Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past.

How well do we really know anyone? Actions are one thing, texts and posts are another, but you can never truly know what is going on in someone’s mind. The old cat lady down the street may seem like a sweet and gentle soul as she rocks back and forth in her chair. Little do you know, she could be planning to drug the cookies that she intends to bring to the next get-together so she can chop off the big toe of her victims. All in order to feed her toe-hungry felines. Be careful who you invite to the bbq because that unassuming burger could contain the remains of someone’s lover. That actually happened, the neighbors unknowingly ate someone, Google it. Moreover, you just never know about anyone. Now, I tend to believe that most people are decent and want to be decent, but we all have dark thoughts that we never act on. Every once in a while though, something inside a person snaps. So, just when you think, “it could never be (insert name), they could never do anything like that.” Like the tag line of the film says, “It’s always someone you know”.

“There’s just something different about this one”

Are you pumped? I was pumped. Shit, I still am. In this requel (it’s explained in the film) of arguably the best slasher franchise in the genre, the 90s meets now in a violently-meta bloodbath. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, Scream stabbed me in the nostalgia and now I bleed the blood of joy. Beginning with an updated version of an iconic scene, the film is like experiencing a multiverse reality and it only gets better. If compared to some of the sequels, in this one the stakes are higher, Ghostface is smarter and more deranged, and absolutely no one is safe.

Simply having a gun won’t save you this time around. Everyone will feel the cold steel of the infamous knife in some capacity. Oh, and those rules to surviving a horror film, they mean nothing when the Ghostface knows them as well. With new characters as well as legacy ones, it’s a fun clash of different generations with plenty of nods to the past that mesh perfectly with the present – contemporarily nostalgic.

This film knows itself inside and out as well as how we feel the franchise and tells us as much. The writers have noted every gripe, complaint, and theory available online and were able to forge a script that delivers a thrilling story that is simultaneously new and exciting but also old and faithful. It also breaks the fourth wall and not only contemplates and pokes fun at itself but brings up the toxicity of fandoms. This January jugular jabber pays homage to other fan-favorite films in the genre along with other horror greats. But if you thought that Woodsboro teens were the only victims of the pale-faced impaler, you’d be wrong. The film comes for elevated horror films and takes more than one swipe at them. There’s no overthinking when it comes to Scream’s plot, it’s exactly what it wants to be, a stab-happy whodunit that elicits laughs, eye-covering, and lots of “oh shit” moments. The death-o-plenty date night must-see is fun, it’s gory, and as a fan, it’s what you need.

Fans of the original will love it and first-timers will feel obliged to take a deep dive into the other four films. This film is a love letter to the fans but more importantly to Wes Craven. I enjoyed the reveal, the why, and every surprise it had to offer. Whatever I disliked about the film isn’t enough to make any part of it a full negative. I had a great time with Scream and I’m positive we’ll all be discussing it for the next few weeks. Its rewatchability is high.

Jenna Ortega (“Tara”) stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”
L-r, Dylan Minnette (“Wes”), Jack Quaid (“Richie”), Melissa Barrera (“Sam”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

Pacing & Pop

The pacing of the film is fantastic. It’s not quite the same as the original from which it came, but it’s pretty damn close. It begins with a stab and ends with a bang. What popped for me was everything honestly, it’s such a good and thrilling time. However, if I have to be specific, I’d probably say the way the film tells us about itself and the franchise by way of our years of gripes as they indirectly break the fourth wall. The kills were excellently done as well.

Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), left, and Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”
Melissa Barrera (“Sam”) stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

Characters & Chemistry

Starring: Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.

While I did enjoy this ensemble cast of new and old, there isn’t any particular performance that will blow you away. However, one that stood out for her hilarity was Jasmin Savoy Brown as the morbid know-it-all, Mindy. She very quickly reminds you of someone from the past and you later find out why. It may not have been the strongest outing for Melissa Barrera as Sam, but it’s not entirely her fault. With a certain mental quirk that haunts her, there’s a multitude of dark routes they could’ve traversed but maybe we’ll see it evolve in a sequel. However, I think she will be very badass in the future. It’s always great to see our beloved trio of Sidney (Neve Campbell), Gale (Courteney Cox), and Dewey (David Arquette), and it’s great that they are actually in the film longer than a few minutes, they’re actually very pivotal. The portrayal of Ghostface is on par with the original but maybe a bit more intelligent. Ghostface is more ruthless this time around and arguably more unhinged. 

Scream opens in theaters on January 14, 2022, and will be available on Paramount+ 45 days after its theatrical release. Stay safe and enjoy.

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett

Writers: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick, Kevin Williamson

Producers: William Sherak, p.g.a. James Vanderbilt, p.g.a. Paul Neinstein, p.g.a.

Executive Producers: Kevin Williamson, Chad Villella, Gary Barber, Peter Oillataguerre, Ron Lynch, Cathy Konrad, Marianne Maddalena

Rated: R

Runtime: 2h

Rating: 4 out of 5

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