Monday, April 25, 2011

What's My Favorite Scary Movie?

Um...not Scream 4, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it anyway. If you've been listening to Extra Hot Great (which...why wouldn't you??), you heard me opine a little bit on Ghostface's return to Westboro. Then my pal Jason went and unloaded a whole bunch of knowledge on the movie -- most of it dealing with who did and who didn't survive.

By the by -- NOTHING BUT SPOILERS in this post so GO AWAY if you don't want to know who the killers were, who bit the dust, et cetera.

Anyway, I needed to get more out about the movie, so I fired off an email to Jason immediately. What follows here is pretty much the sum total of my feelings about the movie -- 80% positive, and for a Part 4 in a horror franchise, that's pretty damned good.


Joe: Okay, first of all, I want validation about me getting the killers half right! And about how much better the reboot/sequel conceit worked in this movie than Scream 3's "trilogy" conceit did. They really did a great job of making us think we were watching a reboot, with reboot rules, then turning the tables at the last second and BAM! "Don't fuck with the original." As soon as I saw Sydney and Jill (Emma Roberts) in the same frame together, I immediately thought "Ain't no TWO final girls." Only one could survive. From then on it was just the question: are we dealing with a reboot or a sequel?

Also, Mary McDonnell's unfortunate upper lip situation! I was kind of waiting all weekend to talk about this...

Jason: Ack, sorry. I felt the need to sit on my opinion and stew for a couple days. It keeps swinging all over the place, and then I remember they all survived and I just don't care about anything anymore. But yes, like I said in my blog post, it really did feel as if they had a purpose here, a clever way to go about playing with the reboot thing, where the trilogy thing felt haphazard. Completely agree, and it worked really well. Even if they got distracted some here and there.

After the movie, the boyfriend would not stop talking about poor Mary McDonnell's face. I love her too much to speak upon it! I won't do it!

And I know this will piss you off but I don't remember us talking about what the outcome would be, and you half-guessing it. SUE ME. I assume you guessed about Emma Roberts then? It really was an entirely satisfying choice, in that it made sense and was funny at the same time.

Joe: We didn't talk about it before, but I mentioned it in the email I sent you Friday night. The email you clearly TOTALLY DIDN'T READ. Anyway, yes, my guess fairly early on was that it was Emma Roberts and her boyfriend, doing a Bonnie & Clyde thing, with her main motivation being hating Sydney for the exact reasons the movie used. So: half right. But the more important half! And I heroically ignored the Marley Shelton/Hayden Panettiere red herrings.

If I had one major drawback (other than Kevin Williamson over-indulging himself with Jill's final speech, which went on WAAAAY too long on the subject of Celebrity in Modern Times and How Things Are Today), it would be in the style of deaths, though weirdly I'm the opposite of you. This series was never Final Destination, and I always thought the value of the kills came in not the creativity but the brutality (contrasting so well with the comedy). Some creativity often crept in (Tatum and the garage door!), but Drew Barrymore's death, Jada Pinkett's, SMG's -- those were just brutal more than anything else. This movie kind of backed off of that in a few areas (Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody, primarily), but not enough to make me dissatisfied. I mean, she shot out her BF's crotch!

Still needed more Gale -- I thought we got the right amount of Sid in order to make us credibly think they would kill her off. Got the right amount of Dewey (not much). Wish Allison Brie could've stuck around longer (a shadow-Tatum is still valuable!). Wish I understood just what they were going for with Hayden P (too distracted by that haircut!). But mostly had a great time with it.

Jason: I read your first email, but you made it sound like it was something we'd talked about before. And I always forget every conversation I ever have because my brain is riddled with holes. RIDDLED.

Hayden was obviously directed to act like a complete lunatic for half the time as a red herring, I found it distracting. I did like her breathless ranting list of every reboot moment though. She sold me there. But as soon as she went outside it was like a sledgehammer, what was coming. And I loved the scene between Marley Shelton and Sid, I thought it was wonderful the way it was shot and edited, so creepy and weird. The shadows. Ugh, shivers.

I thought Anthony Anderson's death was pretty brutal. The way it just went on and on and on. It didn't need that lame punchline at the end though. And I agree with you that Scream was never Final Destination - what is? - with its kills, but the murders always took on a more epic feel because of the way they're expertly staged. You didn't get much of a sense of place here, or the cat and mouse routine. SMG's death (in Scream 2) was great because of how tough she was fighting back and how long she eluded the killer for. There was a sense of that with Hayden slowly going to the closet, and that death scene of the friend next door was Scream-worthy. But the Allison Brie death, for example, was all kinds of shoddy and could've been much better. I liked her character too and she did the dumbest things and then stab, dead, blah.

The movies always need more Gale. Even if now I'm always looking for the people standing on either side of CC's head and gripping her by each cheek and pulling backwards.

Joe: I feel like I need to find photos of Courteney Cox from like 3 years ago and email them to everyone, because she looks SO MUCH BETTER now.

I hear you on the Allison Brie death scene, and I did like Hayden P in that one small moment in the closet. But I was never able to wrap my head around these three Heathers being all into horror and genre movies. Because, yeah, THAT'S what happens. At least Emma Roberts looked properly haggard.

The Marley shadow scene was hilarious but I couldn't take it seriously, because they were slamming down on the pedal so hard for her as a red herring.

Your memory of SMG's death scene makes me want to see Scream 2 again immediately. It's the one I've gone the longest since seeing it last, and I really loved it. My first Olyphant!

Oh! Can somebody tell me why Adam Brody did this movie? The most thankless role for a good actor I've seen in a while.

Jason: I def. agree that CC looks better than she did a couple of years ago, it has calmed down some, but the problem is it's settled down into a different face. She doesn't look like herself anymore. I hate Hollywood.

The least Adam Brody could've done was wear some eyeliner for a minute.

Joe: Could not agree more.


Anonymous said...

Two of your questions: I think Hayden Panettire's hair was some weird attempt to make her look like Jessica Alba for God knows what reason? Because I never watched Heroes and for half the movie that's who I thought it was.

I always heard Adam Brody was a dick, and his career post OC hasn't exactly lit the world on fire, indicating he burned one two many bridges. I think he takes what he can get.

Jeff said...

One of the things that seeing the movie made me think of is how good this franchise has been to young actresses. Neve, Rose McG, SMG, Hayden, Emma, Julie Taylor.... How often do these girls get to be funny and fierce and scared and all that in one movie?

On those same lines, I thought Hayden P. was all kinds of awesome, though I wasn't totally on board with the hair either. She really got the spirit of the films and I was sort of in love with her. And Eric Knudsen. Actually in love with him.

Hugh Man said...

i agree about Eric Knudsen- but i hated the line about gay kids surviving horror movies. I can't believe this is a true idiom. Jeepers Creepers 2?