Scream has some big shoes to fill. The filmmakers have to fill the shoes of horror legend Wes Craven. The screenwriters have to fill the shoes of Kevin Williamson and the brilliance he brought to the genre with the script for 1996’s Scream. Finally, those new cast members have to take on the old guard of the franchise and do so in a way that doesn’t piss off the fans. Scream is all about the fans, for better or worse.
Being the fifth entry in a franchise that has been dormant since 2011 is difficult. Luckily directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett step in more than admirably. The script, written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick is filled with references to the franchise’s past, movies of the past, the present, requels, sequels, remakes, and whatever else you can think of in 2000’s horror. Slashers like Halloween (2018) reset the franchise for younger audiences but keep it familiar for the old guard. Scream does that in a self-referential way similar to the original. It knows this is a horror movie, and most importantly, it knows this is a “legacy sequel”.
The cast is large, but they all find ways to impress and blend together with the legacy cast. It stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Marley Shelton, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Mikey Madison, Mason Gooding, and Kyle Gallner. This isn’t all about the old guard though, the newcomers hold more than their own in the scenes.
The Best Mixing Of Old And New Talent In A Horror Sequel
Normally In horror sequels, you’re hoping that the new cast doesn’t fall flat on their face, and they work well with the old guard. Movies like Halloween have spoiled us with the badass exploits of Jamie Lee Curtis. The magic of the 2018 film is how well newcomers work with the old. In Scream, it goes even further than Halloween. This is all about the old mixing with the new. The story follows Tara and Sam Carpenter, who gets attacked by a new Ghostface killer. They need the help of Sidney, Dewey, and Gale, who all find their way back to Woodsboro as the body count rises. Their friends are all suspects, but the new Ghostface has some special tricks up its sleeve.
The highlights are Barrera as Sam, Jenna Ortega as Tara, and Jack Quaid as Sam’s boyfriend Richie. They’re what drive the plot along and you’ll be rooting for them as hard as you root for the old characters. Speaking of them, they all come in HOT and don’t give up for the whole movie. The interactions they have with one another and the young kids are the best parts of the film. Dewey hearing the rules of “requels” is an instantly rewatchable scene.
Glorious Kills Lead The Day
The kills of Scream don’t reinvent the wheel. People looking for interesting and intricate new ways to stab someone need not apply. However, the kills in this movie are brutal, personal, and shocking when they happen. It might not reinvent the stabbing wheel, but they are gory and glorious. You’re trying to hide your eyes when someone’s about to be stabbed, but when they do, the blood runs like water.
As for what the kills mean, they all have their impacts. Some are heartbreaking, some you’re almost rooting for Ghostface. One, in particular, is truly jaw-dropping with the execution and what the moment means for all the characters involved. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, and the false finishes of the movie are almost as satisfying as the kills. The directors know how to build the tension to the perfect boiling point, only to let the steam off just a bit, and then hit you with the hammer of a kill.
There are also the moments that will make your theater/living room audience hoot, holler, and cheer. It’s not a Scream movie without the sensational third act.
The Message Of The Movie Is The Best Part
When you get to the reason why Ghostface is back, for some, they’ll have to look themselves in the mirror. Others will laugh at how it pokes fun at the society we live in. That’s really what Scream is all about. It’s about deconstructing the genre/popular culture of the day. Scream takes aim at the moviemaking of today and does so with biting commentary that’ll make you scream with laughter in between tensing up to brace for kills.
It’s referential but in all the best ways. This is quite possibly, the perfect popcorn horror movie. For horror fans, Scream was our version of Spider-Man: No Way Home. We waited through a deadly pandemic, built the film up, and it so excellently sticks the landing. It has emotion, laughs, scares, kills, and anything else that you’d want out of the film. This is truly one of the best horror movie sequels out there.
Wes Craven would be proud of this movie and what it does for fans of horror. It strikes a vicious chord with its commentary and leaves no stone unturned for the modern horror genre. If Scream killed slashers and forced them to reinvent themselves, Scream (2022) does the same for modern horror 25 years later.
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