The 2022 model of “Scream” is a movie for viewers raised on the 1996 model of “Scream” and its three sequels. Whereas the primary script by Kevin Williamson turned the type of conversations that followers had about John Carpenter and Wes Craven at school cafeterias and low homes into one thing daring and riveting, the brand new script by James Vanderbilt and Gary Busick exists in a world the place these conversations occur on a lot bigger scale in Discord chats, Reddit threads, and fan conventions. It is a horror movie for a world wherein everybody has an opinion on horror movies. Fortunately, it neatly balances references to the unique films in a means that (largely) avoids the self-aware smugness that has killed many a “re-quel,” delivering a product that feels per the primary 4 films however distinct sufficient to have its personal voice. A few of Craven’s craftsmanship and ability with performers is missing right here, however by the point the movie is rising to the rafters in its bonkers ultimate act, I do not assume any of the true horror followers within the viewers will care.
After all, “Scream” opens with a telephone name—and, sure, it’s nonetheless a landline. As soon as once more, a younger lady house alone is compelled to play film trivia with a psychopath, however, the method wherein this “Scream” will replace the unique is clear early as Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) says her favorite horror flick isn’t a slasher traditional however an “elevated horror” movie like “The Babadook.” How we outline the horror style has modified considerably within the final 25 years, as has the connection between filmmakers, viewers, and even “true story” material that creators mine for escapist leisure. The characters within the new “Scream” don’t simply all have the identical style film information of the unique’s Randy Meeks, they might destroy him in a trivia contest.
Tara is attacked by somebody carrying the Ghostface outfit from the in-universe “Stab” franchise, based mostly on the Westboro murders dedicated by Stu Macher and Billy Loomis, however, she survives, bringing her estranged sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) again from Modesto to their hometown. Very like Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) from the unique, Sam has some darkish household drama that compelled her to depart her sister behind, however, it looks like this new killer attacked Tara to get the massive sis to come back house. She brings her new beau Richie (Jack Quaid of “The Boys”) alongside for the trip, regardless that he’s by no means seen a “Stab” film. By the best way, they’ve made eight “Stab” films and the final one was significantly loathed by the fan base for reportedly betraying what labored concerning the franchise within the first place. After all, Rian Johnson directed.
Earlier than Tara may even get out of the hospital, Ghostface is on a rampage, main Sam and Richie to the person who they assume will help them determine who’s behind the masks this time: Deputy Dewey (a really efficient David Arquette, given extra dramatic beats than standard. I hope it results in extra work prefer it.) He calls Sid and texts Gale (Courteney Cox), and the world-famous trio is again on the town earlier than you already know it, however, administrators Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett correctly don’t allow them to take over the narrative. They’re flavoring, a nod to the previous as an alternative of the entire meal like in another request. Consider them just like the legacy characters within the Star Wars sequels—important however not driving the story.
No, the main focus right here is once more on a bunch of younger individuals who have seen sufficient “Stab” films to know that the killer might be certainly one of their very own. It doesn’t assist that nearly everybody on the town has a connection to the unique characters—ask the Strodes how effectively that normally goes in horror films—comparable to Wes Hicks (Dylan Minnette), the son of Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton) from “Scream 4,” or Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding), associated to poor Randy. After which there’s Amber (Mikey Madison), the one who appears most protecting of Tara and distrusting of Sam. As for Samantha, she has such a detailed relationship to one of many unique characters that she hallucinates conversations with him (which have some dodgy CGI that make them much less efficient than they in all probability have been on paper). Considered one of these younger individuals might be a killer. Given the monitor report of this sequence, in all probability multiple.
What actually issues to the success of this “Scream” is the way wherein Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett construct to their really efficient set items. One in a darkly lit hospital has the violent vitality of John Carpenter and the prolonged social gathering sequence/climax—it at all times ends at a celebration—is splendidly constructed, shot with fluid camerawork by Brett Jutkiewicz and tightly edited by Michael Aller. Brian Tyler’s rating elevates the brutal violence in loss of life sequences that don’t really feel as informal or tongue-in-cheek as numerous nostalgic horror tends to really feel. So many films like “Scream” wink at their viewers and overlook being remotely scary. The brand new “Scream” tries to be a precise horror film as an alternative of only a meta-reference to the style.
Whereas this is probably not a good recreation to play, it’s not possible to not think about how the movie would have differed if Craven had lived to make it himself. I do assume that he would have drawn a number of higher performances from the younger forged, who’re all ok however nowhere close to as distinctly memorable as the unique crew, typically leaning into melodramatic feelings in a means that Craven would have dialed down. Alternatively, the unique trio is glorious, conveying the trauma of getting to undergo this nonsense once more in a means that feels real. And what actually issues is how a lot Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett have discovered from the Craven originals by way of craft. Whereas Craven used visible references to masters like Hitchcock and Carpenter, the brand new filmmakers have Wes himself to make use of as a task mannequin, they usually undeniably get to the core of numerous what he did finest in each craft and style deconstruction. In any case, there’s a cause the movie’s dedication reads “For Wes” and a scene close to the tip even makes use of the phrase “passing the torch.” I’m undecided concerning the latter however I’m assured that Wes could be impressed sufficient to contemplate it.