Plain, Simple Tom’s thoughts on . . . “Scream” (2022)

The fifth instalment in the popular horror franchise – the first instalment not to have been directed by series mainstay Wes Craven – sees the town of Woodsboro terrorised, once again, by another killer (killers?) donning the Ghostface mask, the main target this time being young Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) so with horrific kills occurring all over the town, the culprit(s) apparently dedicated to making a “requel”, Sam and her friends soon find themselves having to call on “legacy characters” Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) for much needed assistance.

The first Scream film was, indeed, an excellent entry in the horror genre as it gave us a very memorable villain, good characters, and a metetextuality which made it a feature ahead of its time and after that excellent entry, the sequels were decent enough (4 being the best of them, 3 comfortably being the weakest, and the second film placing directly in the middle), though none of them really came close to topping Wes Craven’s original. But now here we are in 2022 with a new sequel/reboot/”requel” to answer the question of “is there still life in the old girl yet?” and, after having viewed this film, I’d say yes, there is. Although I doubt whether there could realistically be any further entries.

Regarding the positives, the film is as well directed as all of its predecessors (I truly believe that directors Matt Bettinelli and Tyler Gillet would have done Wes Craven proud) and it’s impressive that the film is admirably violent and brutal; this fifth instalment is surely the most “extreme” one there’s been so far and the film should be commended for this. Additionally, the film is indeed metetextual (as is the standard for all films in this series) but while other films would stumble, perhaps being all self-referential in an extremely annoying and obvious manner (COUGH-Matrix Resurrections-COUGH), the filmmakers get this part of the feature exactly right and this time, the writers take a big swing at the internet trolls and so-called fans who react violently when “their” films aren’t done in the exact way that they’d want; Scream takes a nice little jab at the horrible people who lashed out against The Last Jedi, in particular, and all in all, the metetextuality and self referential aspects of the film are perfectly presented.

On a technical level, it all meets the “industry standard” as everything looks visually pleasing (it’s better than Scream 4 which appeared to be too “glossy” and which also made use of some kind of “white filter”, if you know what I mean), the music (this time given to us by Brain Tyler rather than franchise regular Marco Beltrami) works well, and the cast all do a fine job – with the young cast admirably doing most of the “heavy lifting” (Jasmin Savoy Brown was, quite possibly, the MVP for me) while veteran actors Campbell, Cox and Arquette mainly appear to act as those “legacy characters”, not being part of it for too long but nonetheless bringing gravitas to proceedings.

A very well directed and admirably violent instalment in the popular horror franchise, 2022’s Scream handles its metetextual components very well and showcases good performances from the young cast, as well as the returning veterans.

★ ★ ★ ★

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