Wes Craven’s Scream 4 was seen by many viewers as yet another repetitive sequel in a franchise where “there didn’t seem to be much life left” (Whitty). According to reviewers, the opening scene of the film seemed to show this very well. The “flashes of wit in the opening film-within-a-film-within-a-film sequence” (Hale) displays the fact that this is the fourth film in the sequel and that each film is fairly repetitive in basic plot. Most reviewers seemed pretty underwhelmed with the plot but liked all of the murders and chase scenes. They felt that it was very predictable and justifying itself. “Sequels don’t know when to stop” (Schwarzbaum).
“Existing in a self-contained universe, Scream 4 is its own remake (Screamake), sequel (shriekquel), parody and critique” (Corliss). Gale Weathers’ book The Woodsboro Murders becomes a film franchise called Stab that is “modeled after Sidney Prescott’s fictional life within the film” (Legel). This franchise ...view middle of the document...
Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), and Dewey (David Arquette) were all in the original 1996 film. It has been 11 years since Scream 3 and it is very clear on the aging of those repeating characters. “We have two generations in “Scream 4”-the scarred adults and the teenagers” (LaSalle). All of the reviewers commented on how Craven brought Sidney back and updated her by bringing her in for her book signing about her initial experience in Woodsboro. Her time back in Woodsboro has spurred “yet another new killer in a creepy ghost mask. And a new set of sexy high-schoolers, ready to be cut and stacked like cordwood” (Whitty). The series is seen as never ending by critics.
A very iconic part of the Scream films is the idea of the “rules” of horror films. The established rules are “don’t have sex, don’t do drugs, and don’t say “I’ll be right back”” (Levin). After watching Scream 4, almost all of the reviewers felt that the “rules” of horror films mean nothing now. Critics agreed that the “rules” have been so overused throughout the films that even if the characters follow all of the “rules”, they are still expected to die based on how the horror genre has progressed over the past decade. “The only way to escape Ghostface’s vengeance, someone suggests, is to be gay — which is sort of a clue, but does not turn out to work” (O’Hehir) is one example reviewers thought made it clear that the “rules” no longer apply to horror films.
Many of the reviewers felt that there wasn’t nearly enough advancement in technology since the last Scream film. “It’s essentially an old-fashioned whodunit in which people still get scared over the phone and killed in person” (Corliss). Although critics were impressed with how well Craven incorporated technically savvy teenagers with their cameras and cell phones, they felt that the film didn’t keep up with its time advancement in as many aspects as it could have. “The killer still generally calls on a landline, but they do throw in references to Facebook and Twitter, weaving in occasional cell phone stalking for good measure” (Legel). For the time during which this film was made, critics agreed that caller ID and other creative uses of technology could have been used to enhance the film.