Scre4m (Or Scream 4 if you’re not in marketing, or 12 years old)

The Scream franchise means quite a lot to me.

When the original hit the screens in the UK in May 1997, my life was changing in all sorts of ways. I initially saw Scream at the cinema with my friends, some of whom weren’t used to horror films and found it pretty gruelling. By the time the run had finished, I had gone back to watch it again with the woman who would later become my wife. It was the first horror film we saw together at the cinema.

I approached Scream 2 with a certain amount of trepidation, but thought it was fantastic. For me it stands up as one of the great sequels; one that ratchets up elements of the original without ruining the feel of the cinematic world by doing so. The sequence in the trashed police car stands up as a fantastic bit of tension building, and the death of Randy remains one of the most heartbreakingly ruthless yet utterly necessary bits of business in any franchise. By killing Randy, the flick reminded you that, yes, this is a horror series, and people aren’t going to be safe just because you feel affection for them.

Then along came Scream 3, which ruined the feel of the cinematic world and kept people safe just because you felt affection for them. Not only that, my enjoyment of the film on first viewing was also marred by the fact that I’d fallen victim to a spoiler.. Some twunt on a message board had posted the identity of the killer in caps on an unrelated thread, thus ruining my day and causing me to grumble endlessly. Except, funnily enough, the twunt hadn’t actually posted the killer’s identity; they’d taken a guess and got it wrong. Nevertheless, I spent the movie convinced that I knew the twist.. The tragic thing being, of course, that the actual resolution of Scream 3 wasn’t even as imaginative as the twunt’s fake spoiler. So I got the worst of all worlds, which probably didn’t help pump any excitement into a film that was already pretty limp.

So, we have the approach of Scream 4. I’m torn; on one hand, I’m concerned that it’s going to feel like that piss-awful Blackadder reunion show they did for the millennium, but on the other hand Scream 3 wasn’t exactly closing the series on a perfect note, so maybe the creative team will come back with batteries recharged and all guns blazing.

I’ve just got to make it through the next few days without seeing any spoilers, fake or otherwise. Plus, I’m a bit apprehensive about viewing the flick with an audience, which is kind of a shame.. It’s been given a ’15’ over here in the UK (a first for the series) and whereas seeing a horror movie with a pumped up crowd of fans can be fantastic (just go and see a screening at Frightfest if you need convincing), watching a ’15’ rated horror movie in Essex can be a truly punishing experience. It just takes one nervous teenage boy blurting out endless ‘jokes’ to show how not scared he is and the whole experience takes a tumble.

Still, sod it, I’m in. Optimism engaged.

Thrill me, Wes.

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