Thursday, April 14, 2011

'Scream 4' Mines Television's Gold Talent For Its Young Cast...

I don't need any extra incentive to head to the theater this weekend and see Scream 4. Hell, I will be there at midnight for the very first west coast screening with big dreams and very specific theories in my mind and a soft spot for Ghostface in my heart! The original incarnation of the franchise was my introduction to horror films, and after the lackluster third installment that wrapped up the then-trilogy, I couldn't help but hope there would be more to come. Musicians "retire" every few years; other, lesser-than horror films have been remade and re-imagined countless times over for new generations, why not Scream? Well, it's been a decade, but I've finally gotten my wish. And thanks to some very special (and familiar) faces from the television landscape, I may not need the extra incentive, but this new chapter in the slasher saga provides it nonetheless. Scream 4 may just set a whole new precedent not only for the series but also the genre in general.

When the first Scream opened in 1996 the cast was full of relative unknowns, despite the fact that two of the stars (Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell) were on current hit television shows. But television actors at the time weren't known for crossing over into the film medium, and though their respective shows reached millions, they were still seen as lower on the fame totem pole when compared to bona fide movie stars. These days the tides have turned. Actors move between mediums (and genres) much more freely, and with the amount of television available-- and all at our fingertips-- many fans are more invested in those they see in their homes weekly rather than the larger-than-life personas they have to head to theaters to catch.

Now it is over a decade later, though, and in an attempt to bring in not only the audience who grew up with the original trilogy but also a newer, younger generation, Scream 4 takes the approach of revamped television shows before it, such as 90210 and the sadly short-lived Melrose Place 2.0, in that they bring back beloved characters but push them to the back burner in order to introduce a new, fresh faced cast. And what a new, young cast they have assembled!

Scream 4 taps the best of the television talent pool with stars in the making like Friday Night Lights' Aimee Teegarden, Community & Mad Men (and self-proclaimed Scream franchise nerd)'s Alison Brie, Life Unexpected's Britt Robertson, Pretty Little Liars' Lucy Hale, The Beautiful Life's Nico Tortorella and True Blood's Anna Paquin.
But those are just the blips on the radar. There are so many up-and-comers, from the television landscape and a bit wider, that this chapter in the tale is certainly going to prove to be bigger and bloodier than ever before. It's simple movie math: a slasher film can't juggle that many characters, so the majority of these freckled-faced kids aren't going to make it to adulthood.

Odds may be slightly better for Heroes' Hayden Panettiere and Veronica Mars & House of Lies' Kristen Bell, though. The former has the most mainstream level of fame, and the latter, well, judging from her one line in the trailer, she seems to be a bit more excited by terror than actually, well, terrified by it. She may actually be the killer with an attitude like that! Even Jericho's Erik Knudsen, who also has a Saw film under his belt, may come away relatively okay, either as the new Randy or a baby-faced killer. If virgins can die now, anything is possible; the genre certainly has changed all of their rules!

And of course, Emma Roberts as Sydney's young cousin will probably make it out alive considering both Syd and her dad did in previous installments. After suffering the devastating loss of Maureen off-screen prior to the first film, this family seems to be untouchable. Sure all their close friends and loved ones bite the big one, but they, well, they somehow always seem to survive with just a few bumps and scrapes. But Roberts is most known for her film work anyway, so I don't care as much about her!

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