I have read that a generation lasts 25 years, but in our short attention-span pop culture it’s more like five. Bridging that kind of gap when you have a movie series that has been on hiatus for over a decade is a challenge, and it is one that Wes Craven is eagerly tackling by bringing us Scream 4 on April 15, 2011. It’s the first new sequel in the franchise since 2001 and features many fresh young faces. Well, fresh for the series, but they’re known names. More on them below.
I’m skeptical about multiple installments in any series, particularly horror and sci-fi; although having said that, I like Howling V: The Rebirth, Halloween III and any number of Godzilla movies. And admittedly the trailer for Scream 4 — which you can watch below, along with a behind-the-scenes clip from Entertainment Tonight — looks mighty fun. I interviewed the ever-erudite Craven this week for MovieMaker magazine (for the issue hitting stands in April), and he is pumped about the new installment. Some consider this his horror comeback, although I personally enjoyed his more recent werewolf movie Cursed and terrorist thriller Red Eye, both released in 2005.
The Scream 4 plot synopsis is this: Now a self-help book writer, Sidney Prescott (the ever beleaguered Neve Campbell) returns to her home in Woodsboro on the final stop of her book tour. During her visit, Sidney reconnects with Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and former cutthroat reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox-Arquette), who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). But no trip to Woodsboro would be complete without a visit from the lightning fast Ghostface, and everyone is in danger all over again when he stalks Sidney and her friends anew.
Having written the first two Scream installments (but not the weak third entry), Kevin Williamson reunites with Craven to explore a whole host of new slasher film rules that the characters need to abide by and die by. Of course, many of the old rules no longer apply in our post-modern, post-ironic, meta-meta-horror movie world. It will be interesting to see what this deadly duo conjures up given the massive horror renaissance of the past decade as well as the emergence of the highly successful and funny Scary Movie franchise that began life by sending up the original Scream trilogy. The actors new to the Scream franchise in part 4 include Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Mary McDonnell, Marley Shelton, Nico Tortorella, Marielle Jaffe, Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Lucy Hale, Shanae Grimes, Aimee Teegarden and Brittany Robertson. We’ll soon see if and how they shake up the franchise and the genre with new rules. And fresh kills.