I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the original Scream movie came out 26 years ago. Back in 1996, when Scream was released, I was a high school teen—and I can still clearly remember how impactful this film was for 90s teenage culture.
The original Scream, directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, was a brilliant film. It was a cultural phenomenon. It changed and revolutionized modern slasher films, spawning Ghostface Halloween customs and spoof movies (the Scary Movie series). Many quotes, phrases, and lines from the movie became part of the everyday lexicon.
I loved Scream (1996), and I really liked the sequel Scream 2 (1997), and I thought Scream 3 (2000) was pretty good, not great but held its own. Scream 4 (2011) was not well received, and the fandom hated it — it was more of a comedy than a slasher movie — it really wasn’t that bad; it was just ahead of its time.
So 10 years after Scream 4 and its disappointing performance, we are getting another go at it, but with a brand new creative team behind things. The Scream series is a massive franchise, and the trick was not just to remake or reboot this franchise — but to turn it into a cohesive, well-written Requel. Or a reinvention, if you will. The main idea is to make a reboot and a sequel simultaneously, and where the “Scary” movie rules set forth by the original films get an update.
With that in mind, the opening scene rehashes the opening scene from the original movie. But unlike the previous Scream opening scenes, the person in this opening scene actually survives. As a result, 25 years since the original Ghostface murders, the town of Woodsboro has a new copycat killer on the loose.
There is a new set of high school friends at the center of the story mixed in with the original three legacy characters — there is a good balance between the original characters and the new ones. However, the new group of High school kids was not very interesting and somewhat dull, except for the twins, Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown); they were a little more interesting than the rest of the high school cast. It is important to note that the twins are related to Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) from the original film. In contrast, the high school teens from the original Scream were more interesting and realistic. I couldn’t wait to see more of the original characters on screen — they felt more real than this new bunch. Sadly, this movie did not develop the teen characters enough for me to care about any of them potentially dying.
Conversely, I liked the teen character Wes (Dylan Minnette), but I didn’t get enough of him to care if he lived or died. Also, the tension in the basement scene between Amber (Mikey Madison) and Mindy was excellent. It reminded me of the tension in the first film.
Nevertheless, our original trio of heroes is the heart of this franchise, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell). Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette). Disappointingly , the movie begins slowly chipping away at their influence and importance. My main issue here is that every new character seems to take too much screen time when the whole premise behind the Ghostface killer is about getting and killing Sydney Prescott.
All in all, there is plenty to like here. The killings were brutal, gory, and impressive. The new heroine, Sam (Melissa Barrera), is solid. Spoiler alert, her connection to Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) was a genius inclusion; Billy Loomis showing up in flashbacks and visions was cool. He looms over Sam as an influential father figure, which is crazy to think about. But I felt Sam needed more screen time; she lingers along for most of the movie, not doing much until the end when she unleashes the Billy Loomis within her. The new character of Richie (Jack Quaid) is outstanding; his dark evil turn is powerful. Little Tara (Jenna Ortega) is exceptional as this tough and brave small person.
You have to suspend disbelief a few times. There are many unrealistic things, like the hospital being seemingly empty in the middle of the afternoon. Also, It is hard to believe that Tara’s mother is away at a conference throughout the entire movie and never returns to check on her kid. Another spoiler alert, the killing of Sheriff Judy (Mary Shelton) was odd in terms of the timing of police responding to her call for help.
Seeing the original three characters back on-screen interacting with each other was beautiful. And seeing their evolution as characters was a rewarding experience to watch. David Arquette was excellent here — getting to see Dewey become this grizzled, wise older cop was magical. Last spoiler alert, Dewey’s death was brutal, leaving zero room for a possible return. I was not expecting to see the end of Dewey like this.
It is hard to believe that the killers were only two — There are some scenes where the Ghostface killer looks bigger, stronger, and more menacing; I sense that there were more; hence the sequel will probably be about the unknown killer or killers. I also get the sense that Stu Macher (Mathew Lilliard) is somehow still around, and bringing this character back in physical form would be epic — revealing he never died would be the final twist this series deserves.
Sydney remains at the root of it all — the killings are all about targeting Sydney. Unfortunately, the news of Neve Campbell exiting the 6th film due to a pay dispute is heartbreaking. She deserves to get paid top dollar for what she brings and represents to this series.
Scream 2022 or Scream 5 It’s a crowd-pleaser; it lives up to the original film’s legacy. Especially for an o.g. fan like myself — It doesn’t really have the same tension or genius of the original, but it holds its own. It finds its way towards the end, putting things together nicely. Plus, It is funny, engaging, and well-written. It follows the slayer film formula but somewhat changes it at the same time.
Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿