‘Scream’ 2022 review: Elevated slasher movie | Entertainment
The rules for surviving a “Scream” movie include several things, including respecting the original, understanding your inferiority to the original, and being Sidney Prescott.
Debuting 11 years after the previous film, 2022’s “Scream” aims to revive the classic meta-slasher franchise with its take on a legacy sequel. The fifth film in the franchise, this sequel is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who both directed “Ready or Not.” It was written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.
Picking up 11 years after the previous film, Ghostface is back to terrorize the small town of Woodsboro. After Ghostface attacks a girl named Tara, her sister Sam returns to her hometown to protect her sister and uncover the mystery of the killer, with the help of her boyfriend Richie and Tara’s friends. But as dark secrets bubble to the surface, the situation becomes all too familiar, almost as if this movie had already been made.
“Scream” offers a fresh take on the classic slasher franchise by deconstructing its own existence as a legacy sequel to the original films. Along with brilliant meta and movie commentary, the film works in some excellent chilling sequences with a fast-paced story to leave audiences on the edge of their seat.
The film sees the return of the franchise’s three main cast members: Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, Courtney Cox as Gale Weathers and David Arquette as Dewey Riley. They deliver surprisingly heartfelt performances as they dance to the same song for the fifth time. But the only fatigue comes with age, and they play these older characters incredibly well. They carry the right amount of stoicism, cynicism, and even humor to keep their characters fresh while building on their decades of character dynamics.
With them, the film sees a new set of faces that all fit perfectly into the franchise. There’s Melissa Barrera as Sam, Jenna Ortega as Tara, Jack Quaid as Richie, Mason Gooding as Chad, and Jasmin Savoy Brown as her twin Mindy, Mikey Madison as Amber, Dylan Minnette as Wes, and Sonia Ben Ammar as Liv. They all work well as high school kids/horror movie characters in their early 20s. They bring a healthy dose of terrifying performance during horror sequences as well as distance and youthful weariness. They work especially well against Legacy characters.
Speaking of legacy, this film is obviously aware of what it is. It consistently plays into that fact, the rules of the movie, and its placement in the franchise. There are several meta jokes that land – the one with the YouTube movie review is my favorite – that uses the in-universe “Stab” franchise to poke fun at itself and the horror/slasher genre as a whole. . Specifically, he comments on outdated forms of horror that contrast with the newfound popularity of “high horror”.
It sets up the tropes, stakes, rules, characters, and plot structure quite brilliantly, matching the same energy as the franchise’s two best films, 1996’s “Scream” and “Scream 4”. It carries that meta-textual analysis to the bloody end, and it’s incredibly refreshing to watch a movie like this again. It’s on par with “The Matrix Resurrections” in the area of meta commentary on the existence of the two films and their franchise status, but this one builds on the foundation of the franchise to expand it further.
With that in mind, this movie is crafted more in keeping with movies like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” and the countless reboots of the horror franchise that slap the original movie’s name on to appeal to audiences. – whom they name in the film. To clarify, they’re essentially remaking a popular movie, not replacing it outright, creating a pseudo remake and a hybrid sequel. In this case, the film uses the first “Scream” as the basic elements of the story, while telling this fact all the time.
It works beautifully in the movie, allowing the story, characters, and twists to be subversive and fun. It plays with our expectations for a film like this without deviating from what makes these films some of the best in the genre. Her deconstructive nature comes pre-packaged, but she uses it to her advantage without turning into what she doesn’t care about.
But what’s a horror movie if it’s not scary? Well, a bad horror movie for one – even though they can be fun. Fortunately, “Scream” 2022 does not have this problem. There are several horror sequences that have a rapidly rising tension that boils over until it becomes suspenseful as you watch the characters struggle to survive. There’s a hospital sequence towards the midpoint that’s nerve-wracking, leaving the audience feeling uneasy in the best way.
Working with horror, the camerawork uses several modern horror techniques to create fear. The intense close-ups, dynamic lighting, and use of weird angles help the film, and the horror scenes feel new without taking away from the original films and their footage. He uses these frames to show the horror in a different way, which is clear from the new directors and their vision.
There are some classic examples of horror blocking, such as a character opening a door to create a barrier for someone to jump through when he closes it, as well as a general revival of older films with the camera. There are also stings of horror music to build tension, which can be a bit boring, but the original movies did that too. Speaking of music, the score is pretty good, but it mostly works in tandem with the movie.
Finally, the editing and pacing of this film are top notch. The editing has a good tempo that keeps the scenes moving without becoming disorienting. On top of that, the pacing is stellar, as the film scrolls by seemingly without any grease on the film. It helps that the movie is well written and directed, so it’s easy to get sucked into the story and the characters.
“Scream” is another return to form for the franchise. Its combination of classic slasher elements with modern horror sensibilities makes it fun, smart, and scary. It’s a beautiful, elevated, schlocky piece of horror.
One of the only conflicts with the movie itself is that “Scream 4” has already done what this movie set out to do. This movie was also released 11 years after the previous one and was meant to be a remake/sequel to the first movie. He does it incredibly well.
The difference is that “Scream” 2022 specifies its status as a legacy sequel first, indicating the time period, characters, and story as such. It also pokes fun more at franchises doing the same thing – arguably worse – and how fandoms are reacting to these changes. In that sense, this film simultaneously pokes fun at those rabid fans who have astronomical expectations of the franchise while also responding to them in unexpected ways.
The result is an excellent, extremely meta slasher movie. There’s a scene near the end of the film that’s absolutely flawless in its execution, working on so many layers of irony and meta-textual symbolism that it’s unbelievable. And that’s what makes “Scream” such a great movie series.
As for the rating, it’s still not as good as the original 1996 movie, but it’s on par with “Scream 4.” They are very similar in their sequel status, but both movies are well executed.
Wes Craven would be proud.
4 of 5 torches