It’s been 25 years since the original Scream came out. Wes Craven made an entertaining horror film that was in itself a parody of horror films. Every movie finds a way to retell the rules of horror movies, their sequels and trilogies. The latest installment is considered the “Requel”. Not a reboot that discards the original continuity, but a “Requel” that’s part reboot and part sequel. It pulls in the original cast as supporting characters, but introduces a brand new cast of main protagonists who can continue the story in additional sequels. In this case, the new “blood” are the children of some surviving characters from the original trilogy.
The film begins with the familiar phone call to a young girl who is home alone. The ensuing attack puts Tara (Jenna Ortega) in the hospital and prompts a visit from her estranged sister Sam (Melissa Barrera), who we learn has a family relationship with one of the original killers, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). Sam is accompanied by her boyfriend, Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid). Tara is joined by her close-knit group of friends, Wes Hicks (Dylan Minnette), Amber Freeman (Mikey Madison), Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding and Jasmine Savoy Brown), and Liv McKenzie (Sonia Ammar), most of whom are partially related way to the characters in the first two films. As the story progresses and more and more bodies fall, scream experts Dewey Riley (David Arquett), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and the franchise’s original “last girl,” Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), join the cast. While the new characters are just trying to survive, as the story progresses, Sidney and Gale realize that the only way to be truly free is to kill whoever has taken on the “ghostface” cloak. In keeping with the “rules” of a Stab movie, the killer is obviously someone in their group, and the many twists and turns will keep you guessing until the end.
As a fan of the first trilogy (I honestly don’t remember the fourth film, so I’m not counting that one) it’s fun to see the characters again. But it makes me feel a bit old. I remember watching the originals in the cinema as an adult and now I observe what these characters are supposed to be, that children are faced with the same situations as their parents. the Scream Franchise was always meant to be a commentary and parody of sorts on the horror film industry and was originally directed by one of the horror legends, the late Wes Craven. The plot, commentary, and humor haven’t really changed much over the years, including the latest installment. What has changed over the years is the industry itself. There is a surge in what they call “elevated horror,” which refers to the film’s attempt to induce emotional excitement rather than induce terror and bleed . movies like Hereditary, Midsommar, Get Out, Us and The Babadook, are all examples of this subgenre. The discussion and commentary on the different types of horror movies is very interesting, especially if you’ve lived long enough to see the trend and development. In fact, a film franchise that changes from the original format is a real plot device in the newest Scream and plays with the killer’s motivation. Do filmmakers have a responsibility to the general fandom? Or can they switch topics, formats or subgenres as they please? It’s a complicated question with no simple answer.
In summary, the film stayed consistent with its predecessors and was a fun crime horror film (my favorite genre). The performances were all strong and I particularly liked David Arquette’s evolution of Dewey, his performance was a bit more subtle which I really liked. The plot flowed well and the dialogue was well written, with some hilarious quips between the characters. The biggest change for me in the film was how brutal the murders seem to be. Not that much blood, although there’s more of it, just the fast, aggressive stabbings and I have to say I’m not a fan!