Director-Mike Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring Melissa Barrera, Neve Campbell, Jack Quaid
Scott’s Review #1,284
Reviewed August 2, 2022
Scream, the 2022 version, was billed as a ‘relaunch’ of the film series when it was released in the crappy month of January. However, is that so important in a Covid age when hardly anyone goes to movie theaters?
The film is really ‘Scream 5′ because it has continuity from the last installment released in 2011, and harkens back to the 1996 Scream premiere.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the film.
Scream ultimately follows a formula, but a formula that works especially well and will please fans of the series. My expectations were superseded, and wonderful is the inclusion of series stalwarts in roles that are much more than glorified cameos.
On the flip-side the finale is underwhelming and the killers’ (isn’t there always two??) motivations are lame but I found that to be unimportant because the real fun is the whodunit aspect.
Scream is very faithful to that.
Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, California, a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past.
The frightening release date and the first of the series not to be directed by Wes Craven is enough to make any Scream fan bite their nails in worry about how the end product would result.
In addition, there are two screenwriters and two directors which is rarely a good sign for creativity.
But, all’s well that ends well as writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, and directors Matt Bettinelli-Olipin and Tyler Gillett do many things right.
I mentioned the formula before and they wisely use an anniversary as a starting point. Vicious murders commence on poor Woodsboro at just the right time for mayhem to erupt all over again.
For those who have forgotten the titillating and flawless opening sequence of Scream circa 1996 when poor Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) is forced to play a guessing game with an unknown phone caller to avoid death is reintroduced with gusto.
The film immediately begins with a nod to that history.
When teenager Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) answers her landline the audience whoops with joy at the anticipation of what’s to come. She will endure a game of horror film trivia with Ghostface before he (or she) leaps into the kitchen to cut her to bits.
Pleasurably, a new gang of fresh-faced Woodsboro teenagers is then introduced to be plucked off one by one. But, could one or two of them be the killers?
A treat for all fans is the inclusion of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and Skeet Ulrich in their original roles with one of them having a major connection to a new character.
This only cements the lifeline of the franchise.
The clever writing was considered unique at the time of its release for featuring characters aware of real-world horror films who openly discussed the clichés that the film attempted to subvert.
In Scream (2022) this is heightened by a discussion of ‘source material’ and ‘requel’ which feels like a horror film progression.
If you’re thinking that Scream 2022 is a carbon copy of Scream 1996 it kind of is but with some modernization. And it works like a charm, feeling like a good visit with an old friend and watching their offspring sprout into young adults.
Scream (2022) takes a lesson from what the recent Halloween film reboot did. A reprisal franchise once aged and tired that breathes new life into the series by using its history and legacy characters.
How clever that the characters in Scream even acknowledge this in the story!
I anxiously await the next Scream film rumored to be released in 2023 for more fun.