Film Review – Scream (2022)

Scream (MA)

Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Starring: Melissa Barrera, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

When horror master Wes Craven died in 2015 after 2011’s Scream 4, all hopes of another film in the popular, genre defining series went with him.

The series was one of very few examples of all key cast and crew participating in every entry, and each being of a high quality (okay, part 3 is debateable).

To continue without him seemed unimaginable.

But with the rights no longer owned by the studio run by those micromanaging executive producers (we won’t name them here), the opportunity has arisen for the torch to be passed to a team of fresh blood.

A risky move yes, but as the final product Scream (2022) has finally proven, one worth taking.

When someone in a Ghostface mask begins attacking the residents of Woodsboro 25 years after the original slayings, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) is drawn back to her hometown, a place she bolted from five years ago to escape her troubled past.

This may be uncharted territory for her and the new crew of potential victims/killers her age, but there is a trio of experts who may be able to help: Dewey (David Arquette), Gale (Courteney Cox) and Sidney (Neve Campbell), who have all since moved on with their lives after their encounter with the last knife-happy fiends.

Making the fifth in a series fresh and relevant would have been a challenge even for Craven, had he lived to have the chance to make it.

Fortunately for this series, it has become necessary to take extended breaks between visits so that the genre and society has had a chance to evolve and for fresh observations to be made.

Scriptwriters James Vanderbilt and Guy Bisick have clearly kept their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and they have something to say about it and their claws are sharp.

To their credit, Vanderbilt and Bisick, along with directing team Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, have respectfully recreated and honoured the series, keeping the tone and flavour pitch perfect with just the right amount of nostalgia.

And they do it so astonishingly effortlessly, too. It feels like these guys have been on board since day dot of the franchise and that it is as much in their bones as it was Craven’s.

They work within the confines of the series’ structure beautifully, giving us a splendid mix of the familiar with the inventive, making their own mark with some tweaks on what is expected of the formula.

Could they have taken a bigger risk and smashed the mould? Sure, but do they deliver within the Scream blueprint? You bet!

Scream 2022 is not without its minor quibbles – the new batch of blood seem particularly less defined than previous instalments, a side effect from fleshing out the new lead character. Sam is given the appropriate modern amount of psychological trauma to wade through and grapple with as the body count rises.

There is plenty of inner turmoil and tears here.

But most importantly, the nail biting suspense and savage, eye-covering kills have made a triumphant return. Not since poor Drew Barrymore was gutted and strung up on a tree swing have we been impacted by such a shocking death.

This has the carnage candy that part 2 promised but failed to deliver on.

Just like the first one, Scream 5 is a wicked roller-coaster ride of thrills and giggles – with the added bonus of some tear jerking moments. Now that’s new for the Scream series!

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