"Scream 4" lacks the qualities that would make it a masterpiece, but it testifies to the cyclical nature of commercial storytelling in sharp, nearly timeless fashion.
Scream's brand of horror, which lampooned the slasher genre while simultaneously embracing it, was fun and breezy in 1996. In 2011, it's about as fresh as the whiff of something stale and rank from a crypt.
Craven guides us expertly down a series of blind, bloody alleys, a journey that's more pleasurable than frustrating. On account of his steady hand, the last act is as good as could be expected: skillfully conceived and entertaining in its preposterousness
Scream 4 is a total hoot. Assuming you can find the humor in knife stabbings.
On its own terms, Scre4m is pretty good.
A perfectly acceptable Friday night, Scream 4 delivers plenty of scares without consequences, murder without depth, and a flood of legacy laughs.
Between a diabolically funny start and a surprise climax, Scream 4 offers nothing more than a series of gory deaths that grow tiresome with repetition.
Not even the smug irony endures -- it's hard to congratulate yourself for being in on a stale joke.
"Scream" always made fun of itself even as it was frightening us - and that hasn't changed a bit.