For some sad reason, there has been a severe lack of good, original slasher movies over the past 10 years. Was Scream 3 so bad that it just killed the genre? Was everyone just bored? What happened, guys? The 2000s brought us new horror movies, sure, but with new horror sub genres and new horror rules, none of which have delighted me the way any of the Scream movies have, even the bad one. And consequently, the 2000s seemed to have killed the concept of horror-as-date-movie. Which makes sense. I don't want to see something that is nothing but terrible with a boy I want to make out with afterwards. I just don't. I don't think mutants raping people before they brutally murder them is particularly sexy.
But with Scream 4 we see a return to the genre that isn't a remake or a reboot, but a good old, classic, original team in place, sequel. And in spite of being a sequel and filled with pop culture references and self referential humor from top to bottom, it still manages to be ... original. And as I applauded the random appearance of Mary McDonnell, accidentally screamed at the top of my lungs multiple times, punched my boyfriend in the shoulder during the silly moments and recalled exact references to the first Scream, I realized that not only is this a return to the genre - this is a definite return to the tradition of horror-as-date-movie. Because Scream 4 is the *perfect* date movie. And here's why.
Built In Second Date
This is a date movie that has a built in prep or follow up, depending on whether you re-watch the first movies before or after the new one. (Note: I'd personally just recommend watching the first beforehand, it's all you need to be fully prepared.) So it's essentially two dates in one. Part of which involves couch cuddling and homemade snacks and perchance a cat or two. Win!
The Nostalgia Factor
I was a youngster when Scream came out and after watching it at a slumber party (and falling in love with David Arquette, obvs), I proceeded to borrow my parents' copy and watch it more or less every day when I came home from school for the next forever. I could quote practically the whole movie at age 11 and when I watch it now, it feels like a memory, a conversation I've had, not just a movie I've seen. And let me tell you, I am not the only chick in my mid 20s who feels this way. (Although I hear most others preferred Skeet Ulrich. Pshhh. Whatevs) There is a certain excitement surrounding this movie that is difficult to find in anything else. It's very specific. I mean, the entire (non-existent) campaign seems to be relying on nostalgia. And there's nothing like bonding over something you mutually loved in your childhood with a potential or current significant other.
Ability to Test Out Pop Culture Awareness
There are so many references in this movie, it's a VERY good test of where your date falls on the pop culture knowledge scale. Did you both find yourself applauding at the Shaun of the Dead clip? Did you both hang your heads in shame remembering the time you separately and regrettably saw Saw 4 in theaters? Did you both knowingly chuckle at the "Movie Cops" conversation? Or, the flip side -- did he laugh way too hard at the Jeffrey Dahmer joke? Which brings me to the next section...
Aside from the "Reference Disconnect Potential" (which sounds like the name of a Big Bang Theory episode), this is also a movie ripe for reaction and commentary. You and your date's true movie going nature can't help but come out. Acceptable movie behavior during a film like Scream 4 involves naturally laughing, screaming and reacting strongly, showing a solid sense of investment into what you are watching, but BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY, AVOIDING TALKING AND GIVING PREDICTIONS. If you attempt to talk to me during a movie I will immediately say "shhhh!" and that will be that and so be it. If you attempt to PREDICT A KILLER during a SLASHER MOVIE, that's called a deal-breaker and goodbye.
There's a little something for everyone, which never hurts when the optimal result is a sexy-time mood. And by "a little something" for "everyone", I mean "lots of hot girls" for "people who like hot girls" but also "some nerdy cute guys" for "people who like nerdy cute guys." Which covers what my boyfriend and myself like, so we were chillin'.
It Can't Not Be Enjoyed
Granted, I haven't read any reviews, so I don't know how the public is receiving the movie, but I loved it and my entire theater loved it along with me. It's not perfect, a lot of the timing is off and there are so many Ghostface calls, I almost got sick of them (almost), but overall, is this a movie anyone is really going to spend time analyzing and wondering about where it fits in in the grand scheme of filmmaking? It wasn't as good as the first, but it shouldn't be, the first is a classic and will forever be a classic. But it's fun. As hell. Legitimately fun. Not "interesting" fun or "depressing" fun, as most movies I've seen this year seem to have been, but an actual, honest to god, start to finish, great time. It's pretty awful when a rendezvous at the cinema becomes an interminable awkward silence. Here, that concern goes out the window. Note: My favorite date movie of last year was Machete.
Fun Post Movie Chatter
I ADORE the post-slasher film discussions of who thought who the killer was when. Because no one ever gets it right, but we're all proud of the fact that we didn't get it right, cause it means the movie worked.
It is a Horror Movie, After All
There was a lot of clutching and hand-holding and arms around my shoulders, is all I have to say. If you are sitting next to me during a movie that is the least bit scary, I will clutch you and if I scream, I expect you to hold my hand. Erm. If we're on a date. If we're not on a date, please don't hold my hand. It will weird me out. Probably.
So there you have it. I proclaim, on the record, that Scream 4 may be your perfect date movie this weekend. I would also like to proclaim that Alison Brie and Hayden Panettiere were awesome in said perfect date movie. Yup, I just used Hayden Panettiere and awesome in the same sentence. Scream 4 did that. It also gave me a fantastic evening out with the boy. Midnight movies FTW!