Bonne visite sur ce blog consacré au cinéma dans sa diversité, et en particulier sur le cinéma d'horreur et de fantastique C'est un peu mon défouloir où je cloque tout ce qui me passe par la tête (et je tiens à préciser que le blog est en perpétuel changement)
Number 4 works because it doesn't just do another instalment of a continuing story, it takes a self-referential view of the first three films. The writers have created a very believable history between numbers 3 and 4, with the main trio of characters having been very severely affected by the events of the first three films. It's nice to see them evolve Sidney from a subversion of the traditional “Final Girl” of horror films to an outright deconstruction – she's not just a character who keeps on having a whole bunch of murders take place around her – she's a person whose entire life has become defined by the tragedies in her past. Gale's career as a hot-topic reporter has waned, and she's looking for her limelight again, and Dewey has become the sheriff of a small town defined by its past tragedies. It works in realistic elements that are then used to frame the introduction of the new cast.
The thing that this film does best, and even then it's only through other faults, is ramping up the paranoia. As the characters sit around and discuss the situation as people around them keep dying, they try to figure out who it can be. Given that they're all aware they're in a horror film, and the fourth in a series of films which is doubling as a remake, they also realise that it will try to outdo the original, which means that those of us in the audience who try to second guess the film are kept guessing as to who's going to be the killer. I admit, I did figure out who it would be before the reveal, but it did have me guessing for a fair while, if only because the film keeps driving it home that you should be guessing.
Which brings us to...
HOWEVER: All of the above can be written of as me reading too much into a genre film. I like the Scream films. Scream 4 was not as good as the first, but it was definitely better than 2 or 3, and it was very entertaining. The characters are stupid, and the film is just too self aware which means you don't end up watching a story, you watch people give examples of scenes from horror films and act them out
It is also still a clever film at some points, and I think some of its stupidity may come down to some inexplicably bad acting. I did love themoment when Hayden Panettiere's character is being menaced on the phone by the killer, and he's making her play the trivia game. When he says, “Name the remake–” she cuts him off by listing pretty much every horror film remake of the past ten years to shut him up. That was clever. The gay character telling the killer he shouldn't be killed because he's gay was insulting, and just not clever.
If you like the Scream films then you should be ok with this. But if you don't like a film where the self-referential scenes are more frequent than the scenes that tell the story, you'll be frustrated. It keeps on coming back to itself so much it feels a bit like it's walking on the spot.