The horror genre in film has been through an experimental transformation throughout the years. Whether certain horror conventions have faded or stayed in the art, the genre has seen a mix of artistic and mainstream appeal. So, when Scream, a franchise in which its first film was originally created to be a meta take on the slasher genre, has its latest film comment on the new era through bloodied lenses, we as the audience are greeted with an incredibly clever and thoughtful experience that honors the legacy of the late Wes Craven.
Written in a similar fashion to 2018’s Halloween, 2022’s Scream is a “requel” that takes place 25 years after the first film. The legacy characters have been through the wringer throughout sequels, but alongside other new prominent characters, they are forced back to Woodsboro and face a new Ghostface that’s leaving a new string of murders behind its path.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett do a fantastic job in attempting to capture Craven’s vision in the first Scream movie while taking the franchise in a new direction as a way of evolving with the current horror film culture and fandom. Along with the commentary is a genuine fun slasher flick as it does not hold back gore and brutality in the kills. Those bloody murders, though, are laced with hints of comedy that play around with the slasher formula in a tongue in cheek fashion that can get more than a chuckle out of any horror fan.
Where the film does slightly lack in though is the making of a good mystery. The first Scream truly delivered in the shock value by creating a genuine whodunnit plot that has sadly failed to be developed or replicated in the sequels, and the requel has a similar issue. While the film playfully nudges the audience on who the killer might be, it feels unnecessary due to how easy the culprits stick out. It’s one instance when Scream falls into the conventions it comments on and loses its sense of self-awareness. That misstep can be overlooked though as 2022’s Scream is able to entertain its audience with a cast of enjoyable new and old characters. Apart from the return of horror legends like Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, there is a plethora of young actors that standout such as the horror nerd Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown).
The new Scream is a film that shows its roots with pride. In an innovative era of horror cinema, the franchise’s fifth outing uses its formula in the best way possible. While being dedicated to Craven, there is an aura of nostalgia that melds with relevancy that makes it another successful entry in a new renaissance of horror in the film industry.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars