pins Sidney for a moment. Sidney manages to get the upper hand and knocks him down just around the time the cops arrive. But, of course, Ghostface is already gone.

At the scene Robbie Mercer comes to live cast to his show. He’s confronted by Gale Weathers and we find out Charlie is the cinema club president. Gale suggests a team up and Robbie and Charlie are pretty excited, although, they’d rather have Sidney show up to their cinema club instead of Gale.

At the hospital, Sidney fires her book tour manager who admits she never even read Sidney’s book. She’s the next victim. She gets the call from the killer in the parking garage.

At a press conference Rebecca’s body falls right onto a news van where both Gale and Dewey are. Gale has a lead but Dewey basically just has a list of suspects.

Cinema Club Gives us the Rules

At the cinema club, Sidney comes to talk with the students and Woodsboro High. Charlie points out the only component the killer is missing is live video feed of what he’s doing. Gale shows up as well. Charlie and Robbie say the plan for a new killer would be to film all the murders real time and upload them into cyberspace, making your art immortal.

Here we get our “new rules” of horror. This is because now all movies are just remakes according to Charlie. These stand out from the first three because there are more rules than usual and they are not given in the peppy way Randy did for the last three. Charlie lays them out for us and they are as follows.

  1. The unexpected is the new cliche.
  2. You gotta have an opening sequence that blows the doors off.
  3. The kills have to be way more extreme.
  4. Modern audiences get savvy to the rules of the originals so the reversals become the new standard.
  5. The only sure fire way to survive a modern horror movie, you pretty much have to be gay.

I have to say, I think out of all the first four Scream movies, these rules are the weakest and make the least sense.

In the first three films, when Randy tells us what the rules are, it’s always something the characters can take action on. They can be sure never to say, “I’ll be right back.” Or, the rules tell the characters who is most likely to be targeted as in the third one when Randy says, “Even main characters can die, this means you, Sid.”

How is anyone supposed to take action on the unexpected is cliche? Are we supposed to just guard ourselves against the mundane? That makes no sense considering phone calls are still pretty unexpected when a killer is on the line.

We know there was an opening sequence, and I guess, the characters here might feel like Marnie and Jenny die but for the people in Scream 4 they learned about that when everyone’s phones went off at school. It’s not exactly must see television here, more like a news alert anyone could get any day of the year.

The fourth rule is the only one where action can be taken in this film. Reversals are the new standard so we should expect the opposite of what we’re used to. At this point in the movie we haven’t seen this happen. It’s still just been Ghostface calling and attacking with a couple of neat tricks, like being in the house not guarded by the cops.

And rule five, even if potentially true, is useless for these characters. No one is going to suddenly be gay and none of the characters we’ve followed so far are established to be gay so what even is the point of this rule?

These rules are not how to survive a horror film but just kind of lay out what a horror film is these days. In other words, these guys are no Randy and you really feel a Randy sized hole in this movie.

They do give us some useful information in the scene though. They lets us know, as we already do, the killings are following the formula of a Stab movie. And those all culminate in a party. The guaranteed third act bloodbath. This time the party is the Stab-a-thon. Sidney tries to get them to call it off but they won’t.

Things Get Worse

Sidney has a nice moment with Jill where she seems to really care about her cousin. Jill seems to be concerned with all the looks and attention she’ll get because of what’s going on. Sidney advises her to focus on the people she cares about.

Jill is locked up in her room right across from where Olivia died but Kirby goes to the movie marathon. Trevor is also at the party even though it’s not really his scene. There are a bunch of people there in Ghostface masks, including Gale who sets up cameras all over the party.

Charlie and Robbie get the movie marathon started and we see Stab is directed by Robert Rodriguez in a nice nod to horror fans who love From Dusk Til Dawn.

Gale sets up her cameras and goes back to her van where she gets a call from Dewey. Gale tells him about the party and he heads over there. In Gale’s van all of her cameras go dark and she sees the Ghostface mask just before the last one turns off.

At the festival, we see the first scene of Stab which we saw in the first scene of Scream 2. Kirby sees Charlie and Robbie and Gale goes back into the party. There the whole crowd chants my favorite line from the fake Stab movies when Heather Graham, playing Casey Becker, says, “You know, I don’t even know you, and I dislike you already.”

Dewey gets to Gale’s car just in time to realize she’s inside. One of the cameras there is working again and Dewey shouts to Gale to look behind her as Ghostface attacks. This is basically a required scene in Scream films at this point. There has to be a moment where someone sees someone else about to be attacked and shouts at them to turn around. Gale Weathers is no slouch so she snaps right around and there is a tussle. No one at the party seems to notice but Dewey does get there in time to fire some rounds off at the killer. Gale has been injured but she doesn’t seem to be out for the count. She lets Dewey know webcams are being used to record. In other words, this time, Ghostface is making the movie rather than just reacting to them.

Outside of Sidney’s house we get a great scene where the rules of cop movies are talked about between Detective Hoss (Adam Brody) and Deputy Perkins. Hoss says if it’s your last day before retirement you die. If you’re a rookie and find out your wife is pregnant, you die. Or if your partner is better looking than you, you die. Perkins says he’ll take the next perimeter and that he’ll be right back. Immediately he realizes what that means. But Hoss tells him it’s a new decade with new rules and Perkins might come back to find Hoss dead with his eyes gouged out. Could go either way. Perkins decides to stay in the car and Hoss goes instead.

I love this scene because it shows us horror films are not the only ones that have rules. And Scream has already subverted a lot of these cop movie rules too. Dewey has made it through more than three films here and he is not dead. However, several cops in Scream have died in previous movies. It’s a great meta layer on top of another meta layer.

Hoss notices an open window and radios Perkins but there is no answer back. We know Sidney is in danger. Hoss goes back to check on Perkins who has his head down on the steering wheel. He was just trying to prank Hoss. But then the killer kills both Hoss and Perkins, totally subverting the expectations the film just set up. We weren’t expecting both of them to die, and definitely not together, so it really does seem like it’s a new decade with new rules.

Inside, Sidney grabs a knife when she hears a noise outside. It’s her sister Kate who then goes back out to get some grocery bags. And, of course, the phone rings. Sidney answers and hears the killer’s voice. The killer has her turn on the television to see reports of Gale’s attack. The killer then starts talking about Sidney’s family. Sidney runs to Jill’s room but she is not there.

Both Kate and Sidney are then attacked. Kate doesn’t make it. We’ve only known Kate from two scenes in this whole franchise so it’s hard to say we were attached to her. However, for Sidney. she’s family so the kill is a bit more impactful on her. Sidney runs out of the house and bumps into Deputy Hicks. Sidney takes off while Hicks is not looking.

We catch up with Dewey and Gale at the hospital where Gale tells Dewey to get the killer.

The After Party and the Killer is Revealed

Jill has gone over to Kirby’s house. The movie marathon has been cut short so Charlie, Kirby, Robbie and Jill are hanging out talking about what just happened. Charlie mentions the party was the false ending because we’re dealing with new rules. Charlie wants to finish the film festival so he goes to put in Stab 7. Charlie notices Kirby’s horror DVD collection and she’s got some top notch titles, including Suspiria and Don’t Look Now. Charlie and Kirby get a bit flirty with some horror trivia. Trevor shows up out of nowhere. He says he found the after party but Kirby says it’s an anti-party. Trevor also says he got a text from Jill inviting him there. Jill denies ever texting him. But then Jill can’t find her phone and she goes outside.

Robbie seems pretty panicked that Gale was attacked at his film festival and Trevor asks who really sent him the text from Jill’s phone. Kirby mentions Trevor’s phone is missing. Trevor says he got a new one and Kirby is understandably suspicious.

Deputy Hicks gives Dewey the bad news about the scene at Sidney’s house. It sort of seems like Sidney might be a suspect here from Dewey and Hicks’ perspective. This would make sense considering Sidney just fled a murder scene. But we all know she’s not the killer. Or at the very least, couldn’t be the only killer. Either way, Dewey heads back to Sidney’s house.

At the after party, Robbie is on his way to getting as drunk as he can and we see the scene from Stab 7 which was at the beginning of this movie play on the television. It makes for a kind of weird reality for the film but it works pretty well. Robbie goes outside and he hears Kirby continue to flirt with Charlie. Robbie decides to turn his webcam on and he stumbles around a bit. Inside, Kirby goes so far as to kiss Charlie when Trevor interrupts them. Trevor talks about how he loves the part in Stab 7 where you think everyone is safe in the house and suddenly Ghostface comes in and kills them. Charlie walks out in what seems like frustration. Kirby shouts at Trevor to get out of her house.

Outside, Robbie is stumbling around when Ghostface pops out of the house and kills him. Robbie does mention that he is gay but that doesn’t seem like enough to stop his death. While he could have been a suspect, it seems that Robbie is off the list.

Inside, Jill comes down the stairs and tells Kirby there was no text message from her phone to Trevor. Kirby asks where Trevor is because last Kirby saw, Trevor went upstairs looking for Jill. Kirby calls for Trevor, Charlie and Robbie. Jill opens the door of the house to find Sidney standing there.

Sidney grabs Jill and they all start to head out of the house when a very bloody but still alive Robbie shows up and tells them to run. Ghostface forces his way into the house. Sidney and Jill make it upstairs where Sidney tells Jill to hide under the bed. Ghostface breaks through the door. Sidney is outside now and shouts away from the house, telling Jill to keep running, in an attempt to misdirect Ghostface. Sidney gets to the roof of the house and calls Dewey and lets him know the killer is at Kirby’s house. Sidney gets away from Ghostface for a minute and bumps into Kirby who says her landline has been cut along with her router. Kirby asks where Jill is. Kirby leads Sidney to a room downstairs where they can lock themselves away.

I’m not sure how much I buy Sidney would go with Kirby considering how often there has been a partner involved in these killings but she goes anyway. Outside the window, Charlie begs Kirby to let him in. He’s covered in blood and says he just found Robbie. Sidney tells Kirby if she can’t trust him not to open the door.

Behind Charlie, Ghostface pops up and smashes Charlie’s head against the door a couple of times. We hear Charlie shouting for Kirby when we cut back to Dewey on his way to the house.

When the camera goes back to Kirby’s house, Charlie is tied to a chair, still outside. Kirby gets a call from Charlie’s phone. It’s the killer who seems to want to bargain Charlie’s life for Sidney’s. Sidney tells Kirby to stay on the phone and goes to get Jill.

Ghostface asks Kirby horror trivia questions but she says Charlie is the expert. Still, Kirby gets several answers in a row right. Then Ghostface gives a multiple choice of what movie started slasher films. Kirby chooses Psycho but the killer says it’s really Peeping Tom from 1960 because it’s the first movie to ever put the audience in the killer’s point of view. While this may technically be true, I still would say this is a gray area. Psycho can be more acclaimed to be the film that started the slasher craze for the simple reason that it was much more popular than Peeping Tom, even if that film did influence Psycho. Kirby begs the killer to give her one more question. The killer starts to ask a question and Kirby just lists off ton of horror films at rapid speed. In fact, it you want a great night of horror films, just literally go down the list of movies Kirby rattles off, they’re all good picks.

Kirby realizes she must have gotten the question right and goes outside to free Charlie. Meanwhile, Sidney can’t find Jill upstairs.

After Kirby frees Charlie he stabs Kirby in the stomach. Charlie then gets mad that Kirby had four years of classes with him but only noticed him now and he stabs her again in the same spot. She falls to the ground and Charlie goes inside.

Sidney has found a knife and hears noises downstairs. Charlie comes up from behind her with a knife and grabs her. She gets away from Charlie and heads out the door, only to be stabbed by someone in a Ghostface costume at the front of the house. This turns out to be Jill.

Out of all of the Scream killer reveals, I think this one might be the most clever. No one was expecting it to be Sidney’s own cousin. And Jill had rigged it pretty well so we were suspicious of Trevor. Charlie’s reveal was also a bit of a surprise but not outside the realm of possibility. But having the killer be one of the few people Sidney would want to protect most was a nice twist here.

And Jill reveals the plan is to upload all the footage and make it traceable to Trevor who has been tied up in the closet. Charlie pulls him out. Sidney kind of has no choice but to watch as Jill shoots Trevor. Jill and Charlie see themselves as the Sidney and Randy of the remake. Jill just seems to be a jealous brat who wants fame.

And just like in the original Charlie tells Jill to stab him, the way Stu did with Billy. And, just like Billy did, Jill goes too far and kills her partner. Sidney is appalled that Jill could do that to her friends but Jill says she doesn’t need friends, she needs fans. Jill wants to become Sidney for the fame. She stabs Sidney who collapses. Jill unties Trevor’s body and starts to make it look like he pulled her hair out. She then stabs herself in the shoulder and smashes her head against the wall. It’s pretty brutal. She ends off by back-flopping onto a glass table and lies down next to Sidney.

Dewey finally arrives to see all the carnage. Jill is taken out on a stretcher, surrounded by cameras. Dewey is with her at the hospital and Jill spins her story when she mentions she has wounds that match Gale’s. Dewey also lets Jill know Sidney might survive.

Dewey leaves and Jill gets up to finish the job on Sidney. Dewey talks to Gale and figures out Jill wouldn’t know where Gale was injured. Of course, Dewey, Gale, and Deputy Hicks go in to save Sidney in the end. But the fight between the two women is just painful to watch with them both being injured. A scuffle happens but Sidney ends up electrocuting Jill with shock pads and gives us one last rule of remakes, “Don’t f–k with the original.” And, as always, the killer comes back for one more scare but Sidney shoots her.

Outside of the hospital, Jill is getting all the fame she hoped for but she’s just too dead to enjoy it.

A few Notes on the Film

While this wasn’t exactly a remake, it’s also, kind of a remake so I guess we’d call it a reboot. And while I don’t like the rules given here, I’m fine with how they played out. That’s because the rules we get are delivered by the killer himself so this is a subversion of Scream films. For three movies we’ve gotten rules from someone who isn’t a killer so the audience can kind of assume the person saying the rules isn’t the killer. And, as the movie says, it’s a new decade with new rules so nearly anything goes.

At the same time, nothing truly unexpected happens with the returning characters. Gale, Dewey, and Sidney are all fine so there’s not a ton of impact there.

The best addition to the franchise in this movie was far and away Kirby, a horror fan horror fans can relate to. It takes more than another decade before Scream comes back to theaters so for a while this movie felt like an attempt to revive a franchise that didn’t get very far. But, considering what the story ends up being in Scream (2022) (no spoilers for that here) I’m glad there was the time gap. If they never made the fifth and sixth movies I would say Scream 4 is an add on your could see or skip. But now, it’s required viewing.

In a way this is a transition film from the original trilogy into what we see with a more modern take in the next two films.

In Conclusion

This is not my favorite Scream film but it’s one worth watching, especially if you’ve gotten this far with the series. It definitely has flaws but it brings a more current vibe to it. Neve Campbell is still a complete badass in these movies and Dewey and Gale are always entertaining to watch together. There are still tons of easter eggs for horror fans and there are genuinely surprising moments,

This film also seems to be saying, it’s not horror movies that lead to real world violence, but fans who are only interested in attention that are unhinged. The first three made more of a comparison to real world vs. fictional violence. But this one seems to be saying when anyone can have a camera, we can all be filmmakers, and there’s bound to be somebody who’s just in it for the fame, no matter who they hurt.

So, did you see this movie? Are you a Kirby fan? Or does this one feel forced? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Stab-ily yours,

Slick Dungeon


3 thoughts on “Scream 4 – Movie Review

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