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Scream 4 (or Scre4m) revisits Woodsboro where Sidney Prescott has returned to promote a self help book written about her past experiences. No prizes for guessing, the homecoming doesn’t go exactly as planned and with Sidney, returns the infamous Ghostface killer back to slice and dice a whole new cohort of unrealistically attractive teenagers. Scream is back: same franchise, new generation, smarter twist.

The same old faces are still around, Courtney Cox as retired reporter Gale Weathers, David Arquette as Sheriff Dewey and Neve Campbell puts in another undeniably strong performance as the eternally unlucky Sidney Prescott.

But this time we are introduced to a whole host of fresh faces, including the incredibly watchable Emma Roberts (Julia Roberts niece who obviously inherited some of her aunt’s acting magic) Hayden Pannetierre, fresh from playing Amanda Knox and Maculay Culkin’s cousin (and lookalike) Rory Culkin, who serves as one half of the horror fanatic geeky duo, Charlie and Robbie who provide some of the best moments and many of the hundreds of movie references that Scre4m is stuffed full of.

As we have come to expect from the Scream movies, over the 15 years Wes Craven can be relied upon to direct with a sense of humour, albeit at times a sick sense of humour, but it’s funny nonetheless. Scre4m pokes fun at the genre that Craven was so key in shaping: girls appear with just a bra between them and becoming machete fodder, there are about a billion ‘in jokes’ referencing the trilogy and just about every horror film ever made and the film almost actively reviews its own genre with Craven turning out to be quite the cynic. If you ‘get it’ you will love it, if you don’t expect to grow tired pretty quickly.

Some might leave disappointed with the lack of actual scares but Scream was never about the inventive deaths, gore or honest screams, the franchise has always been a who dunnit? mystery. Saying that, to reach the credits successfully we are shoved about one million red herrings along the way, though the twist this time round is genuinely shocking and I challenge anyone to guess the killer early.

Remember not to take it too seriously and expect to be pleasantly surprised. The old slasher franchise still has life left in it yet.


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