‘Scream (2022)’ Is Bloody, Funny, And One Hell Of A Good Time
25 years ago, Wes Craven blessed us with the iconic meta-slasher Scream. It changed the horror landscape and inspired an entire generation of filmmakers. But more than that, it terrified generations of horror lovers. I watched Scream entirely too young and was terrified for weeks. That didn’t stop me from bragging about watching it to my class, which subsequently sent me to the principal’s office. We all have a Scream story. We all remember the first time we watched it. And now, Scream is back to terrify a new generation.
The fifth installment of the series is the first not directed by Master of Horror Wes Craven. This time around, Radio Silence’s Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of Ready Or Not fame have taken up the helm. The announcement was met with cautious optimism but that twinge of doubt was still there. How could anyone follow in Craven’s footsteps? Well, I’m happy to report that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett did it beautifully, creating an homage to a horror classic while making it relevant to the world of 2022 horror fandom.
An Incredible Cast
In the spirit of keeping this a spoiler-free review, I’ll be keeping all plot details to a minimum because, like the original Scream, this should be experienced with practically zero idea of what to expect. The film takes place 25 years after the events of the original and Ghostface is back. Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) returns to Woodsboro after her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) is a victim to the masked killer. Sam and her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) team up with Tara’s friends to try and solve the mystery of Ghostface’s identity. But investigating the latest massacre wouldn’t be possible without the help of some familiar faces: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette).
The key to Scream (2022)‘s success is a killer—pardon the pun—ensemble cast. The group of Woodsboro teens is absolutely incredible. Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding play twins Mindy and Chad Meeks-Martin, the niece and nephew of Randy Meeks. Dylan Minette, with his frosted tip glory, is Wes Hicks, son of Scream 4 veteran Deputy Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton). Sonia Ammar plays Liv, Chad’s girlfriend. And Mikey Madison plays the defensive Amber. Each of them has a personality and feels like people, not horror stereotypes. Barrera leads the charge, with an occasionally stiff performance that makes her a little difficult to connect with. But with the goofy yet charismatic Quaid and the group of teens alongside her, they help uplift her performance.
The original cast members are of course incredible but are never leaned on too hard to support the film. This isn’t their movie and Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett make that clear. Prescott, Cox, and Arquette shine on-screen regardless, never overshadowing the new cast.
One Brutal and Surprising Ride
These performances make the film’s kills all the more brutal. There is no holding back when it comes to gore and killing your darlings. Blood sprays the walls, pools on the floor, and douses every character in crimson. Scream (2022) is all about the gore and surprising kills that break your heart.
Surprising is a great way to describe Scream (2022). It constantly keeps you guessing, dangling carrots in front of you only to yank the carpet out from under you. This is a film that knows everyone is going to try and solve it by the end. So Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett toy with the audience. Plus, the cast is constantly talking about horror tropes and reboot sequels (deemed requels) so you think you know how this is all going to play out. And maybe you will! But probably not.
Sometimes, Scream (2022) does get a little caught up in fan service and trying to prove its worth. It wants to be the original Scream and it’s impressive how much this film is able to do that. But there are moments where it feels like it tries just too hard. Certain plot points deserve more teasing out or to be left out entirely. But they never sour the film, so they’re easily forgivable.
Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett didn’t disappoint with their take on the iconic Scream franchise. They had huge shoes to fill and they knew it. But, they truly understand what makes Scream work as a meta-commentary on the world of horror movies and added their own twist. Supported by an incredible ensemble cast of new and familiar faces, as well as a slew of brutal kills, the directing duo has made something special with Scream (2022). Wes Craven would be proud.
Supported by an incredible ensemble cast of new and familiar faces, as well as a slew of brutal kills, the directing duo has made something special with Scream (2022).