Archive for May, 2011

“They have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It’s like a whole big sucking thing”- Vampires in a Film & Television Context

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The whole concept of “Twilight” actually makes me want to cry, I will never understand how people are unable to read into it deeper and realise that the whole thing is encouraging teenagers to view necrophilia as something positive while trying to cover it up with some formulaic “epic love story”! I have never watched “Twilight” and I never will, the moment I discovered how they had ruined the whole vampire lore I decided to boycott it completely, they literally sucked the darkness out of what are considered to be some of the most terrifying creatures in the history of horror, Vampires DO NOT go out in the daylight because it will reduce them into a pile of dust! and the least said on vampires sparkling (what ever that is supposed to mean) the better! I realise I cannot judge the films fully but I’m just focusing on how they have messed up the vampire lore. It bothers me that this is how younger generations will be subjected to vampires, what I will say is thank God for the brilliance that is Eric Kripke’s “Supernatural” that has for me made vampires cool again and restored the traditional lore into a modern context. In this review I am going to remind you of some REAL vampires and the films and television shows that came before this money-consuming-fan girl crap. Remember this is all just my personal opinion so feel free to agree or disagree with me:

Vampire films have been around since 1913 with Robert G. Vignola’s “The Vampire”, however the oldest vampire film I can remember is the German, 1922 silent picture “Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens” now, simply known as “Nosferatu”; the film was an adaptation of the classic “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, I was fortunate to attend a screening of this film back in 2009 at the “Abertoir Horror Film Festival” featuring a live piano accompaniment, I think the use of shadows in this film gave an unsettling feeling especially the moment where Count Orlock as he’s referred to; is creeping up the staircase, for me that is one of the most creepiest cinematic moments. Count Orlock’s appearance is more monstrous than any other vampire I’ve seen in film, he does not look human, he is almost ghoulish! The fact that the film is silent adds to its eerie-ness, evidently its a product of its time before sound became present in cinema, but watching it now in the present day, the silence makes Count Orlock so much more mysterious. I actually preferred “Nosferatu” to Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula”  which came out in 1931, in this version we are presented with the stereotypical image of “Dracula”, his appearence in contrast to Count Orlock is more human,  he wears a traditional cape, sleeps in a coffin and transforms into a bat, personally I find turning into a bat more comedic than frightening especially in this movie where you actually see the strings on the bat, but yes it was 1931 so you can forgive it.

“Dracula” continued to fit itself within the “hammer horror” genre, I find these films particularly enjoyable, they don’t take themselves too seriously and with these  films  came the brilliance that is Christopher Lee’s portrayal of the prince of darkness himself. He has a a startling screen presence which was considered terrifying in its day. He starred as “Dracula” from 1958 until 1973 and continued our traditional perceptions of “Dracula” following Bela Lugosi’s version rather than “Nosferatu”. These films kept on the traditional ideas regarding the vampire lore, “Dracula” (1958) reinforced the idea that vampires sleep in the day and hunt at night, this is essential as sunlight will ultimately kill them, piercing a wooden stake through their heart’s can also damage the vampire’s immortality. I have already stated that I am unimpressed with “Twilight’s” concepts, however I saw a screening of “The Last Man on Earth” (1963) starring Vincent Price, again as part of the “Abertoir horror film festival” and to celebrate his centenary. This film’s really interesting as it was not considered to be your typical vampire movie; it would be viewed more as a zombie film, the plot of the film centred around a disease spread across the world, causing the decline of humanity, with the only survivor being Vincent Price’s character Dr. Robert Morgan, the reason was because he had become immune to the virus due to being bitten by a bat. I liked how this film took both monsters and combined them, they could be killed with wooden stakes, and they spread their disease by devouring a human’s neck, mirrors and sunlight also repelled them; however the creatures appearance and actions were more like a zombie’s, wondering the earth amiously, with very little intelligence. I will say that I don’t have issues with the lore being challenged and changed to a certain extent but as long as its done in an intelligent way.

Vampires have become a huge part of television as well as film; I am aware there is so much more I could have gone into but I want to focus on what is memorable to me. “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) was the television show that changed my life, Joss Whedon’s writing was so clever, I loved how he would create fantasy elements and use them as a metaphor for real life. On one hand Joss could be responsible for encouraging “Twilight” as yes he did portray tortured human-vampire relationships and sex on “Buffy” but at least he thought through his character motivations well, especially in the Buffy/Spike relationship (or Spuffy as its known to the fans) it was made clear that the audience was supposed to view this as dangerous and wrong, the metaphor being we all go to dark places in life and might do things that aren’t good for us. It was interesting to finally have empathy for vampires rather than just seeing them as one-dimensional villains, “Buffy” really went into the ethics of the concept. Angel (Played by David Boreanaz) character was interesting, he was a brutal killer that had been cursed with a soul and had to walk the earth feeling remorse for all the terrible things he had done. I like this concept because there was a reason to empathise with the character, however one moment of pure happiness would result in his soul being taken away again and when Angel transformed into Angelus, he really was evil, it was as if they were two separate characters sharing the same entity; I thought it was pretty cool to show how a vampire would be if their inner beast was actually caged. The series didn’t just portray our traditional perception of vampires but  they made them three-dimensional characters with emotions, it was as if they were humans but their bodies dead inside. There was always rivalry amongst the fans, much like there is today with “Twilight” regarding “Buffy and Spike” or “Buffy and Angel” being the main ones, I think what makes “Buffy” special is that it has a cult feel to it rather than just being mainstream and obnoxious. Joss Whedon wrote because he enjoyed it not because he knew he had something that was going to sell and get fan girls all around the world screaming. In comparison “Twilight” doesn’t seem to be well thought through and knows its going to sell purely based on this love triangle that sugar coats the dark themes of bestiality and necrophilia! “Buffy also paid homage to “Dracula” in the episode “Buffy Vs. Dracula” (#5.1) I liked how they kept the bat transformation in and how Dracula is the only vampire that can do that, it was clever that even the slayer herself wasn’t immune to his charms, “Buffy”‘s version of the dark prince was that of a tall, dark and handsome figure, more seductive than scary, but then again that concept of the thin line between sex and death is dangerous and frightening.

 Finally, we come to “Supernatural” (2005) which for me has filled the void that “Buffy” left in terms of fantasy/horror television. I’m aware that there are other shows out now in a similar context such as “The Vampire Diaries” (2009) and “True Blood” (2008) that I’ve yet to watch; in “Supernatural” the main focus is not on vampires, however their portrayal is pretty cool and does put a new spin on the lore. I love that “Supernatural” suggests that this is how real life vampires would be, a stake through the heart doesn’t work and the only way of killing them is with dead man’s blood, this is pretty dark stuff, again they do follow “Buffy” in terms of having vampires that don’t kill humans and feed off animal blood instead, emphasising that vampires don’t necessarily have to be villains. In the recent season six episode “Live Free or Twi-Hard” (#6.5) we saw our protagonist Dean Winchester (Played by Jensen Ackles) becoming a vampire, the episode went into the idea of what would it be like if vampires could be “cured” on the one condition that they avoided feeding off humans, challenging the whole ethics of vampires, would they really want to be cured and walk the earth as regular humans once turned? This episode also poked fun at “Twilight” in which Dean stated “these aren’t vampires, they’re douchebags”, it centred around this new concept of vampire-ism and how all they need to do now is dress like Robert Pattinson and easily lure in their victims as its become very popularised, the intense fear of these creatures is just gone and they are worshipped more like popstars than icons of the horror genre; kids there is nothing cool about premature death! What I’m trying to emphasise here is “Twilight” has enabled vampires to become less horror cult and more mainstream and popular more so than any other film or television show within the genre; to me this is not what vampire-ism is about, I see no appeal in it whatsoever, there is nothing sexy about this Cullen dude, give me stakes, sunlight and old school vampires any day!

                                                                  

Hayley Alice Roberts.

You’ve gotta go there to come back- Oz on the West End

Posted in Old Non Horror Reviews on May 22, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

So I am shattered, I have just endured a gruelling bus journey from Aberystwyth to London and Vice Versa in the space of a day…and was it worth it?! HELL YES!! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brand new adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” was outstanding amongst many other things. I went in with high expectations and wow it lived up to more than that. Last year I had followed the BBC reality series “Over the Rainbow” from beginning to end, which was the search to find the perfect contender to play the lead character of Dorothy, originated by the legendary Judy Garland in the 1939 film version. Initially when Danielle Hope won the programme I was slightly disappointed as I was in favour of Sophie Evans, the runner up to win as I felt she had been the contender who had grown the most out of the finalists and worked the hardest to constantly improve her performance; however after last night’s fantastic performance I now realise exactly why Danielle deserved the part! Her version of Dorothy was much more fiery and she added charm and vulnerability to the role, her version of “Somewhere over the rainbow” sent shivers down the spine.

  “The Wizard of Oz” has always played an essential part in my childhood, I used to watch the film over and over again, I knew all the songs and its probably one of my most quoted movies. As far as the stage version’s concerned I have only ever seen local amateur and student productions, I saw it twice as a child, once on the Aberystwyth Bandstand and then in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, more recently I saw another amateur production of the show there, but none of them can even compare to the epic-ness and magic I saw before me last night.

The show’s quality was almost cinematic, most notably the use of a revolving stage that helped the scene’s transcend into each other smoothly, I had seen this effect done before when I attended a performance of “Dirty Dancing- The Classic Story on Stage” last summer, it is such a clever technique to use in theatre and makes the experience all the more spectacular. What made the show even more cinematic was the use of CGI especially in the storm sequence,  it encouraged the audience to be interactive with the action, there were a lot of special effects in the show such as real fire used and the witch stunningly flying over the audience. I liked the use of colour and lighting in the production, the sepia tone and brown colours of Kansas echoed the film’s opening, other productions have never made this effort resulting in no contrast with the bright colours of Oz, I loved how the stage lit up brightly when the famous yellow brick road made its appearance. I was glad Andrew Lloyd Webber stayed mostly faithful to the original but also liked that he added in his own touches. There were some new songs included written by lyricist Tim Rice, that slotted in perfectly, I think Webber wanted the audience to engage into other characters such as the Wicked Witch of the West and the Wizard as well as our main heroes through achieving this. One of my favourite songs from the musical which is not actually included in the film version is “The Jitterbug” it takes place during the woods scene before the witches castle; I like the intensity of the song and it has a jazzy sound to it, Webber did omit this from the stage version which left me slightly disappointed as its my favourite moment in the show, instead he replaced it with a number called “Red Shoes Blues” sang by the Wicked Witch, in which she casts voodoo on Dorothy so that she’ll dance until she dies leaving the witch to reclaim her sister’s ruby slippers, it still gave out a rather unsettling tone similarly to “The Jitterbug”. I think Webber added this song also due to competing with the ever-popular “Wicked” that is also currently on the West End, I’ve yet to see it but from what I can gather from it is the Witch isn’t just portrayed as your regular villain, she has a back story, she has motives for why she’s so wicked which did shine through in this version, the audience needs to empathise with her just as much as the protagonists as each character has a motivation, they all desire something Dorothy (a home), The Scarecrow (a brain), Tin Man (heart) Lion (courage) and for the witch its her ruby slippers. Even though I could see why this was done and I did enjoy it I would have personally have still liked to have seen “The Jitterbug” performed.

The sets were just incredible, the witches castle had a Victorian Steam Punk style to it and the flying monkeys looked almost demonic, making it much darker than any other version. Also the emerald city had a 1940’s New York and Broadway look, portrayed with the tall buildings and the fashion, evidently a hint to that style of show which “The Wizard of Oz” is, the characters are unaware that they’re in a musical but that particular set represented the classic interpretation we have of how most musicals look. There was new humour added into the show, most notably in the scene where Dorothy is saying goodbye before she returns to Kansas, she says to the Scarecrow “I think I’m going to miss you most of all”, nothing is questioned, but in this version the lion and tin man are put out by this and respond with “what about us? oh fine then” or something along those lines. For the first time in any version I have seen I wasn’t annoyed with the Lion’s character, I think in this version he is very underplayed and thankfully he doesn’t sing that irritating song in the emerald city about being king of the forest! I think every single cast member in this production gave strong performances so I can’t particularly single anybody out, I was so impressed with every element.

Regarding the mythology of Oz I have always been confused, I thought Oz was just a dream Dorothy had when she was knocked unconscious in the storm, but since “Wicked” emerged I had wondered how did that story work pre-Dorothy if Oz was something created out of one individual’s imagination?! Then I realised during the beginning of the film, the title card insists the audience is open minded, now I believe Oz is truly a real place (within the mythology- not real life!) which was done nicely in the show, as in the ending sequence Dorothy is on the bed with her dog Toto, suddenly her wardrobe doors fly open to reveal her slippers. Magical.

I think what appeals to me about the “Wizard of Oz” as a whole is that it gives out a strong message, metaphorically. You have to go there to come back, things aren’t always what they seem and you don’t realise what you have till its gone, I think most people can relate to this in life, I don’t think I appreciated my home town until I left for a short period and the grass wasn’t greener on the other side.

All I am going to say is that I recommend everyone to see this show if they get a chance, it is absolutely spectacular and well worth the cost, its a theatrical experience I will never forget. Its a visual masterpiece! 10000000/10! 😛

Here is a preview, trust me, you’ll be going straight to London once you see how stunning this is:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

A Preview of What’s to come…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

I’m hoping to update as regularly as possible however I have a weekend in London coming up and a Television Studies exam on Wednesday which is going to be my main priority, but for now here’s a little taste (excuse the pun) of what will be coming up later next week…

“We’re Off to see the Wizard”

 This coming Saturday I will be attending a performance of “The Wizard of Oz” at the London Palladium, in which the lead role  of  Dorothy will be portrayed by reality television winner Danielle Hope. Therefore my next review will branch out into a  different  yet a close field to film and TV, the theatre. This will be interesting as the production has been developed through  television in terms of casting, also the 1939 MGM motion picture happens to be one of my all time favourite childhood films.

“They’re Not Vampires, They’re Douchebags!”

 After recently watching the Season Six episode of “Supernatural” titled “Live Free or Twi-Hard” (#6.5) I have been inspired  into exploring the concept of vampires within a film and television context, from the terrifying days of Nosferatu and Dracula  to the awesomeness that was “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and of course the ruination of vampire lore that is a massive pile of  hype we all hate to call “Twilight”.

Thank you to everyone who’s been reading this so far and I hope you will continue to enjoy my future reviews, and remember its  all just opinion 🙂

Hayley Alice Roberts.

“One Tree Hill” Season 8 Finale

Posted in Old Non Horror Reviews on May 18, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

I am going to review a television episode in this review. Again I am looking at something very recent as “This is my house, This is my home” (#8.22) aired on the CW network in America last night:

“One Tree Hill” (2003-Present) roots lie in the “teen”, “coming of age” genre, however these days it has become the television show that does not know when to stop. When I first began watching the series right from the beginning I wasn’t initially gripped, it was one of those shows I had to persevere with but then it got good and I was hooked. It has always been quite cheesy in parts,very cliched and overly dramatic but it still had an endearing charm to it back in the days of Chad Michael Murray, who played the (and I emphasise this) MAIN character Lucas Scott. The plot centred around two half-brothers Lucas and Nathan (James Lafferty), who were united through basketball, and shared the same manipulative father Dan (Paul Johannson). It focused on family ties and their relationships with the three female leads Peyton (Hilarie Burton), Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush). The setting is based in a small town, which is what drew me to it as I can relate to living in a small area where everyone knows each other. I would say the show had six strong seasons, it worked well as a “teen drama”, however by the fifth series it was time to move on and cleverly the creator Mark Schwann made the decision to forget the college years and jump four years into the future where the characters had reached adulthood and yes it still worked, with a more mature tone and darker edge compared to the high school years. Suddenly in the sixth season and this still remains a mystery to this day, Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton left the series, both actors insisted there were no hard feelings about leaving. Okay so their characters had closure and there was nowhere left for them to go, so why not stop there?!

Peyton & Lucas

 The show got a series seven, which comparatively to the previous years was very weak, the storylines became overused and in the process we were introduced to a number of characters who mostly served no purpose e.g. Chase (Stephen Coletti) I swear all he did was work behind the bar at TRIC and didn’t have an actual storyline until the past few episodes and what did he get?! a love triangle with two other characters the fans aren’t as bothered about. I did keep watching mostly for the remaining core three Brooke, Haley and Nathan, but even them alone couldn’t save the show from going downhill, not all of it was horrible, the show still had its moments, I really enjoyed the season seven finale “Almost everything I wished I’d said the last time I saw you” (#7.22).

With Peyton and Lucas gone there was a void that needed to be filled, they were replaced with Haley’s older sister Quinn (Shantel VanSanten) and Nathan’s sports agent Clay (Robert Buckley) who both for me just made the show unbelievably cheesy, seriously every time they’re on screen I cringe, all their characters did in season seven was bring in yet another stalker storyline which had been done to the death, similarly like the car crash storyline’s they seem to keep throwing at us (see #3.22 and #8.11).

Personally, I just think if you eliminate your main characters from a show then it simply doesn’t function in the same way, I often compare this to “The O.C.” (2003-2007) which also belongs to the “teen” genre, the main female lead Marissa Cooper played by Mischa Barton was killed off at the end of the third season and after that it just wasn’t the same, at least Josh Schwartz (the creator) realised this mistake and the show didn’t even get a full fourth season but at least we had a sense of closure; something “One Tree Hill” can’t seem to grasp, it just goes on and on with its pointless humor and recycled plots.

I am now going to focus on the latest episode, “This is my house, This is my home”, as it was a season finale I was looking forward to it and to be fair the previous two episodes “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul” (#8.20) and “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” (#8.21) hadn’t been that bad, it even had its moments that reflected the old “One Tree Hill” such as Nathan showing he was the complete opposite of his father by telling his son Jamie (Jackson Brundage) that no matter what score he got in his baseball game it won’t matter as its just a game in order to not inflict the pressure his own father put on him (#8.20). A Plot line that has really bothered me is the infertility storyline surrounding Brooke, she was told she would never be able to conceive a child of her own, the reason for this was never actually developed, therefore the natural thing would be to have an adoption storyline like they did with Monica and Chandler in “Friends” (1994-2004), the storyline did take place however the birth mother decided she wanted to keep the baby after all “Quiet Little Voices” (#8.18). So with her dreams of becoming a mother shattered, suddenly she is pregnant?!?! again without developing the reason why she couldn’t have kids in the first place, it was pretty much set in stone that it would never happen for her. With two episodes to go we have this rushed pregnancy storyline and seriously it was rushed in the last episode, she went from being 3 months gone to giving birth in the space of a 40 something minute episode, poorly conveyed through time jumps. I know the fans want to see her happy and have enjoyed this plot development and yeah I’m fine with it as it does give hope to women in similar situations, I just hated the rush of it and lack of story structure. To top it all off she then discovers she’s having twins! I think then in the next scene she falls off a step-ladder and then she is in hospital and her husband Julian (Austin Nicholls) enters to announce they have sons.

Brooke & Julian

As I have previously stated the episode wasn’t completely horrible however there are a few things I want to pick up on that I really disliked, I just felt this episode needed to focus on the core characters but instead it was filled with pointless storyline’s that I didn’t care for much, such as Chase joining the airforce and Mia (Kate Vogele) turning up again for two minutes only for him to realise its Alex (Jana Kramer) he really loves, Mouth (Lee Norris) and Millicent’s (Lisa Goldstein) Richard and Judy style morning television programme with Skills (Antwon Tanner) making a brief reappearance in a chicken suit?!?! and Quinn buying Clay a new chair?!?! most of the Jamie scenes were also cheesy, they make the character appear more adult than he is actually supposed to be, he’s far too wise for a nine year old, or maybe that’s due to mostly being surrounded by adults . My problem here was all these pointless fillers were depriving us the scenes we really wanted which were far too short in my opinion.

My favourite moments in this episode had to be the return of Dan Scott, which I was really looking forward to seeing, but as I said the scene was too short and didn’t really imply a lot, Nathan still seemed distant and confused and there didn’t seem to be any real forgiveness there, I’m guessing in giving him the photo of his daughter Lydia and Jamie’s baseball were to symbolise that he had reached out to his father to a certain extent?!

The re-opening of Karen’s Cafe was significant as it was again a reference to the old Tree Hill, I thought it was a nice touch how Haley and Brooke recognised this as wanting to give their own children the security they had growing up. I just felt this scene again was rushed and lacked a mention of Lucas and Karen, there was no explanation as to why they’re weren’t there, realistically they would be at the re-opening of their former business which was evidently a dedication to them. Just to add it was also nice to have the original version of the theme song back in the opening credits, Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be”, the majority of the covers they had used throughout the last season were painful to listen to so it was nice having the original back.

It has been recently announced that the show has been green-lit for a ninth season, but where are they going to take it now? I personally think it would be a fitting ending if they concluded it with a one or two hour special, just wrapping up all the storyline’s, and focus on the core original five, just like the majority of the fans I want to see Lucas and Peyton back briefly, I still think there is a lot of unresolved conflict there especially regarding Brooke, I always felt when it came down to it Lucas was the only important part of Peyton’s life and once she had him nothing else really mattered.

I know it probably sounds like I really dislike the show now, the writing of the latest season has declined when you compare it to episodes like “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept” (#3.16). I would say the show is still watchable but its far from the show I used to love.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

“Scream 4” (2011) Review

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Welcome to my first film review, I have decided to choose a recent film from what is probably my favourite film genre; horror. “Scream” (1996) (dir. Wes Craven) was the first horror film I ever watched, I was about eleven years old and thought I was hard for sneakily watching the film behind my parents back late at night. I was expecting to be terrified but instead I discovered a film that was cleverly written, with well-developed characters (normally in generic horror films the audience doesn’t usually grow attached to them!), the film was incredibly suspenseful and kept the audience on edge till the shocking climax. “Scream” inspired my interest in knowing what came before, I then got into other franchises such as “Halloween” (1978), “Friday the 13th” (1980) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1983), it wasn’t till watching those I truly appreciated the cleverness of “Scream”, how it challenged the genre conventions and gave them a new twist while still conforming to the traditional rules. However I am now going to focus on the latest and surprising release from the franchise which until now was a trilogy.

When I first heard about “Scream 4” (2011) being in production part of me was excited as a new film was coming out from my favourite horror franchise, however on the other hand I was sceptical because “Scream 3” (2003) had given us closure, it was considered to be the final chapter. I looked forward to the film more once I’d heard Wes Craven (considered to be the master of  horror) was directing again, Kevin Williamson who’d written the first and second installments was writing the script and the three  original actors were returning, Neve Campbell (Sidney), Courtney Cox (Gale) and David Arquette (Dewey). Its unusual in a horror  franchise for the original surviving characters to return, the concept is usually the same but with different characters an example  of this would be  in the “I Know what you did last Summer” (1997, 1998, 2006) and the “Urban Legend” (1998, 2000) films and even  in the older franchises e.g. “Halloween”. Just another example of how the “Scream” films stand out from the rest. Since 2000, the genre has changed, despite being flooded with countless remakes, we have also had the new sub-genre of “torture porn” e.g. “Hostel” (2005) and “Saw” (2004), two contexts that “Scream” can now fit into and re-invent itself.

Now I’m going to look at the film itself, there are going to be spoilers in this review so if you don’t want to know I suggest you read  no further till you have seen it:

I was entertained by the opening sequence of the film, the typical “Scream” scenario, although this time it was a sequence of two girls alone in the house, discussing the conventions of more recent horror films, followed by a creepy phone call from “the killer”; it was very clever how it kept the audience guessing and it was also parodying itself, for a moment I thought I was watching “Scary Movie” (2000) . We then got this “movie-within-a-movie” sequence, referring to the “Stab” franchise which is a “movie-within-a-movie” in “Scream 2” (1997) and “Scream 3” (2000)…confused?! This emphasises how the film isn’t taking itself too seriously and commenting on its own conventions. We then get the “real” murder scene which is practically identical to the films the characters have been watching, a criticism I would make here is this scene could have been slow and brutal like the opening of the first one with Drew Barrymore to emphasise its a real murder, but at the same time it does put the audience in an uncomfortable position, questioning “if we are watching a horror film that has a horror film within a horror film, then are we the reality?” OK now I’m confusing myself!

 The “Torture porn” sub-genre isn’t really focused on apart from the references in the dialogue to “Saw”, they are more focused on conveying the remake concept. In the past two films, we have been taken out of the films original setting which is the fictional small town of Woodsboro; in “Scream 2” we had the university setting and “Scream 3” was set in hollywood with a replicate film set of woodsboro, I recall the “Stab 3” movie was titled “Return to Woodsboro” in a way foreshadowing the events of this film. The premise is simple Sidney Presscott has moved on with her life, its been 1o years, she’s written a book about her survivial and is ready to return to the town where her nightmare first began. She reconnects with Gale and Dewey who are both living there, Dewey is now the towns sheriff. The remaining characters are all new, representing the “new generation” however still incorporated characteristics of the older characters e.g. Charlie played by Rory Culkin had similar characteristics to Randy Meeks from the original, by being a film buff as well as  Jill Roberts played by Emma Roberts, she is also Sidney’s cousin and has the same “victim” status as her.

The idea for the killers were to replicate everything that had happened in the first one but at the same time challenge it, for example the first film ends in a bloodbath at a house party, the party scenario takes place half way through the film in order to place the audience into a false sense of security.

I enjoyed the homages they paid to the original, the one that sticks out mostly for me is when Charlie is tied to a chair outside the patio doors and the killer is playing a “Movie trivia” game on the phone with Kirby played by Hayden Panettiere mirroring the original’s opening sequence with Casey Becker and her boyfriend Steven Orth; however in this instance the killer is again referring to recent remakes, whereas in “Scream” he relied on asking questions about the classic horror films. This leads into a hilarious tirade in which Kirby does not let him finish his question and starts listing all the recent horror remakes, e.g.”The Amytiville Horror”,”House of Wax”,” Texas Chainsaw Massacre” etc. emphasising the ridiculous amount of remakes that have been prominent in the genre for the last decade. I also enjoyed the homage they paid to the second film in the cinema screening, showing the clips of the original “Stab” which served as the first death sequence in the second movie.

  A couple of things I would have liked to have seen in the movie would be, in the moment where Sidney is empathising with her cousin Jill who has just suffered the loss of her friend Olivia she refers back to losing her own best friend Tatum, I’m surprised she isn’t actually mentioned as she was also Dewey’s younger sister. Perhaps in the killer reveal where Charlie convinces himself he’s the “Randy” of the story Sidney could have commented that he would never be him.

I was impressed and moderately surprised with the killer reveal, it was amusing how they really believed they were exactly like the original killers Billy and Stu, I thought the domestic kitchen setting was a clever touch, however the killers did come across as more funny than scary especially when they mimicked Billy stabbing Stu in order to create authenticity and frame the murder on Jill’s boyfriend; they came across as two immature, fame hungry teenagers, but in a clever twist I didn’t expect Sidney’s own cousin Jill to commit the murders in order to win the “victim” title and become Sidney. The climax did go on for a while but still kept me on edge hoping they wouldn’t kill any of the main characters off.

 ….and they didn’t… “Scream” has always been unexpected and the audience is aware that any character is at risk, e.g. Randy’s death in the second film and Cotton Weary’s opening sequence death in the third, however Kevin Williamson has decided to let the core three survive even though it was touch and go at moments, I suppose the fans would be gutted if any of them were killed off, I know I would be, I also noticed Dewey didn’t get stabbed and left for dead like in the previous, I’m guessing the writer decided to let him off this time!

Yes the ending was satisfying enough, Sidney’s concluding line was brilliant “You know the thing about remakes, don’t fuck with the original!” Overall I thought the films premise was a clever idea and it did its best at mocking the conventions of the horror films we are subjected to today, however its never going to meet the same level the original did, perhaps because the element of surprise to an extent has now gone, we know what we’re getting. If I had to rate “Scream 4” I would give it a 7/10 for being witty and enjoyable with clever writing.

My Top “Scream” Films in Order would be :

1. “Scream 2” (1997)

2. “Scream” (1996)

3. “Scream 4” (2011)

4. “Scream 3” (2000)

….and that is my first review…sorry its a bit too long!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hi Everyone!

I decided to set up this blog to focus on writing reviews, particularly for films and television shows;

It is all my own personal opinion so feel free to comment and agree or disagree with me.

A little bit about me…

I am an undergraduate Film & Television student at Aberystwyth University, evidently film is a massive part of my life and I enjoy all aspects of it from the practical side to the analysis, when I graduate I hope to get into the production side and write and direct. I view film as an escapism, I love the idea of telling a story through images and dialogue and its also a way of self-expression, the process of film-making to me is really interesting and there is no other industry I would contemplate going into.

Anyway I want to keep this short and sweet… and hopefully my fist review will be up soon,

Hayley Alice Roberts.