Dimension Films | Release Date: April 15, 2011
6.4
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Generally favorable reviews based on 400 Ratings
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229
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106
Negative:
65
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6
MovieGuyBrianApr 15, 2011
The series that refuses to die. Most horror movies have been going down hill for years so I'm glad they took another stab at resurrecting the SCREAM franchise - why not?! Big stars, decent twists and lots of blood will almost always equateThe series that refuses to die. Most horror movies have been going down hill for years so I'm glad they took another stab at resurrecting the SCREAM franchise - why not?! Big stars, decent twists and lots of blood will almost always equate to big box office bucks and SCREAM 4 adequately mocks and embraces the horror genre all at the same time. It's a little cheesy and too self-referential for it's own good (which is the idea; although I'm not sure they intended to be as over-the-top as it is) - but it mostly knows how to maintain the suspense, occasionally entertain and, heaven forbid, be a watchable movie. It won't bring back much life to a dilapidated genre - but it works. If you're a fan of the series carve out a little time this weekend - you won't be disappointed. Expand
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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6
rotkuMar 25, 2012
Scream 4 does exactly what is expected, roll the first three movie together, add a twist (although hardly a surprise when it does happen) and let the body count rise. Worth a watch if you enjoyed the first three.
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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5
TVJerryApr 29, 2011
This sequel hopes to outsmart the audience by turning the tropes upside down, but it's more posing that payoff. It's the tenth anniversary of the original massacre and the town's teens are celebrating, even the original trio is backThis sequel hopes to outsmart the audience by turning the tropes upside down, but it's more posing that payoff. It's the tenth anniversary of the original massacre and the town's teens are celebrating, even the original trio is back (Campbell, Cox & Arquette). Naturally, Ghost Face starts stabbing and provides plenty of bloody blows. There are a few mild jumps, but updating it to the social media slant isn't really that original. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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4
dnaxmeisterApr 19, 2011
i found scream 4 to be hilarious, with its sudden outbursts and random comments, just adding some blood and guts to it makes it all the more weird. but what made this movie funny is that all the actors constantly try to avoid there inevitablei found scream 4 to be hilarious, with its sudden outbursts and random comments, just adding some blood and guts to it makes it all the more weird. but what made this movie funny is that all the actors constantly try to avoid there inevitable death with their knowledge of scary movies that they've seen. If wes craven and kevin williamson thought this movie was gonna be scary they were far from right. suspencful maybe. scary not close. Expand
5 of 9 users found this helpful54
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6
KendylKlownfishApr 20, 2011
Scream 4 has its ups and downs -- it is at times both fresh and formulaic -- however, fans of the series will be more than pleased. Pros: Lots of meta humor; likable characters with hilarious dialog; it feels like a classic slasher film.Scream 4 has its ups and downs -- it is at times both fresh and formulaic -- however, fans of the series will be more than pleased. Pros: Lots of meta humor; likable characters with hilarious dialog; it feels like a classic slasher film. Cons: Formulaic; predictable; adds nothing fresh to the series; a hit-or-miss twist. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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4
imthenoobFeb 2, 2012
It started off better then I expected (I am a huge Saw fan and I found it rather funny and kind of pathetic that they diss Saw in the intro of the film) but it took a huge turn for the worst. The entire film was just a remake of the firstIt started off better then I expected (I am a huge Saw fan and I found it rather funny and kind of pathetic that they diss Saw in the intro of the film) but it took a huge turn for the worst. The entire film was just a remake of the first film when it comes down to it and its terribly acted. The last 20-30 mins (the climax of the film) was enjoyable and probably the only actual good part of the film.

Overall, It was really just a re-imagining of the first film and at times it was good but most of the time it was just terrible. Only made to try and attract a new generation of fans and imo it could have been a lot better.
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1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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5
Edward9630Jul 23, 2011
Scream 4 is an alright film. There were very good stab scenes in the film and the story can be interesting at some stages. The problems with this film is the movie trys to be way too funny but it dosent reach it goals and as much as it doesScream 4 is an alright film. There were very good stab scenes in the film and the story can be interesting at some stages. The problems with this film is the movie trys to be way too funny but it dosent reach it goals and as much as it does improve from the third one, it stills dosent reach the goal that 1 and 2 did. I would give this a high rental. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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4
spadenxDec 7, 2011
The film is pretty terrible up until the last 30 mins then it got rather good. I did enjoy the twist at the end. The acting was horrible through out, the kills were boring and too generic, the entire film just sucked until the twist happensThe film is pretty terrible up until the last 30 mins then it got rather good. I did enjoy the twist at the end. The acting was horrible through out, the kills were boring and too generic, the entire film just sucked until the twist happens then its enjoyable for that part. Sadly though, It doesnt make up for the trash before that. Expand
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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6
HawkWDSep 28, 2015
Before I become to critical of the film, let me say that Scream 4 did save the series after the disastrous Scream 3 and had its high points. However, between Emma Robert's lackluster acting and the gaping plot holes, Scream 4 certainly didBefore I become to critical of the film, let me say that Scream 4 did save the series after the disastrous Scream 3 and had its high points. However, between Emma Robert's lackluster acting and the gaping plot holes, Scream 4 certainly did not bring the series back to its former glory. Don't get me started on the ridiculous scene where the publicist is killed because there are multiple issues with that on its on. Overall, there are some great moments like when Kirby answers horror movie trivia with the killer, but the movie is plagued with mediocre acting and mediocre writing that make me refuse to score it higher than a 6. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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6
ShiiraApr 29, 2011
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The cinema club leaders of Westboro High are pretty uninformed about the genre they profess to admire, or maybe it's a matter of the two fanboys placing restrictions on what constitutes a horror movie; a matter of tastemaker-sanctioned genre staticness. During a meeting, in which the rules for surviving a horror movie are being dissected, Charlie says, "To be the new version, you know, 2.0? The killer should be filming the murders." With this heedless declaration, John McNaughton's "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", and more importantly, "Man Bites Dog"(the original meta-horror movie that meant serious business), goes unacknowledged, especially when Robbie puts in his own two cents, adding that "it's the natural next step in psycho slasher innovation," as if the murderers in "Scream 4" are pioneering a new methodology in the killing business. Benoit Poelvoorde, playing "himself" in the 1992 Belgian production, is the subject of a documentary film that profiles the day-to-day travails of a serial killer. To paraphrase and co-opt Robbie's proclamation in its proper context, "the psycho slasher innovation" of "Man Bites Dog" is how the filmmaker shifts the focus away from the cult of personality surrounding the homicidal maniac and more towards the person he's putting under life-threatening duress, so that the moviegoer identifies with the inevitable victim and not some hillbilly with a chainsaw, or a knife-wielding goalie. Ben doesn't have the sex appeal of an anti-hero; he has no gimmick. With the cameras rolling, this no frills psychopath, at one point, suffocates a young boy in his own bed, the culmination of a home invasion gone awry. The hands that hold the pillow steady over the smothered child's face are ordinary hands, all-too-human ones, without the accoutrements of knives extending from the fingers. The vicarious thrill of harmless bloodlusting people get from watching people die is largely absent, made strange by the film's straight-faced mockumentary form, in which the horror is the end-result of a slaying, and not the creative spectacle(the incident that prompts the arterial spray and all manners of bloodletting) leading up to the latest casualty in Jason, Michael Myers, or Freddy Kreuger's killing spree. The content is self-reflexive. It confronts the moviegoer with this burning question: Why do we like to watch people die in grisly fashion for fun? The "Stab" franchise, the movie series within the movie series, is used in "Scream 4" to exemplify the fandom behind slasher flicks in the form of an impromptu film festival, a "Stab"-athon staged by Robbie and Charlie. Playing to a capacity crowd in a barn house, "Stab" open just like "Scream", but with one significant change in the film-within-the-film adaptation of "The Woodsboro Murders", the Gail Weathers bestselling book that gives the "real-life" account of the Ghostface Killer , whose fictitious handiwork is transformed into non-fiction by "Scream 2". Heather Graham, playing the role of the girl who gets murdered at the outset of "Scream", disrobes in the bathroom, an outright deviation from "actual" events leading up to the crime. To us, the actual moviegoers, the nudity is implied, but to the "Stab" audience, the partygoers at the "Stab"-athon, the suggested nudity from their diegetical perspective is frontal, and gratuitous, since the character Drew Barrymore plays, never endeavors to shower, therefore deconstructing the slasher pic trope of topless nubiles, because the bathroom scene in "Stab" is indeed superfluous, which is proven by the put-upon historicity of the original "Scream". In "Stab", just like many slasher movies of its ilk, the young woman shows us her breasts, then sooner or later, she shows us her blood. "Man Bites Dog" knows the trope well, and is more blunt about the interconnectedness that binds sex and violence together in all its R-rated glory, by replacing the usual display of exhibitionism(or consensual sex) found in most dead teenager movies with gang-rape as the prelude to the woman being murdered. "Man Bites Dog" brings to the foreground the seeming disinterest in sex that is common to all the major figures in the annals of horror cinema. Like "Man Bites Dog", the killer has sex on the brain in "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", when Otis sexually assaults the woman that he and the titular character kills(along with her husband and son), and videotapes. These two seminal horror films are real in a way that "Scream" can never be, even with the advantage of the film-within-the-film device. As the Ghostface Killer records his attempted murder of Gail in the hayloft, the juxtaposition between the "true story" and "based on a true story" reveals nary a difference in form and content, especially since the homicidal videographer never shows his true face. He hides behind an iconic mask, a signifer of entertainment, purveyor of cinematic violence. Expand
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6
themozaApr 24, 2011
Scream 4 is a return for the original cast members and director Wes Craven..... but it seems that a lot has been lost in the transfer to a more modern horror. While I applaud Scream 4 in originality (the old satirical humour is still veryScream 4 is a return for the original cast members and director Wes Craven..... but it seems that a lot has been lost in the transfer to a more modern horror. While I applaud Scream 4 in originality (the old satirical humour is still very much alive) a lot of tension, for me at least, was lost to half arsed dialogue, lack of build up and a predictable structure. It just wasn't tense enough. I really didn't care about the new characters they brought to the franchise. In fact, the only reason Scream isn't getting a lower score is because I was nowhere near guessing the killers identity. That and I have a soft spot for slashers, a genre of horror films that has nearly dried up. And it was good to see ghostface.
But unless you're a hardcore fan of the franchise, I suggest a rent at most.
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5
MelcherApr 26, 2011
Very average, i was a fan of the originals of course, to me the best being 1 and 2. In any case, I think the producers / director tried to do too much here and tried waaay to hard to make it "hip" to the whole new media / internet / socialVery average, i was a fan of the originals of course, to me the best being 1 and 2. In any case, I think the producers / director tried to do too much here and tried waaay to hard to make it "hip" to the whole new media / internet / social media generation.

Has a few genuine scares, and also some funny moments, but overall the cast just looks like they are there going through the motions and the whole film loses a lot of its feeling this way. Again, i did enjoy some parts, but the plot really let this one down for me, along with the weak actors performances.
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6
TokyochuchuNov 1, 2014
Scream 4 is a mildly diverting sequel for fans of the slasher franchise. There is definitely some fun nostalgia to derived from the familiar characters and settings. That said, all the clever in movie talk about the predictability of sequelsScream 4 is a mildly diverting sequel for fans of the slasher franchise. There is definitely some fun nostalgia to derived from the familiar characters and settings. That said, all the clever in movie talk about the predictability of sequels / remakes ends up feeling very apt. Been there. Seen that. All the Ghostface staples are present and accounted for, but are blandly delivered without much innovation or suspense. Only the final stand dares to deviate from the usual formula. That said, it could have been a lot worse. Expand
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5
jimmytancrediJun 20, 2011
Pleasant surprise coming by from this. Scream 4 is the continuation of the franchise that best know how to relate to the original film through a script that manages to be creative, intelligent and fun most of the time. The opening sequencePleasant surprise coming by from this. Scream 4 is the continuation of the franchise that best know how to relate to the original film through a script that manages to be creative, intelligent and fun most of the time. The opening sequence can now rival the great original film by making a joke of metalanguage in creative ways, something that the applicant in the franchise. Here the screenwriter Kevin Williamson can (de)construct a remake with new characters while giving prominence to the old characters, can play with the cliches of the genre, but can be stressful enough to function as suspense. In the collective ideas, those who work are more numerous than those who donâ Expand
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6
TheChaser1985Jun 21, 2011
This movie was watchable and the plot was good enough, but it just doesn't live up to Scream 1/2. Sometimes the acting was just horrible, especially from Sid's cousin.
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6
ZacharyMatsonApr 24, 2011
I thought the first Scream was very good, but as for two and three, it's like they said i this one, "They keep recycling the same **** over and over again..." but I think the fourth redeemed the series. I didn't love this film, but I didn'tI thought the first Scream was very good, but as for two and three, it's like they said i this one, "They keep recycling the same **** over and over again..." but I think the fourth redeemed the series. I didn't love this film, but I didn't hate it at all. Expand
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4
ilo2112Apr 19, 2011
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This review will be relatively spoiler freeâ Expand
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5
jimmydeanApr 23, 2011
Not bad not good. Could be a renter. I went for free and had fun. It pokes fun at itself and the genre. I come from the T&A school of horror comedy. So, I guess I wanted more of that and less dutch angles. Oh yea I read books too.
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6
StopLookListenJun 11, 2011
Scream 4
A Review by Chris Camz of UnfashionablyLateReviews@blogspot.com As a newcomer to the scream franchise, I required a considerable amount of convincing before paying $6 for a ticket. After seeing the movie, I can say with
Scream 4
A Review by Chris Camz of UnfashionablyLateReviews@blogspot.com As a newcomer to the scream franchise, I required a considerable amount of convincing before paying $6 for a ticket. After seeing the movie, I can say with confidence that I could have used the money for 12 packs of pop rocks and probably would have been happier with the results. Like I said, Iâ
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4
j30Nov 8, 2011
Not as bad as Scream 3, but doesn't come close to touching 1 or 2. With Kevin Williamson behind the pen I had high expectations going in. While some of those were met, overall it felt like maybe they (Craven and Williamson) should step awayNot as bad as Scream 3, but doesn't come close to touching 1 or 2. With Kevin Williamson behind the pen I had high expectations going in. While some of those were met, overall it felt like maybe they (Craven and Williamson) should step away from the Scream movies and work on something new. Expand
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6
Potter17Oct 12, 2011
I wasn't expected a reboot of the series but I was surprised by how "Scream 4" doesn't take itself so seriously and still knows how to play with the banalities of the horror genre.
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5
AkkharOct 20, 2011
Scream 4 is a dull and one of the least thrilled thriller movie . it wasn't scary at all and The story pretty much sucked . All the positive point goes to the awesome ensemble cast members . Cortney , David , Hayden did the best work , EmmaScream 4 is a dull and one of the least thrilled thriller movie . it wasn't scary at all and The story pretty much sucked . All the positive point goes to the awesome ensemble cast members . Cortney , David , Hayden did the best work , Emma and nave seems a little of but its okay ! Except for the cast the whole movie would probably be a non watchable movie . The way people die here that was so funny . my whole 5.5 point goes to the cast specially the names above ! Expand
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5
jayemmOct 27, 2011
Not the best this year by a long shot, but not the worse either. I've seen a few of the others in the franchise (so I wasn't expecting something heavyweight in the brain area) and I more-or-less got what I paid for. The performances wereNot the best this year by a long shot, but not the worse either. I've seen a few of the others in the franchise (so I wasn't expecting something heavyweight in the brain area) and I more-or-less got what I paid for. The performances were mostly solid, the exception being that of Emma Roberts who seemed out of her depth (even in such a shallow movie). The blend of comedy and jumps was okay and the plot was daft enough to stay true to its predecessors. I think if you're not a fan of the genre, you should probably stay well clear - and if you are a fan, try to take it easy and not expect too much from a critically ill horse. Expand
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4
xximmabadkittyOct 27, 2011
I would have to say that this movie is way better than the 2nd & 3rd, but that's probably because its a lot like the first. There were a lot of similar scenes where at times it was kind of hard to tell if the were continuing the story orI would have to say that this movie is way better than the 2nd & 3rd, but that's probably because its a lot like the first. There were a lot of similar scenes where at times it was kind of hard to tell if the were continuing the story or trying to re-make the first. Besides that this movie wasn't too bad. It kept me entertained but I feel like they didn't take this one too seriously. The ending caught me by surprise and I thought it was the best part of the movie. That's my two cents (: Expand
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6
ScarTissue1990Jan 20, 2013
I liked this movie and I didn't.. But for some reason, it didn't feel like a "Scream" film. However, I loved how Sidney's character how she matured for the better; as well as Gale's whom has stayed true to herself throughout the whole series.I liked this movie and I didn't.. But for some reason, it didn't feel like a "Scream" film. However, I loved how Sidney's character how she matured for the better; as well as Gale's whom has stayed true to herself throughout the whole series. I didn't really like the idea of introducing a new group. But It's a new beginning, so you gotta do what you gotta do. But it just didn't feel like a Scream film sadly. It ill probably grow on me, I've only seen it three times. Expand
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6
csw12Nov 26, 2015
This Scream is a lot better than the previous piles of crap. Little more scary and funny at the same time but the killer caught me by total surprise which was really refreshing for a horror picture.
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5
AutiTakahashiMar 20, 2013
“Scream 4”, also known as “Scre4m”, knows its genre well enough to prove its superiority over the dumb horror films it proudly mocks, but it doesn’t come close to matching the quality of some of the great horror films it celebrates.“Scream 4”, also known as “Scre4m”, knows its genre well enough to prove its superiority over the dumb horror films it proudly mocks, but it doesn’t come close to matching the quality of some of the great horror films it celebrates. Considering the franchise’s satirical nature, the past decade has provided director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson with much material to work with. The movie succeeds when it sticks to the self-aware antics that it’s known for. Too bad this sequel often abandons this clever concept for ideas we’ve all grown familiar with.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), one of the survivors of the first three “Scream” films, has returned to Woodsboro to promote her new book. She unwisely decides to visit her hometown near the anniversary of the first Ghostface massacre. Since it was death anniversaries and her surprise visits that triggered the massacres, you would think Sidney would keep a safe distance from Woodsboro, but no worries. Upon news that a new Ghostface has started a killing spree, Sidney re-unites with fellow survivors, Dewey and Gale, who are now married. The mature age of the three has granted them a major advantage over the new generation of students. We all know that, in horror movies, adults have a lower mortality rate than teenagers.

Read more here: http://localmoviereview.com/scream-4-movie-review/
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6
dev92Aug 25, 2012
This isn't up to the same standard as the first Scream film but it is still enjoyable and well worth a view. I actually enjoyed the ensemble cast and thought that they all did very good jobs. Hopefully they won't make a fifth one as that mayThis isn't up to the same standard as the first Scream film but it is still enjoyable and well worth a view. I actually enjoyed the ensemble cast and thought that they all did very good jobs. Hopefully they won't make a fifth one as that may just be a step too far. Expand
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4
cameronmorewoodNov 15, 2012
You start with a bad idea. Then you write a terrible script. Add some horror cliches,but so its not at all scary. Add some blood to show you mean business. What do you get? Scream 4.
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6
mds03Mar 3, 2013
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. To start, I am ahuge Scream series fan. When I first went to see it I didn't know what to expect. But in the end, it turned out to be decent. The only problem was the ending. I mean come on. Neve Campbelle got stabbed twice with a hunting knife and lived. How does that happen when everyone else who got stabbed once died. I guess they just couldn't afford to change things up a bit. The performances were great though, especially Hayden Panettiere's. Expand
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5
NefakiNov 30, 2013
I would recommend you this movie only if you are a fan of Wes Craven, the Scream series or you would watch ''any'' horror movie just because. Yeah it can make fun of itself, but the acting of the characters are as bad as the other 3 movies,I would recommend you this movie only if you are a fan of Wes Craven, the Scream series or you would watch ''any'' horror movie just because. Yeah it can make fun of itself, but the acting of the characters are as bad as the other 3 movies, and the stupidity of the characters (how come ALL OF THEM could be this stupid) just makes you angry while you are watching the movie. So I hope it will be the last movie in Scream Saga... Expand
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6
marcmyworksJan 10, 2014
A decent instalment to a dead franchise. This was supposed to open the door to a potential new Scream Trilogy, however after a decade none of the ideas were fresh and the death scenes were predictable. The film's message that the unexpectedA decent instalment to a dead franchise. This was supposed to open the door to a potential new Scream Trilogy, however after a decade none of the ideas were fresh and the death scenes were predictable. The film's message that the unexpected is the new cliche is accurate however nothing was added to counteract. Expand
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6
bradyshiroJan 2, 2014
Even though the film is more thrilling than scary, Scream 4 makes excellent use of its cast, new and old, and does very well as an updated who-dun-it thriller.
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4
Robinson2511Jun 8, 2014
As a big fan of the first 3 scream films, this was kinder disappointing honestly, it wasn't terrible, but it messes with the original formula in a bad way, but on the bright side, the scare factor is still there, the characters are veryAs a big fan of the first 3 scream films, this was kinder disappointing honestly, it wasn't terrible, but it messes with the original formula in a bad way, but on the bright side, the scare factor is still there, the characters are very interesting & despite every character being very well developed, you never know who the killer is until the finale, on the down side, the beginning is very silly & repetitive, there are a lot of very daft moments & the climax is absolute ****, nowhere near as entertaining as the first three & a lot stupider too, again has it's good points but after an 11 year gap, quite the disappointment, but that's probably just me! Expand
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5
MovieManiac83Apr 22, 2015
Eleven years after Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her posse last tangled with a mad slasher/killer, the Scream series has been exhumed. Ignoring or forgetting that the final part of the original trilogy, Scream 3, underwhelmed in termsEleven years after Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her posse last tangled with a mad slasher/killer, the Scream series has been exhumed. Ignoring or forgetting that the final part of the original trilogy, Scream 3, underwhelmed in terms of popular reaction and ticket sales, the filmmakers have exhaled a last, rattling breath of desperation and returned to a well that ran dry last millennium and hasn't gained any moisture since then. There's no real story here; Scream 4 offers little more than a group of familiar characters wandering around a horror movie setting and uttering self-referential one-liners as the body count mounts... and mounts... and mounts. Scream's brand of horror, which lampooned the slasher genre while simultaneously embracing it, was fun and breezy in 1996. In 2011, it's about as fresh as the whiff of something stale and rank from a crypt.

Scream 4 is so obsessed with the self-referential element that made the original Scream unique that it loses the capacity to be genuinely scary or funny. As in the recursive opening sequence (which features cameos by the likes of Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell), it tries too hard. The first two Screams worked because they were effortless. Scream 4, like its predecessor, shows the screenwriter's seams. The story is thin and belabored - more an excuse to encounter old friends and revel in new gore than the "revision" promised by the promotional material. The tag line is "New Decade. New Rules." But it doesn't seem like much has changed, except that the word "reboot" gets mentioned a few times. Despite regurgitating elements from its predecessors, Scream 4 is not a reboot; it's a sequel.

Toward the end, there's an opportunity for Scream 4 to break from the monotony of Horror 101 and, at least for a moment, I thought it was going to do it. Just as the glee was beginning to well up within me at the audacity being displayed by everyone involved (the actors, director Wes Craven, scriptwriter Kevin Williamson), the bubble burst. It's a cruel tease, more frustrating that the pieces of fruit in Austin Powers. The near-brush with boldness makes the flaccid conclusion all the more disappointing.

I doubt this is the last we'll see of the Scream series since horror franchises are as incapable of being killed as their monstrous stars. It is less likely that Craven will be back for a Scream 5. To quote Danny Glover, he's getting too old for this **** Scream 4 will probably prove sufficiently profitable that the Weinsteins will dial up another one, and this series will transform into what it once gleefully parodied - if it's not there already.

Not a Horror Masterpiece nor a Disaster.
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5
MovieMasterEddyApr 6, 2016
Eleven years after Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her posse last tangled with a mad slasher/killer, the Scream series has been exhumed. Ignoring or forgetting that the final part of the original trilogy, Scream 3, underwhelmed in termsEleven years after Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her posse last tangled with a mad slasher/killer, the Scream series has been exhumed. Ignoring or forgetting that the final part of the original trilogy, Scream 3, underwhelmed in terms of popular reaction and ticket sales, the filmmakers have exhaled a last, rattling breath of desperation and returned to a well that ran dry last millennium and hasn't gained any moisture since then. There's no real story here; Scream 4 offers little more than a group of familiar characters wandering around a horror movie setting and uttering self-referential one-liners as the body count mounts... and mounts... and mounts. Scream's brand of horror, which lampooned the slasher genre while simultaneously embracing it, was fun and breezy in 1996. In 2011, it's about as fresh as the whiff of something stale and rank from a crypt.

Scream 4 is so obsessed with the self-referential element that made the original Scream unique that it loses the capacity to be genuinely scary or funny. As in the recursive opening sequence (which features cameos by the likes of Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell), it tries too hard. The first two Screams worked because they were effortless. Scream 4, like its predecessor, shows the screenwriter's seams. The story is thin and belabored - more an excuse to encounter old friends and revel in new gore than the "revision" promised by the promotional material. The tag line is "New Decade. New Rules." But it doesn't seem like much has changed, except that the word "reboot" gets mentioned a few times. Despite regurgitating elements from its predecessors, Scream 4 is not a reboot; it's a sequel.

Toward the end, there's an opportunity for Scream 4 to break from the monotony of Horror 101 and, at least for a moment, I thought it was going to do it. Just as the glee was beginning to well up within me at the audacity being displayed by everyone involved (the actors, director Wes Craven, scriptwriter Kevin Williamson), the bubble burst. It's a cruel tease, more frustrating that the pieces of fruit in Austin Powers. The near-brush with boldness makes the flaccid conclusion all the more disappointing.

I doubt this is the last we'll see of the Scream series since horror franchises are as incapable of being killed as their monstrous stars. It is less likely that Craven will be back for a Scream 5. To quote Danny Glover, he's getting too old for this **** Scream 4 will probably prove sufficiently profitable that the Weinsteins will dial up another one, and this series will transform into what it once gleefully parodied - if it's not there already.

Not a Horror Masterpiece nor a Disaster.
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