We live in a horror era where the classic slasher is being rebooted and timelines are being erased (seriously, Halloween‘s timeline is all sorts of messed up), but Scream provides us with a continuation of the franchise, even if it’s titled Scream and not 5cream.
My excitement was piqued when I first found out that there was going to be a new movie following Wes Craven’s iconic meta franchise, and that excitement grew when I learned that Neve Campbell would be returning as the OG badass Sidney Prescott.
There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with a new slasher these days. Take Halloween, for example. While the new films in the franchise seem to be doing relatively well, there tends to be some criticism on how convoluted the timeline is — I know having to explain the series to friends of mine turns out to be a difficult feat, and usually ends up with me pulling out a diagram from the internet or making my own.
Scream doesn’t do that. It directly follows the continuity of the other films in the franchise and even brings in some great cameos from the original, 3 and 4 (everyone pretty much died in 2, so there’s that).
The new instalment in the franchise returns to the not-so-quiet town of Woodsboro as another series of killings shakes the residents. 25 years after the original killings and 10 years after the iconic Jill Roberts murdered all of her friends in an attempt at a remake, a new killer has donned the iconic Ghostface mask.
With the start of the screening showing a Ghostface demanding for there to not be any spoilers, I won’t give too much away, and simply give my as-best-as-I-can spoiler-free review of the film.
Providing meta-commentary on a genre you’re a part of is always a risk, especially when previous instalments may have fallen into the tropes you have made fun of before, but Scream manages to toe the line between being funny on the meta level and being too smug about the content it provides, which is what the last two films sort of seem to do.
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The film isn’t afraid to mock its own existence along with the genre as a whole, making jabs at elevated horror in comparison to a classic slasher.
James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick’s witty script not only jokes about the “requels”, but also provides insightful commentary about fandom culture in a way that turns the lens back onto the the audience cleverly.
The film is not perfect, but it is a wonderful homage to Wes Craven and is maybe the sequel that leans into the tone of his original film most.
Scream also subverts a lot of expectations, and as someone who has watched all four films many, many times, I still wasn’t expecting a lot of twists and turns the movies provided. I was pleasantly surprised.
Scream is a great love letter to Wes Craven and its audiences, and is a wonderful sequel to a long-loved franchise. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
Scream is now out in cinemas.