Scream 4 (2011)

What’s Your Favorite Mediocre Scary Movie?

Let’s get recent with today’s October Horror-thon, eh?  Today’s review is of the fourth part of a very popular horror film series that I had little to no interest in.  I saw the first one and probably the second, maybe even the third, but they all kind of blurred together into a large pile of blah.  But they remain popular and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Except, perhaps, to bad mouth them on the internet.  I can do that.  I’m talking about Scream 4, or Scre4m if you fancy, directed by horror legend Wes Craven, starring Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, and Alison Brie, with notable cameos by Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Anthony Anderson, and Heather Graham.

This movie starts with two teen girls alone in a house, they get a famous call and get killed.  PSYCH!  It’s actually two girls (Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin) watching THAT movie, and then Kristen Bell kills Anna Paquin.  PSYCH!  That’s a movie two.  This goes on for 4 and a half hours and then they decide to stop dicking around and start their movie.  And it starts with someone getting a call and getting killed.  Sigh.  Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has decided to return to Woodsboro to promote her book; numerous near-death experiences and lost loved ones be damned!  It’s probably to be blamed on her publicist, Rebecca Walters (Alison Brie).  Sidney is instantly a suspect because logic was not supplied to this movie.  Sidney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her friend Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) also get a call from deceased member of the Wutang Clan, Ghostface Killa.  Okay, it’s a different Ghostface, but he also ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.  Jill and Kirby are taken to the police station and questioned by Dewey Riley (David Arquette), now a sheriff, and one of his deputies, Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton).  Dewey’s wife, Gale (Courtney Cox), decides to take up the case behind his back.  A lot of people die, convoluted story, yada yada yada, the end.

Okay, some might have grasped from the manner I’m typing in that I had some problems with this movie.  It was nowhere near as bad as I expected, but I also could have done without.  And what’s worse is that I would’ve liked the movie better if they didn’t go with the opening they went with.  There were seriously about 4 false starts on this movie.  That part was not a joke.  They literally did that similar scene over and over and over again, so much so that, by the time they had actually started their movie, I didn’t believe it was happening and therefore had no problem with the girls getting killed.  It was so bad that I thought I had accidentally RedBox’d Scary Movie 5 or something.  And this opening annoyed me so much that the rest of the movie had to struggle to make a slow climb back up to me calling it mediocre.  You probably shouldn’t make such a point of trying to be “meta” by making your characters in your movie talk about how not scary movies are when they go with gore and startles instead of scares because (guess what?), they’re right!  And now you’ve made me think about it and made me aware of what I’m in store for.  After that, as I mentioned, the movie got a little better and brought itself back to mediocre with some decent dialogue, good kills, and hot Hayden Panettiere.  And then they kind of ruined it for me with the ending, which I thought was farfetched even for a horror movie.  And there was a death by defibrillator in this movie!  That was pretty much just laughable and – let’s say – poorly placed.  And they also went with the death by garage door in this one, which they either have done in Scream before, had done in Scary Movie, or both.  I definitely remember it in Scary Movie.  This is problematic because it was a repeat, but also problematic because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a garage door that didn’t feature a sensor that would’ve stopped that from happening.  Also, if I may offer a humble recommendation, you probably should not show the people in your movie watching a far superior movie so that the audience can compare your movie to it and have yours fail.  They had some characters watching Shaun of the Dead and it just made me think “Wow, that movie was way better than this one.”

The performances were various shades of okay.  I would say everyone did fine and the only people that stood out were Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, and Alison Brie for their respective hotnesses.  Neve Campbell offered a fair performance in this movie, but there was a part where she ran into a house after the killer completely alone and unarmed.  Did you learn nothing from the last 3 times this happened?  If I lived through a murderer even once I would feel justified in carrying a gun on me at all times.  I typically find Anthony Anderson funny in the movies I see him in, but he was pretty reserved in this movie and didn’t offer very much funny.  And I did not understand his last line of “Fuck Bruce Willis” at all.  I don’t know if that’s a joke I was meant to understand or if it was intended to be a non sequitur, but I didn’t get it.  And the chick in the yellow shirt had a pretty bad death scene performance in one of the 87 opening false-start movies.  That’s all that really comes out of the performances in this movie for me.

So that’s Scream 4 for you.  It’s far from a great movie, and I’d say far from a great movie series, but this one is probably the second best of the series, at least as far as I can remember.  It’s watchable as long as you mentally prepare yourself for the jackassery that opens the movie.  I’ll give this movie “Don’t fuck with the original” out of “Clear!”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Alpha and Omega (2010)

Today RedBox supplied me with an animated movie from last year known as Alpha and Omega, with the voices of Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Danny Glover, Dennis Hopper, and Christina Ricci. If I remember correctly, I believe I first became mildly interested in this movie after seeing that Panettiere and Ricci were in it, and they are hot, and they played those little interview videos with them and showed clips of the movie at Best Buy and piqued my interest. I never really got around to looking for it in theaters or on DVD, but I found it while browzing the RedBox and decided to give it a go.

Alpha and Omega is the story of two wolves (one an alpha, the other an omega … isn’t that wacky?!) who grew up together until one of them went off to train to be an alpha. Before this gets any more confusing than it deserves, in this movie an alpha is one of the top hunters and an omega is … not. Kate (Panettiere) is the alpha and Humphrey (Long) is the omega. So they quickly grow up and Humphrey is a wacky, goofy slacker, and Kate is a straight-laced hunter. Quite the original combination, I know. Anyways, Kate is the daughter of the leader of the western pack of wolves (Glover), who forms a contract with the leader of the eastern pack (Hopper) in times of low food. The contract is that Glover’s daughter, Kate, will marry Hopper’s son and combine and lead the two packs. It’s probably not too much of a surprise at this point, but Humphrey also loves Kate. Kate and the eastern pack … prince, I guess, (named Garth) are supposed to meet up at some moon-howling party. This basically entails that the wolves get up on a mountain and howl together, and howling is either the wolf version of a date or straight up fuckin. Well Garth is no good at howling and that turns Kate off. She wants a wolf with a long, hard howl, and Garth’s is weak and unsatisfying. So Kate wanders off and bumps into Humphrey and they fight about something before they are both shot with tranquilizers by humans and taken to Idaho to get their howl on and repopulate the wolf population down there.

Back in Canada, the wolf packs get to arguing and threatening with war now that Kate’s disappeared and it’s determined that, if Kate doesn’t get back in a few days, they are going to howl up the rest of the wolves. Kate sets on her way back to Canada and Humphrey follows. Back in Canada, Garth starts falling for Lilly (Ricci), Kate’s younger sister. He probably doesn’t howl the shit out of her out of respect for her sister. And Kate and Humphrey go through all sorts of shenanigans and goings-ons on their way back home. Will the two ever fall in love? Tune in to find out … or don’t, this movie sucked.

There were MANY problems with this movie. The first one is that the commercials they put on the screens at Best Buy must have been the ONLY decent animation in the entire movie. The backgrounds are colorful and pretty, but the character animations are stiff, unrealistic, and ugly. This could be forgivable with a quality story or a laugh or two … and someone should have told them that. The story is what Romeo and Juliet would be if Shakespeare was retarded. And the characters seem to attempt to be funny only to fail drastically. I did not laugh or even crack a smile through this entire movie. Something about the movie pretty much shut me down in the first 15 minutes and never got me back. The movie even managed to drain any and all funny out of the usually hilarious Larry Miller, who plays a bald turkey or something that helps the two wolves return home. The howling scenes, which as I said are either innuendo for fucking or, in some occasions, are quasi-musical numbers with little to no words and just random howls instead. These are completely cringe inducing. Cringe or bash-your-head-against-things inducing. And the logical errors cannot be forgiven! There is a scene where the turkey bird (or whatever Larry Miller’s bird was supposed to be) is dragging Humphrey (the adult wolf!) behind him and eventually takes flight with the wolf hanging from his feet. If a ambiguous turkey bird had that kind of wing strength, I think that could be a solid defense mechanism and then it may be a little too difficult to eat Larry Miller for Thanksgiving. Also, there’s a scene that would make my gun-crazy friend Mike punch himself in the dick, as a missed shot from a shotgun aimed at the two wolves misses and tears a wolf-sized hole in the chain link fence.

Okay, I know what some of you may be saying: “Obviously this movie was meant for kids and not for you”, and there was a time when this would be an acceptable excuse. But I think nowadays Pixar has set that bar a little higher than that, where a movie can be both enthralling to children and entertaining to their parents as well. And don’t insult your children with this movie, they’re smart enough for Pixar. Watch you some Wall-E. That shit is howling awesome.

Also, I feel that I should take it down a notch and say that this was far from the worst movie ever, there’s just no reason to see it. That’s why I give it a “skip it” out of 22 1/2.