We’re still a year away from Scream 4, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s reboot of the film series that started out cleverly playing off slasher film tropes before becoming so self-satisfied with the idea of playing off slasher film tropes that it failed to notice it was just as guilty of them. (Not to mention that the whole thing wrapped up in a “twist” more convoluted than most of the films it was supposedly spoofing.) But it’s apparently never too early to start talking about it: Teaser posters have already been released proclaiming, “New decade. New rules,” so Entertainment Weekly recently caught up with Craven to see what viewers could expect from the film—which is, according to Craven, just the first of the “next three pictures”—before he starts shooting in June with the reunited cast of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette. Along with introducing a set of “new kids,” Craven promises it will continue the Scream story in a very “organic” way:
There have been 10 years of no Ghostface, but there has been the movie-within-a-movie Stab. We have fun with the idea of endless sequels, or “sequelitis” as Kevin calls it in the script. Sid goes through these three horrendous things, and Stab was based on those horrible things. And then they’ve been taken by a studio and run into the ground in a series of sequels. She has been off by herself and living her own life, and she’s even written a book that has gotten a lot of critical acclaim. She’s kind of put her life back together in the course of these 10 years. But, certainly, there would be no Scream without Ghostface, so she has to confront him again, but now as a woman who has really come out the darkness of her past.
So once again, Stab will be used as a meta-commentary on the way film studios tend to sully their original ideas by following them up with endless pale imitations—and as you can tell, Craven once again believes that pointing that out before anyone else can absolves him from similar accusations. In fact, he even uses the interview to decry the way horror has devolved into endless remakes and sequels—but stresses that Scream 4 is the exception:
What is your opinion of where the horror genre has gone these past 10 years?
It feels like the end of an era of a certain type of film. There are series of films, a lot of sequels, and a lot of remakes, and part of the humor of Scream 4 is when characters comment on that. “Enough of Saw 25 and all!” [Laughs] A lot of films, directors, and studios are the butts of some of the jokes. In order to figure out what’s happening around them, the characters have to figure out where the genre of horror is. So this is a look at horror after 10 years of a lot of sequels rather than original films coming up year after year. One film is successful, and then they make 25 of them. I think it’s time for something new. I’ve done remakes of my own films, too, with The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, but we feel it’s time for something new and different, and that’s what this film is going to be.
But then is it ironic that this is the fourth film in a series?
Yeah, but I’ve never felt like these are sequels. This is a film about the progress of, at this point, three core characters, and how all of these events have changed their lives, and how the events in their lives have been reflected in the movies around them, which they might like or might really not like at all. I think that makes it really different.
So there you have it: Scream 4 is a gratuitously unnecessary sequel that pokes fun at the idea of gratuitously unnecessary sequels, which makes it necessary.