(Dimension Films) Scre4m breathed new life into a decade-dormant slasher series, and is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy. The revitalized Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson flick has been dubbed a sequel, reboot, remake...and is more than a little aware of it. As someone who grew up with the original Scream movies, I had high expectations for this modernized revamp, and it truly went above and beyond what I hoped for.
To enjoy the Scream series, you have to realize that it's not meant to be taken seriously. The originals (1996, 1997, 2000) were a sly wink to the audience; Craven and Williamson took slasher movie stereotypes and not only mocked them, but played into them with voracious delight. Film geek Randy (Jamie Kennedy) explored the "rules" of horror movies, and Ghostface -- the masked killer -- simultaneously exploited them as he stalked the residents of Woodsboro. Sidney Prescott, immortalized by Neve Campbell, remained the victim of several Ghostface incarnations throughout the trilogy. The last few standing by Scream 3 (2000) included Sidney, bumbling Deputy Dewey (David Arquette), and his girlfriend/wife, ice-queen reporter Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox). These three seasoned veterans have returned to the series over a decade later, along with a new cast of young ingénues ready to scream on cue.
Scre4m mirrors the first film as a reboot, with a tortured young victim (Emma Roberts), her suspiciously secretive boyfriend (Nico Tortorella), two film geeks (Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen), another novice cop (Marley Shelton), and a handful of seemingly expendable young women (Hayden Panettiere, Alison Brie, Kristen Bell, and Anna Paquin, to name a few). This time, though, the Scream we know and love is flipped on its head, ever conscious of the predictability of the old "rules". The deaths are bigger, badder, and somehow even more over-the-top; no one is safe. To keep up with the times, Ghostface and his victims are equipped with their own updated technology. One of the film geeks is recording his entire high school experience live, while many of the murders are also captured on film. By incorporating modern concepts of social networking and fame into the reboot, Scre4m is brought up to speed to the 21st century with hilarious, bloody commentary.
Our old friends have been safe for years when they’re suddenly thrown back into the Woodsboro Murders. Gail and Dewey struggle to reconcile Gail’s ruthless aspirations and the monotony of married life, while Neve Campbell adds new depth to the character of Sidney as she struggles to keep her young cousin Jill from danger. Thankfully, she's learned some new moves since the last time she was in town, and won’t go down without a fight. Hayden Panettiere chopped off her hair and thankfully stepped out of her usual cheerleader role as Kirby, Jill's bada** movie-buff best friend -- definitely my favorite newbie. The teenagers and adults must figure out who has picked up Ghostface’s immortal mask this time, before it’s too late!
The DVD & Blu-ray combo offers commentary from Wes Craven, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, and Neve Campbell, along with a gag reel and behind-the-scenes look at the film. It seems like Ghostface's pranks ran rampant on the set, with a number of “gotcha” moments for the cast and crew. Most notably, everyone involved in Scre4m hails Wes Craven as a respectful and brilliant director. To have the entire original cast come back so many years later is a testament to Craven’s style and talent. The commentary and behind-the-scenes looks at Scre4m are excellent additions for anyone looking to delve deeper into the story and production. (Did you know that none of the actors have ever met the voice of Ghostface? He remains an anonymous, creepy mystery on the other end of the phone during a scene!)
If you're a fan of the old series, the new one kicks it up a notch. All bets are off, and anyone is expendable... I can't wait to see what else they bring to the new trilogy. Here’s a fun DVD-viewing game for all you movie buffs over 21: drink any time someone mentions how "meta" everything is or takes a not-so-subtle dig at reality TV, modern horror movies, or the younger generation. Let us know what you think about the opening scene and what your favorite death was!
For Fans Of: Scream, Hatchet, Friday the 13th
Why We Like It: Wes Craven, Tongue-in-Cheek, Ghostface
'Scre4m' is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy in stores now.