DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: DVD Features High Body-Count Shriekquel
It’s been a decade since the homicidal maniac known as Ghostface (voiced by Roger L. Jackson) last embarked on a harrowing reign of terror around the City of Woodsboro. Over the uneventful interim, calm has returned to the tight-knit community where the only visible reminder of what once transpired are the replicas of the sadistic slasher’s mask which some perverted pranksters nailed to telephone posts as a macabre tribute to the tragedy.
Such insensitive attempts at gallows humor notwithstanding, proud survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) feels that it’s finally safe to return to her hometown for the first time in years. So, despite having been Ghostface’s primary target, she schedules a visit as the last leg of a promotional tour for her memoir about the sensational killing sprees.
Unfortunately, upon her arrival, Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) interrupts the book signing to announce that the disemboweled remains of a couple of teenagers (Brittany Robertson and Aimee Teegarden) have just been discovered, and that it looks like it might be the work of a reincarnated Ghostface. Then, when the sheriff subsequently finds a blood-stained hunting knife in the trunk of Sidney’s rental car, he orders her to stick around Woodsboro until her name is cleared.
This double-murder jumpstarts the fresh round of senseless slaughter serving as the raison d’etre for Scream 4, a high body-count shriekquel designed for fans of the franchise who appreciate its combination of spine-tingling suspense and self-reverential parody of the scary movie genre. The casting for this installment also reflects that creative team’s continued commitment to top-flight talent, between returnees David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and Heather Graham, and series newcomers Anna Paquin. Emma Roberts, Kristen Bell, Anthony Anderson, Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin.
As for the plotline, Scream 4 revives the fairly formulaic “crazed madman with a penchant for stalking attractive teens home alone and in wooded areas” theme. Nonetheless, it’s tautly-enough executed to keep you on edge and guessing the villain’s identity for the duration. Plus, the picture features lots of comic relief via “Stab 7,” a film within the film which periodically enables characters to poke fun at horrifying horror flick conventions and clichés.
A worthy sequel certain to scare the bejesus out of you.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, underage drinking and graphic violence.
Running time: 111 minutes
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment
DVD Extras: Feature commentary with director Wes Craven and the cast, deleted and extended scenes, alternate opening, extended ending, gag reel and “the Making of Scream 4” featurette.