Film Review: Wes Craven Returns to Form With Entertaining ‘Scre4m’

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CHICAGO – Wes Craven’s legendary franchise returns this weekend with a decade since its last installment and to a genre that has been almost entirely bereft of creativity since its director started to lose his prominence as one of its best. Can “Scre4m” rejuvenate the slasher genre like the first film did or will it fall victim to the rule that horror sequels almost always suck? With rumors of reshoots, a trouble script process, and a cast of actors who aren’t exactly household names any more, could “Scre4m” be anything but a disappointment? Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

It makes this horror fan very happy to report that, on multiple levels, “Scre4m” works. It’s not as scary as it could have been (although what fourth part in a franchise honestly is?) as Craven and writers Kevin Williamson and an uncredited Ehren Kruger go for meta-commentary over actual suspense, but there’s simply no denying the craftsmanship on display here. After the worst film of his career, the dreadful “My Soul to Take,” Wes Craven proves yet again that he has the ability to bounce back and offer a bloody slice of entertainment as well-made as most of the films he has inspired in the decades since his debut.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Scre4m” in our reviews section.

“Scre4m” is a remake, reboot, and sequel rolled into one and a commentary on all of the above. It is as self-aware a film as you’re ever going to see and if that kind of “meta” writing in lieu of actual characters grates on your nerves than you’re likely to have some frayed ones by the time the last drop of blood is spilled. The film makes numerous references to not just “Scream” and its two sequels but to dozens of other horror films as diverse as “Peeping Tom” and “Piranha.” It’s the kind of script in which characters watch “Shaun of the Dead” and answer trivia questions about “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” It is a film about the generation spawned by “Scream” – the people for whom horror movies are a language and a way of life.

And, for the truly twisted, an inspiration. Of course, “Scre4m” has to open with a big set-piece in which a recognizable star gets gutted a la Drew Barrymore in “Scream” but this one folds in on itself repeatedly in ways that I won’t spoil here other than to say that it’s a perfect set-up for the film in that it offers something to smile and laugh at without really translating the suspense of that amazing opening sequence from the first film.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Scre4m” review.

“Scre4m” stars Neve Campbell, Emma Roberts, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Marley Shelton, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Erik Knudsen, Nico Tortorella, Rory Culkin, and Alison Brie. It was written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. It is rated R and opens on April 15th, 2011.

Photo credit: Dimension

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