SCREAM is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. It stars Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Heather Matarazzo, and Roger L. Jackson.
Many years after the killings in the town of Woodsboro, a new killer donning a Ghostface mask has arrived, challenging the unsuspecting townspeople to play their devious game. When young Tara Carpenter is assaulted by the killer and narrowly survives, her estranged sister Sam returns to Woodsboro to begin investing the goings-on. Sam and her boyfriend turn to others who’d been involved in the situations before for additional advice, but who is the new killer, and what is the reason for the new killing spree?
After being known for the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise, director Wes Craven (RIP) turned the horror genre on its head with the release of the first SCREAM film back in 1996. The film introduced the novel concept of characters being aware of the cliches of horror movies, and using this as a basis to survive the events of said film, while at the same time providing meta-style commentary and humor. While the sequels didn’t fare as well as the original film, there’s no denying the series has made an impact on the genre. SCREAM (the new 2022 movie) is the first to be made and released since Craven’s death. And while the movie doesn’t offer any major surprises or shocks, it does do a pretty solid job reminding us why we fell in love with this take on the horror genre in the first place.
What SCREAM did for audiences back in the mid 1990s remains strong here, and this latest installment in the series, which is a sequel/loose reboot of sorts, does a good job recapturing the feeling of the original movie while also updating it for modern audiences. Much of the dialogue revolves around Hollywood running out of ideas and rehashing/reviving every single property imaginable without coming up with anything new. These moments hit close to home and are certainly what the movie does best. If you’re a movie fan, horror or otherwise, this meta-style commentary is both thought-provoking and humorous. It was easily my favorite part of the film.
The movie also gives us a large and diverse cast, including many veterans of the franchise who bring some welcome gravity to the at-times over-the-top situation explored in the movie. I won’t spoil any surprises here, but seeing the young interact with the old makes for some great sequences and gives the movie much of its emotional impact. There are some big reveals and plot twists at times in the film, and for the most part, these don’t disappoint when they arrive.
If there’s one weakness to this otherwise stellar film, it’s the fact that it does try to introduce too many characters and doesn’t get nearly enough time to fully develop them all. Granted, this is a common complaint of “slasher” horror movies that isn’t limited to this one, but it does make the inevitable killings a little less meaningful or impactful when the body count starts stacking up.
SCREAM isn’t perfect, and it’s not the most original scary movie in theaters today. But it’s a great throwback that’s also excellently updated for modern audiences, entertaining with its meta-style humor and commentary. It’s an ideal “date night” horror movie (provided those on the date aren’t squeamish!) Despite minor shortcomings, it’s easy to recommend.