Scream 4

Believe it or not, I have seen other Scream flicks. Well, Scream 3 and most of Scream 2. I used to have a friend who watched every horror movie and romantic comedy ever produced. especially if they were aimed at teenagers. No, he was not a teenager himself at that time. But anyway, he inflicted a lot of these movies on me, including the two mentioned above, so I knew a little going in for a change. Unfortunately, he also made me watch Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2 at one point, so they're all a little mixed up in my head.

The good news is that's mostly okay, since the movie pretty much spoofs itself the entire time. "How meta can you get?" asks Courtney Cox, reprising her role as now (semi) retired reporter Gale Weathers-Riley. She doesn't quite understand her own question, but then, neither does the person she asks, husband Dewey Riley (David Arquette, her real-life husband), so that's probably also okay.

First there's a weird sort of recursive set of movies that's a good indication of what you can expect from the rest of the film. I think I was supposed to recognize everyone, but I only knew Anna Paquin from X-Men and Kristen Bell from Heroes. Then Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), is back home in Woodboro for the last stop of her book tour. Coming out of Darkness is the story of how she kept on surviving, sort of like Harry Potter, or maybe Michael Myers would be a better comparison in this case. Unsurprisingly, some call her the Angel of Death, since, like Jessica Fletcher, death seems to show up wherever she goes.

Sidney has a cousin, Jill Roberts (helpfully played by Emma Roberts, who's come a long way from playing Nancy Drew), whose friends are a little unsure about this infamous survivor showing up, especially when they start getting weird phone calls and inexplicable texts. This movie is yet more proof of how dangerous cell phones are, by the way. No one ever figures out that nothing good comes of answering them, so they keep right on answering them, and yet never think to use them to call 911. Maybe overuse of cell phones lowers one's IQ. Certainly being a character in a horror movie lowers one's IQ.

Also from Heroes is Hayden Panettiere as Jill's friend Kirby Reed. It was fun seeing her, but I'm not sure how she ended up being cast as a movie geek. I mean, she makes it work, but it is sort of a leap. They call it a cinema club, but they're still basically A/V geeks. Robbie Mercer and Charlie Walker (Erik Knudsen, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Rory Culkin, Signs, respectively) run the club and lust after Sidney because her life is a slasher movie, and after Kirby because she's Hayden Panettiere.

In-jokes abound, and I'm sure I didn't catch even half of them. The A/V guys have a drinking game for their Stab-a-Thon, and I'm pretty sure that drinking every time a character screams "No!" or loses a cell phone signal is a recipe for an awful lot of drunken teenagers. Anthony Andrews of a couple of the Scary Movies plays Deputy Perkins, whose first name happens to be Anthony also. I guess they needed a Psycho reference.

So how meta is it? Eh, about three and a half out of five. It kept annoying me by acting like it was about to end, then starting right back up again, or I would've given it three and three quarters. How much more meta can you get? Zero. You can't. Any more meta-ness would have caused some sort of rip in the fabric of space-time that would mean the end of all life in the known universe. If there's ever a Scream 5, it will be the last movie you ever see.

I wonder if anyone knows that the mask is from the Edvard Munch painting?


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