Scream 4 revitalises its slashing origins with one last frightened shriek. A vicious storm is approaching. It can only mean one thing. Gale Weathers is back! Oh yes! Craven has returned, baby! All it took was a decade-long pause for him to deliver the best sequel in this franchise. Whilst not necessarily surpassing or equalling the fresh meta horror tropes that Craven had produced in the original, it's easily the most enjoyably bombastic instalment yet. Having now written a book on self-care, Sidney's last stop on her book tour is naturally going to be Woodsboro, where "Ghostface" reappears and is slaying the town's inhabitants once again.
No matter how successful your new book is, my initial thoughts would be to not visit a town where continuous murders have taken place and directly involved me. But, Sidney has a point to prove. The real killer is, fingers crossed, deceased and Woodsboro has nothing to fear. Eh! Wrong. A wild copycat killer approaches. "New decade, new rules". Craven cleverly disguises, or in the film's case makes abundantly clear, this sequel is primarily a remake. The relentless meta references consistently targeting the do's and don't's of structuring a remake, with the major point being "don't *beep* with the original". With that, the narrative structure is identical to the original but twisted by the smart dialogue to alter its design. By the third act reveal, Craven embellishes the original's slashed architecture and optimises it for both fans and general audiences.
Whilst this does bring some enjoyment to the blood-soaked table, with references such as a "movie within a movie" (to which I totally leapt up from my chair and shouted "mind blown!"), there are some detriments to this. When the killer is inevitably revealed, although annoyingly I guessed incorrectly (again...), their motives were weak. I didn't buy it. Not to mention various death scenes being questionable for the sake of comedy. I mean, I've never been stabbed directly in the brain, but I'd imagine you couldn't get out of a car, walk a few steps and exclaim a quippy one liner regarding Bruce Willis. A shame that the introductory sequence wasn't as memorable as previous instalments, which were certainly highlights of this franchise.
However, the best aspect that dominated every single scene, was the legendary Gale Weathers. Ten years later, and she has evolved into the sassiest slayer in all the lands. Do not, I repeat, do not mess with her. She'll shut you down with no hesitation. The other returning cast members, Campbell and Arquette, seemed somewhat tired. The latter unfortunately not pulling in a good performance at all compared to the early films. The fresher faced cast, consisting of Roberts and Panettiere, definitely elevated the buoyancy of the dialogue although the latter unquestionably looked older than a student (sorry!).
A few hit and miss moments to its climactic showdown, but for the most part I enjoyed the heck out of this "shriekquel"/"screamake". If it toned down the colossal wave of self-referential quips, the foreshadowing would not have been as obvious. Tighten up some of the plot holes and stretch out various performances, this may have even surpassed the original. But considering where the third chapter left us, this was a definite improvement that slashed me up good.