A pleasing ode towards all four predecessors and Wes Craven himself, Scream is bound to impress the majority of its audience with witty one-liners, gory kills and a whole lot of nostalgia.
Written by Becca Johnson
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, the team that gave us Ready Or Not (2019), the long anticipated Scream sequel hit cinemas this weekend. Taking place 25 years after the original, a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and targets a group of teenagers; once again, it's up to the teens to figure out why they're the target, whose next and most importantly, who is hiding under the mask.
Scream not only has nearly a whole new cast of characters but is the first entry not directed by Craven due to his death in 2015, so fans have been understandingly nervous during the lead up to release day. However, the movie thankfully excelled in both areas. The new young cast are absolutely fantastic, with a special shout-out to Jenna Ortega (You) who plays Tara Carpenter, Ghostface's first victim. They clearly understood their characters and the previous material, enabling them to demonstrate perfect line delivery, genuine terror and a thirst to work out the mystery. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillet seem to be the perfect directors to bring the franchise back; they proved themselves with Ready or Not, and they have done so once again.
For many, Scream is a nostalgia trip, and it's undeniably fun to see our beloved Sidney Prescott, Dewey Riley and Gale Weathers back on our screens again. Their character arcs feel accurate compared to the previous four movies, and though its our new teens that get to run the show, the originals get a great amount of screen-time and development. Gale and Dewey have split up since we saw them back in 2011, adding heightened emotion when they reconnect after Ghostface emerges once more. Sidney has made her own life elsewhere and has children, yet this doesn't stop her dedication to helping the teens and keeping them safe. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette act well, reprising their roles beautifully.
The trait that makes the Scream franchise so beloved is its meta and self-aware script, which the new instalment strongly and cleverly carries through. It is full to the brim with horror trivia and movie references, not just to the horror genre but film in general. Fans with a keen ear and eye will spot references to The Last Jedi, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood... and more, as well as plenty of nods to the original four movies and easter eggs that audiences shouldn't dare miss.
The humour mostly hits, not just within the script but within the cinematography and music that are hilariously used to build and diffuse tension. Every scene is thought out and composed well, fitting perfectly into the franchise as a whole. As witty as it is, Scream is first and foremost a gory slasher, and it delivers in this aspect. The kill count is fairly high, each kill as unique and gory as the last, and there's bucket loads of blood and kick-ass action. The jump scares that occur genuinely work well, especially when the movie is viewed on the big screen, and Ghostface is as menacing as ever.
The only element that prevented a full score is the reveal – unfortunately, it's the most predictable so far and can be easily guessed within the first couple of acts. This is a shame as the movie rides on its mystery aspect, which gets a little lost this time around. The teenagers constantly put the blame on each other and its fun to put the pieces together with them, but the true killer is emitted from a large portion of the run-time, making it pretty obvious who is behind it all. It doesn't fully take away from the fun, but it does slightly disappoint.
Seeing most of the fanbase coming away from Scream with a huge smile on their faces and claiming Wes Craven would be proud of the movie is fantastic to witness. It's superbly acted, full of fear factor and is cleverly written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. It's amazing to have the original characters back on our screens again, and no element from the previous four movies has been lost. Unfortunately it has high predictability and the killer may be more obvious than previous instalments, but this doesn't take away from how well made this sequel is. Luckily, even after the 2022s addition, Scream is still one of the greatest horror franchises of all time.