Franchises that kicked off in the 70s and the 80s introduced some really kick-ass characters. This led to the demand for remakes. As is the case with remakes, the makers eventually ran out of steam. What’s next? A reboot? How can they just do that? Of course, they can’t. So the next possibility is a ‘requel’. This combination of words serves the purpose of a reboot and a sequel. Cinephiles will have seen it with The Karate Kid (Cobra Kai), Terminator, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and many more.
Now, they have gotten it with Wes Craven’s franchise in its first foray into the post-Craven era. Akin to Craven’s prequels, Scream (2022) questioned conventional horror/slasher logic that fans always whisper to each on-screen character.
What essentially should be Scream 5, hit cinemas as Scream. In many ways, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s film served as a throwback to the original with the first murder, with the Q&A, and the question. You know what that question was, right? This broke a rule right at the start and set about a motion of events that saw murders, returns, a sense of déjà vu, and a quite noticeable retcon that forgot the events of Scream 3.
As would be expected from a film in this franchise, Scream (2022) referenced several scary films. These included the likes of Friday the Thirteenth, Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, The Babadook, and even the previous Scream films in terms of elements, scenes, locations (a word of praise to set decorator Helen Britten and Production designer Chad Keith), and characters.
The sight of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette was welcoming. Sans these three, fans may have seen Scream (2022) as a Ghostface rip-off. I loved the fact that the writers wove this into the on-screen events with fandoms and hardcore fans of the original coming into play.
It may be very shocking to accept how the main trio looks in this film. However, aging is a natural process and has equipped them with horror movie rules that, for them, are real-life survival skills.
Although they were present, the trio didn’t pop up for the first thirty minutes. The poster girl, Neve Campbell, was more of an afterthought in the first two acts. Her late entry ensured that the newbies, primarily Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) remained the prime focus along with the newer generation.
It was good to see this, as Scream (2022) could have easily been used with only the main trio to delight audiences. However, they took time to build up the new generation to try to pass on the keys. The characters that did make it through can continue to make appearances, but having gone full circle, this should be it for them. Did one of them not make it through? Did someone fall victim to the rule of a remake having no rules?
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Or maybe, they could go the Star Wars way and have one film serve as a swansong for each lead? That would fit in with the critique of film rules, with the rules being bent in every possible way with each passing installment. Given the direction they opted to take in Scream (2022), it may be tough. Why? How many past characters will conveniently have children around?
In terms of storytelling, I totally get the fact that a return to where it all began made absolute sense. But why did so many characters have to be related to members of the original? Billy Loomis’ daughter, Martha Meeks’ children, and Stu Macher’s nephew? What a coincidence, right? Akin to Cobra Kai, the offspring of most main characters seem to be born in the same year as well.
Ghostface’s motives left a lot to be desired, even though the psychotic nature of fandoms was observed and critiqued. It moved movie fans’ obsessions from the cassette stores to the internet.
Let’s hope that any future installments, should they arise, have no rehashes of this, as the four prequels had a Ghostface with a personal vendetta. Some fans may be able to buy the online connection between twisted individuals, but it will get repetitive.
Scenes in the film were manufactured as it was bizarre to know that an entire public place mysteriously appeared deserted. While law enforcement could be away, how can anyone digest the fact (and how could the characters not question this in the film) that employees and civilians were also absent? That is the usual expected fare in horror slasher movies, and the presentation advanced with the times.
Scream (2022) made use of the advancements in make-up and effects. It lived up to its critique of movies veering too much and solved the same. This film was the closest to the first film, i.e. a slasher thriller whodunit made for the fans of the original.
The scenes are gory (they really are) with the director duo, not shying away from letting steel cut through flesh with steel emerging from the other side of the neck and palm. It was sickening to see certain things. However, they had to do it for one character, as audiences may have called him the boogeyman. This is because no matter the damage, he just kept making it through.
As fans expect the jump scare from Scream, the directors played upon the concept of Ghostface having the ability to seemingly teleport himself. This had everyone on the edge of their seats when someone turned or blocked the fourth wall’s individuals’ view of the entire scene.
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I liked the way they timed it with the double attack around the 45-minute mark. The directors kept playing with the audience as they teased a Ghostface pop-up, only to let expectations drop. They built up the suspense again and let it drop once more. As audiences got tired, the killer popped up in a delayed manner and caught everyone by surprise.
However, that was not always the case as victim two ran into it. Of course, that was the luxury that the ‘re’ of ‘requel’ allowed them to explore.
With the ‘quel’ aspect, they explored the pros and cons of having experience. By the time the latter came up, I understood the path of the film and could predict what was next.
Hollywood has trouble with original ideas. Revisiting the originals in an era where frames are broken down and theories comprise articles can take away any effort to let future installments thrive on their own. They will be talked about. But being similar courtesy of minor twists gets appreciated more than fresh takes for the sake of a studio cash grab.
Watching the 1996 film is always recommended. However, this isn’t the worst film in the franchise that would draw anyone to urge a cinephile to watch the 25-year-old film.
Scream (2022) is a film that is not for the queasy. However, it is for the ones who want the sequels to emulate the originals.
Stream it on Paramount Plus.