What's your favourite scary sequel?

Scream is back and Ghostface is wasting no time in terrorising the new generation of Woodsboro

Michael Duckworth
22nd February 2022
Image credit: IMDB

*Mild spoilers ahead! *

After a painfully long 11-year hiatus Scream is back on the silver screen with a brand new Ghostface hacking and slashing his way into our hearts.

25 years after the original mystery slasher changed the horror genre forever, director duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (who previously worked together on the surprisingly good Ready or Not (2019) and the spine-chilling V/H/S (2012)) have taken up the gauntlet from horror legend Wes Craven to create a Scream for the contemporary moment.

The generic trope that finds itself the focus of this satire is the recent trend of “requels” or reboot sequels. A requel is a resurrection of a classic movie franchise that continues in the same universe as its predecessors (and usually features legacy characters) while introducing a host of brand new characters that can move the series on. In theory, these requels appease older fans with nostalgia bait while drawing in new fans with younger, hipper cast members. Of course, this rarely if ever goes to plan, a few succeed (Halloween (2018) and the new Star Wars Trilogy for example) but a host of horror requels flop and were hated by new and old fans alike for being cheap cash grabs (Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), The Grudge (2020) and Spiral (2021) to name just a few).

Image credit: IMDB

But I’m happy to say that Scream (2022) succeeds in not only rebooting the franchise but also trashing itself and its fellow reboots in hilarious fashion. No requel trope goes unpunished in this latest instalment, from the trend of dropping the number at the end of the title (just Scream rather than Scream 5) to calling out how even legacy characters are fair game to the movie's killers. Scream (2022) also takes a stab at artsy or “deep” horror like The Babadook or Jordan Peele’s series of politically charged horror films. Multiple characters praise these films while saying that slasher films are just mindless violence, these lines just drip with a beautiful irony.   

The movie opens on a familiar scene, a teenage girl is home alone in her kitchen feeling safe and comfortable when the landline phone rings and startles her, she goes over the phone, the music starts to rise, she reaches out her hand and... hangs up. This first gag sets up everything you need to know about Scream (2022). A call back to the original (if not a direct rip off) with a painfully accurate Gen Z twist. In true Scream fashion, each of the plucky high schoolers who find themselves at the mercy of Ghostface uses their meta slasher flick knowledge alongside the dry nihilism of Gen Z to avoid the pointy end of the killer's knife. The build-up of suspense is genius, the film anticipates an audience clued up on horror tropes and uses them to its advantage, a host of misdirections and fakeouts make the real scares even more effective. 

Once again, a generation of horror fans will be reminded to never go into a dark basement alone and under no circumstances should they say “I’ll be right back” on pain of death.

Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette all return to reprise their roles as Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, Dewey Riley respectively and deliver a fantastic return to these beloved characters that make for incredible fan service to fans of the original. Unfortunately, these killer performances create an impossible hurdle for the new cast the overcome. Sisters Tara and Sam (Jenna Ortega and Melissa Berrera) do an amazing job at taking the mantle from Sidney as final girls yet fall short of the level set by her original performance. My personal favourite of the new cast is Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin who plays the “expert” character trope to a tee, solving the killer's motive and giving witty meta-commentary and exposition on the spooky goings-on in Woodsboro. 

 Rebooting a beloved franchise is not an easy feat, but Scream excelled in delivering a sequel that would make Wes Craven proud. A thrilling mystery with a dramatic and bloody conclusion guaranteed to leave you stunned, and build up tense enough to have you fruitlessly yelling at the screen: “TURN AROUND, HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU!”  Once again, a generation of horror fans will be reminded to never go into a dark basement alone and under no circumstances should they say “I’ll be right back” on pain of death. This, in my book, makes this the best entry in the Scream franchise since the original, we can only hope that the recently greenlit Scream 6 lives up to this renewed standard. 

Video credit: Paramount Pictures
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