It may be hard to imagine these days, but back in the early 90s, the horror genre was not as booming as it is today. The state of the genre was doomed to a feedback loop of churning out sequel after schlocky sequel of the three big franchises: Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the Thirteenth, and Halloween.
Oh and there were those pesky Chuckies and Leprechauns running about, too. But general audiences and critics were not interested in these decidedly unfresh films that kept coming out. If horror was going to survive into the 21st century, the genre needed to find a way to bring general audiences back into the theatres. And as if by magic, in 1996, Scream did exactly that with its fresh new spin of meta-commentary, a whodunit approach, and of course all those likeable, cool characters such as Randy, Dewey, Gale, and Sydney.
Although Scream 2 is pretty much universally agreed to be one of the best sequels in the history of horror, Scream 3 aka “the Scooby-Doo one” seemed less like a real film and more like a parade of celebrity cameos. SERIOUSLY, was Jenny McCarthy actually in that movie?!
At that point, mercifully, the franchise was smart enough to know when it had worn its welcome and took a break for 11 years. Then the original creators behind the first film, screenwriter Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven, got the band back together and Scream 4 promised to bring the franchise back for a new generation. Except what we got was a Lifetime movie passing as a Scream film. Did we really need nearly every female member of the cast to be wearing hair extensions? 2011 was such a different time.
3. What Went Wrong?
Many, many, many factors contributed to the finished product of Scream 4 not being what Williamson originally intended. Nobody aside from those who worked on the film can tell us exactly what happened, but there is enough information out there that now we can perform a postmortem on the failed reboot.
Very early on in production, entertainment news outlets were reporting troubles on the set. Namely, actors Lake Bell and Lauren Graham both quit within the first week of production. We also know that Courtney Cox and David Arquette’s marriage was falling apart as the film was shooting. Cox cited Arquette’s partying with the younger cast members to be a point of conflict, and shortly after the film wrapped, Arquette went into rehab.
Meanwhile, Dimension studio head Bob Weinstein and Williamson were fighting over the screenplay, with Weinstein demanding changes. Inevitably, because you don’t fight mega producers and win, Williamson was released from his duties and replaced by Ehren Kruger, who had previously replaced Williamson on the third film in the series.
So what did Kruger add to the film? Well, Craven has stated that Kruger reworked the beginning and some dialogue throughout the film, but the most significant change Kruger made was to the film’s ending...