Scre4m if you wanna go meta, baby

Saturday April 16th 2011

There are two UK distributors that don’t particularly like me, and confusingly they have very similar names. One is called Entertainment One and the other is called Entertainment Film Distributors. I don’t know if they’re related in any way, but they certainly have very similar ideas about marketing and the negligible merits of ‘the internet’.

They don’t reply to my e-mails, they don’t invite me to screenings and in all likelihood, they don’t have the slightest clue who I am. And of course, why should they? If somebody made film critic Top Trumps, I’d hardly be the ace in the hole. Except maybe for hairline.

Luckily for me, most of what the pair of them churn out isn’t exactly high on my must-see list <cough>Gnomeo & Juliet</cough> but every now and then they’ll inexplicably get hold of something properly exciting and send me spiralling into an almighty strop:

In their infinite wisdom, Entertainment decided to put on one (count em, one) press screening of Scre4m last week and it goes without saying that I wasn’t invited. As chance would have it, a fire in the projection room at said screening meant it had to be delayed until a later date, but my invitation remained unforthcoming.

After I’d finally managed to get the gasoline smell off my hands, I went down to my local Cineworld at London’s Southside shopping centre and exchanged actual pounds and pence for a ticket to the very first showing of the film.

This experience revealed two things to me:

1. Screen 7 of the Wandsworth Cineworld is actually really lovely.

2. The Scream franchise is very much alive and in relatively good health.

Obviously, this fourth film isn’t a patch on the phenomenal original or the even-better second entry, but neither is it the unnecessary rehash that many were expecting. So in relation to the series at large, it fares pretty well:

The cast of familiar young faces (her from Wild Child, him from Scott Pilgrim, her from Mad Men, etc.) are uniformly ‘quite good’, but unsurprisingly it’s the unstoppable triumvirate of Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette who really hold the whole thing together, and keep it grounded despite more BONKERS META CRAP that you ever imagined possible in a 111 minute feature film.

With a further two films already in the pipeline, the Scream saga seems unlikely to fully return to its former glory, but this new entry is by no means an insult to its predecessors, and what’s the last fourquel you could say that about?