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SCREAM: A Love Letter to Wes Craven, which stabs through expectations and raises the stakes

Paramount Pictures

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett

Stars: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mikey Madison, Sonia Ammar, Mason Gooding, Marley Shelton & Dylan Minnette

Scream (2022) very well fits into the upper echelon of the franchise. Right alongside the very first Scream back in 1996, and 2011’s Scream 4. This film delivers what those ones were successful with doing as well- bringing together an exciting group of teenagers that the audience can connect with, and then slicing them up one by one- leaving us with a whodunnit to discover which of the friends is the psychopath among them. Its very easily one of those series that has never missed, and everything that a lover of the franchise enjoys is here- including without a doubt the most meta take on itself yet. I’m gonna do my best here to walk on egg shells and review the film, without spoiling anything massive- because this is a must watch film while it’s in theatres, especially for those that love the ones that came before.

Twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro, a new Ghostface emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth.

A new generation, means new rules are set for the ever adapting franchise- whose rules to survive change with the shifting of generations. It’s what made this one so strong, yes it’s a part of a massive franchise with an existing story that brought in an audience- but there is enough there with this new cast of characters to hold on its own. 2022’s Scream doesn’t need to rely on 1996’s for its storytelling to be strong, but there’s enough fan service and honouring it’s roots that it becomes the perfect blend for fans of the franchise to enjoy a new entry without feeling like its floating by purely on its older mother films merits or by ripping it off in anyway. In fact never does it feel like the screenplay or direction leans too heavy handed into its successful history- the kills themselves are gory and fantastic, and the frights are very well original to this one.

Not only this, but it feels when this brand new entry does take from its original it’s all done to honour Wes Cravens legacy and the incredibly film he crafted that has resonated with so many of us. Majority of the ways that our new characters are tied back to the originals works- especially the Twins being Martha Meeks kids that was the best tie into the past- as they both honour Jamie Kennedy’s legacy as Randy with such a badge of honour. Not all of the tie ins work fully, I still have some questions on the Billy Loomis stuff but it was great having even some brief appearances of Skeet Ulrich who to this date remains the greatest villain this franchise has ever seen, and will forever be one of the most iconic ones in the entire slasher sub genre. It takes awhile for us to get back to our original cast, which is fair this is a new generation with a new story- but when Olpin & Gillett have our originals on the screen, sparks fly and it feels just like yesterday we received Scream 4 and had Dewey, Gale, and Sidney on our screens. It’s such a natural bond, and chemistry between those three that nothing will ever really come close to comparing to it.

The new cast is really great as well, Jenna Ortega is a star in the making- and the intro scene might just be one of the most iconic in the franchise, a large part being to her star presence where you can just tell that she has that “it” factor to be someone truly special in so many projects. Jack Quaid is as charming as he could ever be, his characters back and forths with the rest we’re hilarious- and he really gets the time to shine and be as charming as I’ve ever seen. While Jasmin Savoy Brown is my standout of the entire thing, every moment she is on the screen you’re captivated by her. The way that she with such ease captures Randy Meeks‘ spirit to explain the rules of surviving a horror film had me in awe. It felt truly as if she was related to Randy himself, the way she could utter on about horror movies- and the cool presence that came with her references. It was some of the best acting of the film. Though no one stands out more than Neve Campbell, after all no matter what generation we’re in, these are Sidney Prescott’s films and no one has and no one ever will capture the screen the way Sidney does. Its something special every-time we get Campbell back in Woodsboro, and that magic really is something to behold the moment she picks up a cell phone once again the same way she has in 96, 97, 2000, and 2011- to hear that iconic voice say “Hello Sidney” one is captured in pure euphoria because of the back and forth we know we’re about to be a part of.

Scream (2022) is something truly special, and it does something extremely special in the way it honours the legacy of its creator, the always phenomenal Wes Craven. This movie is something that Wes would 1000% be proud of, and it brings the audience the joy that was captured that very first time we saw Drew Barrymore in the kitchen in 1996. The kills are bloody and brutal, the stakes are higher than ever, the emotional weight of it is heavier than before and while I’m juggling here to not say too much and risk spoiling it all- I beg all of you out there if you love the slasher genre, and especially if you love the films that Wes Craven blessed us with- then please make your way to a theatre if you feel safe to do so. This film will very likely not disappoint because the magic of the originals is captured yet again, but a new generation has definitely set out to carve their own story in the infamous Woodsboro town.


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