Two girls are brutally murdered in their house. It’s been ten years since the events known as “The Woodsboro Massacre”, which have inspired the Stab series of movies, and Sidney Prescott returns to her hometown as one of the stops on her book-signing tour. She is told by Dewey Riley, who is now the town’s Sheriff, about the murders. Gale Weathers-Riley, who is now Dewey’s wife, gets her old spark back and in an effort to be in the spotlight again, starts to investigate. It seems the killer is going to pay a visit to a special screening of all seven Stab films…………
God how times have changed! Upon its release in 1996, the original Scream had to be cut in the US to get an ‘R’ rating and received an ‘18’, as did it’s tamer sequels, in the UK. This long –awaited [or not, the series was originally going to finish with the third film] fourth instalment, despite being easily the bloodiest and most brutal of the films, gets it’s ‘R’ rating with no trouble and then a ‘15’ over here! With loads of murders, gallons of the red stuff splashing around and a killer who seems especially vicious, Scre4m has a nastier edge to it than the other films and even a slight old-school slasher feel. Director Wes Craven has clearly got his mojo back and delivers a tremendous series of stalk and slash sequences, while presenting just the right about of plot in-between. Things build to two tremendous climaxes in a barn converted to a cinema and a house, but sadly, just when it should have rightfully ended, we are presented with another climax, in a hospital which doesn’t quite work, though apparently it was the studio that was mainly responsible for this. The mystery is fairly well done [I didn’t guess much at all], though scriptwriter Kevin Williamson does seem to copy lots of things from the first three movies. What really lets Scre4m down for me though is one of the things that many people love about these films-the plethora of ‘post-modernist’ references to horror films, which annoy the hell out of me and almost take me out of the films,while not being anywhere near as clever as they think they are. This one opens with a dissing of torture porn, has lots of tedious dialogue about reboots and the like, and ends with an incredibly cheesy cry of “you know what the first rule of a remake is-don’t f*** with the original”. Yuck! Nonetheless, for the most part Scre4m is so enjoyable that it’s possible to ignore much of that [or at least cover your ears] and even I admit I loved the brilliant sequence involving two police men that combines humour and gory horror in a really great way. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Scre4m, which generally delivers a great audience-pleasing ride of thrills and spills, and may very well be the best of the series.