By Jason Delgado
The original Scream (1996) is a meta-horror masterpiece, with legendary director Wes Craven, screenwriter Kevin Williamson, and the up and coming cast all at the top of their games. It reinvigorated the entire horror genre at the time, spawning many copycats and sequels. Nothing could top the original though, which stands side-by-side with Halloween (1978) as one of the greatest slasher pictures of all-time. It’s fitting, since Williamson wrote Scream as a love letter to Halloween.
The new Scream (2022) is yet another in the long, recent line of remakes/sequels, which this movie has coined as a “requel” during a meta dialogue scene about the state of the film industry. The new cast, around whom this movie mostly revolves, reminds me of Saved by the Bell: The New Class. They’re good-looking people, but just about everything we loved about the original cast is gone. The acting is stiff overall, the charisma is MIA for the most part, and we’re not given enough of a backstory around many of these characters to actually care about them.
The story is set once again in the small town of Woodsboro, where it all began. Ghostface picks up where he left off, by making menacing phone calls and killing off teens after asking them, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” It’s up to a group of friends to figure out what the killer’s pattern is, because as we’ve learned in the past films, there’s always a pattern.
Scream (2022) features some clever lines (such as the dialogue on toxic fandom), but much of the meta-dialogue in this movie is stale and recycled from past films, as is the opening scene that is meant to recreate Drew Barrymore’s famous opening from the first film. Why try to recreate horror movie history, without a mega-star, and the element of surprise? That original Barrymore scene was an homage to Psycho, but it was done in such a clever way that it became iconic. I can’t say the same for much of this new Scream.
I did enjoy some of the Ghostface kills, and it’s nice to see the legacy cast members back, albeit in smaller roles than the previous Scream films. The best meta-moments in the movie for me were the scenes between Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), because they get to share some touching scenes, after having divorced in both real life and in the Scream franchise.
The highlight of Scream (2022) is the film’s inventive use of a legacy character, which ramps up and makes for an invigorating finale. I only wish that the rest of the film was just as fresh.
I give Scream (2022) three out of five hot sauce packets. The ending is fire, but the rest of this requel is mild sauce.