Horror maestro Wes Craven will be back on familiar turf next month with Scream 4, a semi-reboot for the horror franchise that will feature familiar faces like Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, but will also introduce a whole new pack of young stars to headline future series installments – or get off’d in the fourth film.

Dimension Films is serious about having Scream 4 be the first in a new trilogy, and is already on the lookout for a writer to begin work on Scream 5. Craven has overseen more than his share of slasher films already, but remains open to the idea of an additional pair of Scream pics.

The original three Scream movies all did solid business at the box office, but Scream 3 was given a much cooler critical reception than its predecessors. Hence the concern from fans when word got out that Kevin Williamson’s (Scream, Scream 2) screenplay for Scream 4 was being retooled by Scream 3 scriber Ehren Kruger – and Wes Craven’s subsequent update on his Twitter account that he was “no longer in control of the script.”

Total Film (via Scream-Trilogy) questioned Craven about that matter in its most recent issue, and the filmmaker offered the following in reply:

“I was just stating the fact. In some ways it’s a Wes Craven film, and in a way it’s not entirely, because it’s not a script I have control of. It’s ultimately controlled by what the studio wants in the script. My job is much more bringing whatever experience and expertise and creativity I can.”

Rory Culkin and Erik Knudsen in ‘Scream 4′.

Craven insists that Scream 4 retains the essence of “[Williamson’s] script and concept and ideas and themes” – and, to be fair, based off the results of the writer/director duo’s last horror flick (Cursed), it may be for the best that a third party was brought in to rework the Scream 4 screenplay. Plus, given the positive buzz from early test screenings, it seems the movie may have turned out fine after all.

The second Scream 4 trailer was by and large well received by fans, and it also did a nice job of setting the stage for Ghostface’s latest act of terror against the residents of Woodsboro. My problem with the footage unveiled was that the cracks about horror genre conventions and sly dialogue on display felt too (for lack of a better description) consciously hip – like a pale imitation of the clever writing that made the first Scream memorable, rather than a fresh spin on an old act. Hopefully the final product will prove me wrong, but for now I remain skeptical.

Craven isn’t against the idea of more Scream movies on principle, and says that he’s already held discussions with Williamson about ideas for where to go with Scream 5 & 6, in terms of themes and plot. As he put it:

“A lot depends on whether [Dimension Films comes] up with scripts to flesh out. But certainly, I’m up for it, if the script is there. It’s a fascinating thing to do two trilogies in a career.”

The search for a screenwriter to pen Scream 5 has begun, and Scream 4 is due out in theaters in about four weeks time – so chances are good that Ghostface will get to increase his onscreen kill total even more in the future .

Source: Total Film (via Scream-Trilogy), Shock Till You Drop