The Scream movies (or at least the first two) – when they came out in the mid-90’s, re-invigorated the tired slasher/horror genre, with a new could-be-anyone slasher character – Ghost face; and a series of self aware horror rules.
So when did the series finally jump the shark? A term coined on the demise of Happy Days, when a once popular show – in its death throes, commits a bizarre act, which forever seals its fate. In Happy Days case, it was when Fonzie jumped a shark on a Jet-Ski.
Back to Scream, the series could of jumped the shark anywhere in the terrible third movie. The second just got away with it, pulling the rug out on the series of suspects by having the killer turn out to be a previously present character who was different to what the audience thought. (In 2, Billy Loomis’s mother and in 3 – Sidney’s half brother or some nonsense!).
The third was a pointless retread of the second but at least it had some new rules to observe different to the first and second one. For a reminder, watch the below :
Part 4 is observing the “remake” rules, so common in cinema these days.
As part of these rules is the notion that the killer/or killers will attempt to recreate the murders in a similar sequence as a tribute, to the original; but add in something new we haven’t seen before.
So Scream 4 bridges the generational gap as survivors – Sidney Prescott, Officer Doofy and Gail Weathers (Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney (“throw some more soft light on my old face”) Cox appear; along with a whole host of new teenagers.
The theme here is – technology, with the killer/killers now videoing the murders and uploading them to the internet, for some kind of attention seeking kick. Which tries to make a statement about the modern phenomena of being internet famous – for fames sake.
So throughout Scream 4, it presents the usual mix of oddball and shifty characters. You know? Just after Ghostface flees, one of them turns up covered in blood and says they found the knife, etc! Which tries to sway you into deciding who Ghostface is.
Well since the second one, the rules have changed and characters unknown come into the mix, which spoils some of the fun. Scream 4 is no different in this respect, as the killer/s turn out to be Sidney’s own niece Jill along with a college movie geek guy called Charlie – much in the guise of the Randy character from 1 & 2.
The motivation was to gain fame through the internet – by filming and uploading it all, by recreating the murders on the anniversary. Even down to the sick recreation of the self stabbing at the end, to throw the police off of the surviving killers scent.
The problem with this twist is that it totally stupid, no matter how hard you try and make it work.
Sidney’s niece – Jill, not only stabs Sidney, Gail, kills all of her friends, her boyfriend but her own mother aswell! And whilst we are supposed to be believe she is one sick puppy, who is willing to do anything for fame – it just doesn’t work.
And even a series as tongue-in-cheek (or knife-in-cheek) as Scream, can’t recover from this. I bet on paper, the new intended young Sidney related replacement character for the new series – actually being Ghostface, seemed quite clever.
Come to think of it, aswell you are left thinking that Auntie Sidney should really be having a rainman style breakdown episode, following 20 years of living in terror and having everyone around her stabbed to death.
But she is just kinda non-plussed by it all, especially killing niece Jill by using a defibrillator on her head and shooting her in the tit, with Doofy’s gun.
Its a rug puller for the audiences expectations for sure but all credibility has well and truly left the building and I can’t see in a million years how they can come back from that one with another Scream film.