The original Scream changed the course of horror cinema, but I didn’t enjoy Scream 2 or 3 half as much, so when Scream 4 came out to mixed reviews, I skipped it. That was a mistake. Scream 4 is closer to the original, and yes, it’s another complicated, stabby whodunnit, but it embraces teenagers use of social media, and has things to say that are still relevant now.
Sydney returns to Woodsboro on the fifteenth anniversary of the original killings to promote her new book. Dewey is now Sheriff, and is married to ex-journalist Gail, who has writer’s block. Sydney has a niece, Jill, in the High School, which presents us with another set of teens for the Ghostface killer to brutally pick off.
We’ve seen it all before, but that’s the point, and the meta conversations about fourth installments of franchises were predictably fun. A lot of people die, and it could be my age, or because of the way of the world now, but seeing someone stab dozens of people in a small town felt much more disturbing in 2021. I didn’t guess the killer, just like I didn’t in the first film. This one’s motives are unexpectedly chilling. The amusingly-titled fifth installment, Scream, is out in a couple of months. October 2021 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first Scream. It’s a terrible shame Wes Craven wasn’t around to direct Scream 5 (a.k.a Scream). Rest in peace, sir.