The “Scream” movies, which follow professional survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she outwits and outlasts a series of masked “Ghostface” killers, have fared better than most other contemporary horror franchises. Probably because the idea of combining a traditional slasher film with self-aware humor and horror film clichés was ahead of its time when Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven took a stab at creating the horror hybrid in 1996.
Just as the “Saw” films have become as appealing as a power tool to the back of the head and the “Final Destination” movies feel like they actually met their final destination two or three films ago, “Scream’s” winning formula hasn’t outlived it’s welcome.
In the shreakquel Campbell returns as Prescott, now a successful author who has returned to Woodsboro, the scene of the Ghostface killer crimes that made her a nationally famous survivor. Her book signing at a local store is, of course, scheduled on the anniversary of the original killings. Soon things get stabby and, as the bodies start to pile up Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) and his investigative reporter wife Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) try to discover who is behind the Ghostface mask.
Like the other movies in the series “Scream 4” is a Meta-thriller that pays tribute to and takes the Mickey out of the horror genre. It uses the conventions of other fright films to cue the action, before twisting familiar clichés to form something new. Of course the idea of referencing other movies isn’t as fresh as it was in the original, but screenwriter Williamson has updated the idea, suggesting that the rules from the first few “Screams” don’t apply because horror movies have changed in the age of social media.
Not to worry though, the basic “Scream” formula is in place. This movie, like the others, still opens with a funny, bloody scene or two, spoofing horror movies. They are giddy good fun and set the tone of the movie—gory and giggly.
At the heart of it all is Campbell, “Scream’s” only truly indispensible character. She grounds the whole story, bringing a real presence to an unreal situation. She isn’t the funny girl, or the self aware, sarcastic showy character, instead she’s the one the audience cares about. Most importantly she never plays the victim no matter how many times Ghostface tries to cut her in two.
“Scream 4” is the best in the series since the original. Director Wes Craven brings the suspense, writer Williamson supplies the clever and Campbell supplies the heart.
Guelph native Neve Campbell had a busy day in Toronto today promoting the latest installment of Wes Craven’s wildly successful Scream Franchise, Scream 4 (stylized as Scre4m). To date, all three of its predecessors combined have earned $145 million worldwide at the Box Office.
Campbell’s stop-offs today included a last-minute appearance on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show, CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulous Tonight, Entertainment Tonight Canada and also Print Media including a Slasher-themed Photo Shoot with Eye Magazine. And that doesn’t even include all the Media who queued-up early for a spot on the Red Carpet at Scotiabank Theatre this evening. Luckily, I was able to get Campbell to stop for a second to pose for a Photo before she was whisked away to the madness… and she was lovely!
Although I am to hold off on my Review for Scre4m until its release date, April 15, 2011, I will say that I had an amazing time enjoying Craven’s brand of campy Horror. I literally was screaming at parts and laughing out loud at others – sometimes together simultaneously.
Campbell introduced the Film quickly in a gorgeous Alexander McQueen number – a fitting tribute the late London-based designer and Fashion Child of the City where she now resides. She returned right as the Credits rolled after enjoying a quick Dinner at Blowfish, then appearing on-stage in a brief Q&A with Toronto’s favourite resident Film Guru Richard Crouse.
The Actress told the audience that to this day her favourite Horror Film still is The Changeling, which she discovered at the age of 13. Despite having much experience filming movies of the genre, Campbell says “I’m still a Suck. I am terrible at watching Horror Movies”. In fact, she only saw her first Craven Film after her Scream Co-Star Jada Pinkett Smith bought her a stack of his DVDs while they were filming the second installment of the Series.
Despite one audience member professing his love for her in calling her a Legend, Campbell sees things on a more humble scale admitting: “To me, it’s honestly about Corn Syrup on my face while filming, Plastic Masks and being chased around by a Prop Guy”.
On filming with longtime Co-stars/former Couple David Arquette and Courtney Cox, she feels that her bond with them was tighter this time around. When they had first filmed Scream back in the mid-90s, they had little time to spend together considering that both Cox and Campbell had been busy with their respective TV series. With the new generation of Actors who are introduced in Scre4m like Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts, Campbell recalls joking to Cox during their Readings, “We could be their Mothers!”.
On the rise of Social Media, Campbell revealed that times have changed since working on Scream 3 back in 2000 in that this time around they had a dedicated team of individuals who would consistently monitor what others were saying about Scre4m online, making efforts to thwart ideas of what the Movie was all about. Also, despite a new Twitter account surfacing recently alleging to belong to Campbell (@MissNeve), the Actress confirmed today that this is an Impostor and that she has not yet caught on to Twitter. And to think I clicked FOLLOW!