If the Scream series is excellent at one thing, it’s parodying the hell out of itself, with each new installation adding one more layer of self-referential meta-humor. As such, Scream 4 is a pretty awful watch if you haven’t seen the previous films and a laborious one if you have.
For those unawares, a knife-wielding murderer in a common Ghostface Halloween costume goes around offing peeps for reasons detailed in the last five minutes, in pure Scooby Doo-style. It all starts with a taunting phone call from an omnipresent killer and it just rolls down hill from there until blood, blood, blood. Sidney (Neve “Where did her career go?” Campbell) returns to Woodsboro, setting of the original film to promote her book based on, y’know, the first three films when out of nowhere, the Ghostface murderer starts killing again. The film follows the same formula as the previous films to the T (I saw the first two before we screened this) where the new faces are your new killer(s) or simply a pretty girl in a tight shirt. Speaking of which: for all of the latter that the franchise has, the supreme lack of nudity is offensive. This is supposed to be about horror films? Ridiculous. Boobs. Need them. Import them if possible, but make them happen.
At any rate, the film spends the running time aping itself while the script seems dusty, as if shelved a decade ago after everyone balked at the third film (for example: everyone still has a land line phone). The opening sequence (which I won’t spoil) is so irritatingly meta that I was bored with the film from the get-go. You wanted more Scream? They gave it to you. Yep, they sure did. There’s nothing horrible about this film at all, but you could be doing something better with your time, like… well, anything.