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Survivor Sidney Prescott, now a successful self-help author, returns to her home town of Woodsboro only to be greeted with a new slew of murders and Ghost Face returning yet again. The mainstream horror genre has been known to release remakes one after the other. Many believe this is due to Hollywood running out of fresh ideas. This gives Scream 4 plenty of ammo on the genre to provide quite a bit of comedy. Kevin Williamson thankfully returns to write another sequel on the franchise he created. The clever mix of horror and comedy that was enjoyed by many in the original has been brought back for this sequel. Sidney, Gale, and Dewey have all returned to the film as a new set of characters are brought into the film. With technology taking a large part of civilization nowadays, Scream 4 does a good job of incorporating it into the plot. While I was anticipating the return of the characters I highly enjoyed in the previous films, a piece of them was definitely missing. Gale lost her edge that made her cruel, yet hilarious. Dewey was known to be a silly, yet lovable dimwit who has turned into a professional. Sidney didn't have as much screen time in this film as I expected. Most of the movie is filled with scenes of the new cast and Gale. The dialogue is smart and well-written that really shows where the horror genre has gone since the release of the original trilogy. The movie is certainly fast paced and sure to keep the audience's attention from start to finish. While I can see the ending splitting audiences down the middle, it's executed well.
With a decade passing, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette return with different vibes. I felt let down by David Arquette since he was great as Dewey in the original trilogy. Neve Campbell gets little screen time compared to what she was given in the first three of the series. The viewers never get to see inside the character of Sidney quite as much as they did in the original trilogy. Courteney Cox does a fine job from start to finish. Her character is given much more screen time than she had previously. In the beginning of the film, there are quite a few cameos given by stars such as Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, and others. Each one offering some good comic relief. Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere are brought into the series as some of the leading characters. Both ladies pull their weight just fine. I find Emma Roberts to be an underrated actress who hasn't gotten the fame she deserves. Each casting decision is done very well as they all fit their characters perfectly.
Advances have been made to more than just the rules of horror films. The visuals have changed quite a bit. Luckily, Scream 4 doesn't pile high with CGI. The blood and deaths remain practical FX. In fact, this is most definitely the most brutal and goriest film of the entire Scream franchise. Once the film gets started, it doesn't let up with the savage death scenes. One of the biggest concerns I had before seeing images of the film was Ghost Face. Fortunately, the mask and costume have been kept intact. Don't try to fix something that isn't broken! The cinematography looks good and the bigger budget definitely shows.
For those of you worried that Scream 4 would ruin the franchise can calm down. This is clearly an improvement on the series since Scream 3. It's on par with Scream 2. I walked in with high expectations and came out fully satisfied. Scream 4 knows what it is: a fun slasher flick that can take comedy and horror and mix them together. With rumors of a new trilogy beginning, I can only hope that Scream 5 and Scream 6 can hold the quality that's shown here. It's quite clear that Scream 4 is the best horror film to come out so far for the year 2011. If you didn't like the original Scream trilogy, there isn't anything here that will change your mind on that. However, fans of the originals will find this very enjoyable. Sit back, relax, and enjoy seeing Ghost Face return to the big screen. While there are definitely a few flaws, Scream 4 pulls through as being highly entertaining and a thrill ride horror fans won't want to miss. Kevin Williamson brings a spark to the Scream franchise that no other writer could. Good job Wes Craven. You have certainly redeemed yourself from the garbage known as My Soul to Take. Keep it up!