You know the image of a worm eating its own tail? That’s sort of a metaphor for Scream 4. The film is a remake, a sequel and a movie about a movie, all in one. And with so many sly references to its predecessors, it’s hard to figure out where all the winking at the audience ends and the movie begins. That said, Scream 4 reunites all three main cast-members from the original films, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, with director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson, and it’s still an enjoyable movie, no matter how meta it gets.
The film takes place in Woodsboro, California, hometown of Sidney Prescott (Campbell), the former high school student terrorized by the original Ghostface killer who murdered all of her friends in 1996. All grown-up Sidney is back in Woodsboro (although her haircut hasn’t changed) on a book tour at the insistence of her pushy publicist, Rebecca, played by Alison Brie, because she’s written a self-help book based on her past. And where better to promote a book about moving on than the town you desperately moved away from?
But you know who’s not psyched to see Sid? Gale Weathers (Cox), who went from reporter of small-town murders to successful novelist of the Stab books based on said small town murders, to housewife (she married Deputy Dewey, played by Arquette, who is now Sheriff Dewey) with writers block. Dewey, however, is thrilled to see Sid, which annoys Gale, but not as much as Deputy Judy (Marley Shelton) annoys Gale. Judy has the hots for Dewey real bad and she’s not very subtle about it. That’s roughly all there is to her character, so consider this your first and last meeting with Judy in this review. Sidney plans to stay with her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell) and cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) while in town, but of course, as soon as Sidney arrives, teens start getting gutted by the truckload. Rounding out the impressive supporting cast are an underused Adam Brody and Anthony Anderson as cops, Hayden Panettiere as Jill’s sass-talkin’ BFF Kirby, and Rory Culkin as horror-film buff Charlie. (Not to mention cameos from Shenae Grimes, Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell.) A large percentage of the people listed here get murdered, FYI.