Cry 4 had a denser and more ambitious introduction, according to screenwriter Kevin Williamson, but it didn’t make the cut.
At a time when the fifth Scream could break US records for its opening, despite fairly mixed reviews (our review on Cry 5), a little throwback to a decade to talk about its predecessor: Cry 4, sometimes appreciated by fans, sometimes considered the not very useful revival of the saga.
And as with every divisive Hollywood movie, there’s always a corpse lying around in a closet. Here is the scenario of Williamson, who was stabbed. He had already explained that a huge introductory sequence, putting a very particular versus between the famous Sidney (protagonist since the beginning of the saga, camped by Neve Campbell) and Ghostface, had been deleted, but he returned in more detail on this opening.
Williamson explained on the microphone ofWeekly entertainment that his first versions of the screenplay had an introductory sequence that upset the codes of the saga. While the opening usually serves to make a good victim for Ghostface, there was a huge and bloody duel of fifteen minutes between the two nemeses:
“She [Sidney] was fighting for his life. It was a massive fifteen minute battle, where she continually stabbed the killer, and he stabbed her back too. Looks like she was stabbed five times, and she was crawling on the ground. The surprise, compared to the first three parts of the saga, was that she managed to survive and kill Ghostface. The killer would die.
One night I had this idea. I got up at three in the morning and wanted to develop it, to see where it would take the script. It was a bit of a movie within a movie, because I knew we had to find Sidney with a self-help book, and I didn’t know how we could bring that. It would keep Stab [la version romancée de Ghostface dans la diégèse du film] alive, because that’s the most fun, in terms of deconstruction. So I wrote it all in one night.”
A victim like no other
You could say that a cut of a big sequence would not be surprising (a bit like the battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock from No coming home), more Williamson’s implications are quite huge, in his words. Moreover, this statement tallies with an old confession made to Weekly entertainment, in which it was explained that Cry 4 was originally designed around the original trio of the saga (of which Sidney is a part).
But Bob Weinstein, brother of the infamous producer for his legal convictions, got his hands dirty, judging this introduction too heavy for the pace of the film. With director Wes Craven, they not only removed this sequence, but reworked the entire structure of the film. That’s how this one became encumbered with teenage characters, which brought a more “teen” energy to the entire footage.
“How is that my blood on the glass?”
Unfortunately, but not so surprisingly, it is not uncommon to see an author be quickly dispossessed of his ideas, given the very heavy specifications of a successful franchise. It is all the more harmful for Cry 4 that he had the very explicit intention of criticizing the endless sequels/reboots/remakes, dedicated to desacralizing their sagas.
Even if Craven and Williamson continued on this line with these adolescent characters, it’s a safe bet that the result could have been very different, if they had not had their hands tied by the Weinsteins. But unable to change the past, we can only turn to the fifth Scream, already released in French cinemas since January 12, 2022.