|Release Date||January 14, 2022|
|Director||Matt Bertinelli, Tyler Gillett|
|Cast||Jenna Ortega, Courteney Cox, Mikey Madison, Melissa Barrera, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Dylan Minnette|
Scream is an interesting franchise to me. It’s not one of those horror/slasher series that has continuously been shoved down our throats over the years like Friday the 13th or Halloween at their height. There have only been 4 entries previous to this one and the last one was in 2011. I think that’s why a lot of people, including myself, have a bit of a soft spot for the series. It’s a tough thing to reboot a series or develop a sequel to something that has such a passionate fanbase. 2022’s Scream manages to pull off the “requel” much better than expected with a bloody and very meta outing that leaves the door open for the future of the series, even if it probably should have put a bow on it.
We return to Woodsboro and it’s not long before we’re introduced to the Ghostface killer and some gory bloodshed. Scream really takes the violence to another level. This is a cold, calculated killer who is smarter than ever and ready to systematically take out every victim. There’s an early scene in which the victim arms her smart security system to ensure her safety. Of course, moments later, the killer hacks the system and unlocks every lock in her home (as a smart home aficionado, this hit home as one of my worst fears). There weren’t many of the traditional cliché horror movie moments where the victim does something stupid to ensure their demise (although there were a few). Ghostface worked for their kills and was trickier and more gruesome than ever.
The plot picks up 11 years after the events of Scream 4. The Carpenter sisters played by Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega make up the main part of the new cast. The two were a very likable duo that were easy to root for as protagonists as Tara (Ortega) is stalked by Ghostface bringing Sam (Barerra) and her boyfriend Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid) back to Woodsboro to protect her. Much like previous movies, the entire friend group is there to bring a stop to the violence. This includes the Meeks-Martin twins who provide a lot of comedic relief, especially Jasmin Savoy Brown who plays Mindy. She mimics the mannerisms of her uncle Randy Meeks (who taught everyone the rules of a horror movie in the original Scream) with great precision. Dylan Minette of ’13 Reasons Why’ fame plays Wes Hicks, the son of Judy from Scream 3 while Mikey Madison plays the attitudinal Amber Freeman. The new portion of the cast is incredibly solid and their dialogue was really well-written, especially for a slasher film. There wasn’t a single character that felt out of place or forgettable.
It wouldn’t be a Scream without the 3 main faces of the franchise and that’s where Courteney Cox as Gail Weathers, David Arquette as Dewey Riley, and Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott come back into the picture. It was a bit of a surprise to me that all 3 of these characters came in more of a supporting role than I might have expected. Sidney wasn’t as much of a returning hero as I thought she might be although her appearance was a nice bridge to the new generation of characters. Dewey was one of the characters that seemed to have the most development in this movie ending up in a trailer in the middle of nowhere trying to forget the events of his past before lending his help to end the killings. I won’t spoil who lived or died, if any of them even did, but I will say that this movie seemed to set up a future where these 3 characters might not be necessary to push the narrative forward which was much needed as we hit the 25 year anniversary of the first film.
I loved the portion of the movie where Mindy discussed how film fans can’t stand complete reboots of a franchise so studios have to disguise them as a sequel to cater to the fanbase. A requel. It’s hilarious to me because that’s exactly what Scream 2022 is which isn’t a problem because that truly is the best way to make a new entry in a dormant franchise. My one issue with this methodology is that Scream 4 was very much a similar film in that way but after 11 years, it’s to be expected. The film is full of these meta references when talking about the fictional Stab movies and different horror franchises like The Babadook and Hereditary. This is something that Scream has been doing well since the original and it’s at its best here.
I mentioned that the door was left open for the future of the series even though it should probably end after this movie so allow me to explain. I enjoyed this movie all the way through. It was fun to try and unravel the mystery of the killer and they kept me guessing at every turn. The problem I have is that I don’t know what more this series can do to make it feel fresh. Films like Halloween and others have had so many entries because they keep taking the series in new (for better or worse) directions or remaking and expanding on existing entries. I don’t feel like Scream can do that. This has largely been the same film 5 different times now, there’s not much more you can do with the idea other than having 2 new killers every time for a new whodunnit. It can be done, but how long will audiences actually care? I really hope they do continue the franchise as it is one of my favorite franchises but I also hope that it doesn’t become watered down if they do like so many classic franchises have.
Scream was a pleasant surprise to me. It was an enjoyable film from start to finish with a lot of twists and turns and a boatload of references to the previous movies including a few little Easter Eggs that you have to be attentive to spot. This movie left the series wide open to continue on passing the torch to a new cast of characters or to end on a high note. Either way, it was a good fifth entry in the series and any fan should check it out.