By: Amanda Guarragi
To many of us Scream directed by Wes Craven means the world to us. The reason why it does is because it was our first horror movie ever. To be introduced to the slasher genre through Scream is probably the best way to dip your toe into horror. It is the perfect starter film to get anyone into the genre. Not only does the first Scream have great kills and an awesome cast, but it also has a strong story that is self aware of the film they’re making. Using all of the horror tropes, while crafting a slasher in itself is difficult to do and that’s why no one has even come close to what they did in the first instalment. There comes a time where the franchise goes too far in the horror genre and Scream (2022) did not make a requel that does justice to any of the characters.
Without getting into the actual events of the film, the story is about two sisters reuniting after one of them was attacked by a new Ghostface. The younger sister, Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) was attacked in her home as the conventional opening kill, but she survived. Her estranged older sister Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barerra) returns to Woodsboro with some secrets of her own. All of Tara’s friends are connected to the history of Woodsboro in some way and naturally; one of them is the killer. We all know the rules, and so did her friends, but it got a bit too preachy when Dewey Riley (David Arquette) steps in to help them solve the case. The first four instalments were self-aware, but still managed to form an interesting narrative that wasn’t predictable. This fifth instalment took the metafiction writing to a whole other level that made this feel more like Scary Movie than Scream.
In a way this film does go back to the roots of the franchise (quite literally) and doesn’t really add much for the new characters. Trying to form a new cast by linking all of them to a legacy character or one of the friends that went to Woodsboro High is very much a stretch. It’s also lazy writing to go back to something that had already been done in a better way 25 years ago. This story just wasn’t strong enough to push any of these characters forward without the legacy characters going with them for the next two instalments. It’s like this film was more of a tribute to the 1996 version than a film that can restart the franchise with these new characters. The first act seemed promising because they tried something different but then that third act just fell apart as they directly mimicked what happened in 1996.
Scream (2022) was one of my most anticipated movies this year and I left the theatre feeling extremely underwhelmed. I did not connect with anyone other than Tara, and unfortunately, Jenna Ortega is technically not the final girl, Melissa Barerra is. For me, Barerra fell flat and she doesn’t seem like she’s capable of leading a franchise without Ortega by her side. The one takeaway is that co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett brought a modernized look to the franchise, which really worked. The kills were also more brutal than they’ve ever been, which I really appreciated heading into a franchise revamp, since they are competing with other slashers that are amping up the look of the kills. It’s definitely a love letter for Wes and that’s perfectly fine, but what they did with this story just didn’t work for me at all.