• Zach Youngs

Movie Review: Scream (2022)

Scream is, in the lingo used in the film, a "requel." It's not a full reboot of the Scream franchise, but it's not a traditional sequel either. The film follows the relatives and offspring of several people connected with the original killings as they attempt to survive a new killer's rampage through Woodsboro. Many of the franchises longest survivors also return to help out with the mystery. The film stars Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minette, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Mickey Madison, Mason Gooding, Kyle Gallner, Marley Shelton, David Arquette, Neve Campbell, and Courtney Cox. The film is written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick and is directed by Matt Betinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.

It's interesting to have a film like Scream now. As several characters state either derisively or with reverence, there is a far different style of horror that has taken over many minds and has brought a different kind of crowd to the genre. It's rare to have a pure, gory, kill a minute, slasher. Like the first film, this Scream delves deeply into lore, rules, and meta commentary. Rather than being about violence in the media, this film focuses on the toxicity that can bubble within fan communities. This Scream is about those active within their communities who don't feel they're being heard by the powers that make the thing they love.

I really wanted to love this Scream. Based on the trailer I knew there would be some cringey parts, especially around the reintroduction of the legacy franchise characters. I think half of Neve Campbell's lines are some version of "I'm Sidney Prescott." What really failed me were the emotional beats we're meant to have with these characters. There's a heavy loss between those that have been around these horrific events for decades and I can understand the emotional toll it's taking on these characters to be in this situation again, but it's inconsistent. It's maudlin and so out of step with the story the filmmakers are trying to tell and the criticisms they have with the so-called elevated horror of the last decade.

Especially with the pedigree of directors Matt Betinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett whose most recent feature, Ready or Not, was able to move at a clip as well as stay funny, disgusting, and scary, I was disappointed at what felt like slogging through, We had to wade through a lot of emotional baggage to try and get to the more exciting plot points. Even the final reveal of the killer was one that I went, "of course, why did it take us so long to get here?" It may have been problems with the script, with the intention to include everything they could think of in order to maybe avoid the motivations of their killer in the audience.

What is really terrific is the way cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz was able to recreate a famous scene from the original. He takes the niece of one of the original victims, sets her up watching an actor playing her uncle shouting at a character in a horror movie just as she does and as the killer comes around the corner for him, she realizes this is a moment of art imitating life imitating art imitating life.

Editor Michel Aller's work also gives several scenes a bit of a boost. Aller's quick cuts during the opening sequence, which is heavily featured in the trailer for the film, help to establish how we aren't safe even with our modern technology. A lot of the use of technology was brilliant because while they could have over done it with text chains or weird social media tie ins, it was kept, light, to the point and heightened every tense moment.

Scream describes its inessential nature in its meta commentary discussions of horror and fandoms. It's a film that has some of the panache and flair of the original with some harrowing kills and thrills, but it couldn't hold my interest after I put together the killer. I also didn't like that a franchise that strove for a little more authenticity would include a probable psychosis induced fantasy element that felt a little tacked on. Overall this Scream is a bit more meh than anything else. If you're a completest it's worth watching, just not sure it's worth getting out of the house and looking over your shoulder walking out of the theater for.

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