26 years after Wes Craven gave the slasher pic a much-needed stab in the arm, we’ve finally come full circle.
2022’s Scream, a self-proclaimed ‘requel’ (part sequel, part reboot), arrives 11 years after the fourth and final instalment had apparently put the final nail in the franchise’s blood soaked coffin. It’s here to resurrect the franchise. To start all over again. To find something new to say.
Writer Kevin Williamson’s post-modern take on the works of Carpenter, King and Craven, the latter of which directed all prior instalments, masterfully combined self-referential humour with genuine scares, albeit of the jumpy kind.
The trio of Scream sequels stuck to the original’s guns, and for the most part, fell foul of the law of diminishing returns. Even a TV series passed most people by, and the franchise withered. The demise of the Weinsteins, combined with Wes Craven’s death in 2015, saw the series bleed out.
Horror movies, meanwhile, have been in fine fettle. As the opening sequence of the ‘requel’ acknowledges, from The Babadook to The Witch, there’s been no shortage of quality horror. Slasher pics, too, have not been hard to come by.
Which begs the question; does the horror world need another Scream movie?
And it’s the answer to this question that has seen the new movie widen its scope. It’s no longer directed solely at the horror sub-genre, rather, it’s the state of Hollywood’s addiction to nostalgia that is firmly in the sights of writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.
Every recent revival, from The Force Awakens to Child’s Play gets a kicking, but the thing is, Scream is, albeit unashamedly, the very monster it seeks to fight.
The original movie trod that line without stepping over it, tied to a genuinely decent horror premise, yet this Scream suffers from a crucial flaw; it always remains a parody. It’s more Scary Movie than Halloween.
Returning cast members give it the requisite authenticity – particularly David Arquette as the relentlessly put-upon Dewey Riley – while the new troupe are largely wasted. Sometimes literally.
The best of the bunch tend to be the ones at the wrong end of the knife, slowly reducing the characters that are genuinely worth caring about.
The franchise’s new hope, Melissa Barrera is more wooden than the casket the franchise belongs in, creaking under the strain of not being Neve Campbell, whose own motive to return is utterly unconvincing.
The same can be said for the film’s finale, the point at which this Scream admits that it never really had anything more up its sleeve than the desire to mock Reddit and Rotten Tomatoes.
Despite all this, on its surface, Scream 2022 is a fun ride. For anyone who hasn’t seen the original, this may have the same fresh-air feel. For anyone who enjoyed The Force Awakens or Jurassic World, it might be fun to see returning characters bump into their replacements.
it’s a perfectly fun slasher flick in its own right, confidently shot by co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. At least until the end.
Because Scream was always more than that. It had something to say while being frightening in its own right. The denouement shouldn’t be part of the parody.
Here, the only point being made is that requels are a bad thing. Thus, it’s a movie that has, quite effectively, reviewed itself.