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Film Review

SCREAM (2022) Review

“Bold, funny and wildly entertaining” says Jed Wagman in his debut review for GYCO covering Paramount Pictures’ SCREAM.

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Scream (Paramount Pictures)

Paramount Pictures presents Scream in UK cinemas from Friday, January 14, 2022.

Synopsis

Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past. Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.

Review

Scream is quite possibly the only franchise that can call it’s fifth instalment the exact same name as the original film and get away with this. It’s not called ‘Scream 5’ or ‘5CREAM’ as many fans had hoped, but instead, they’ve opted for the tongue-in-cheek Scream in light of other horror franchises doing similar like Halloween and Candyman. Being the incredibly meta franchise that it is, Scream gets away with it.

As Scream 4 taught us in 2011, a new decade brings with it new rules and once again this franchise has proven that the only rule is that there are no rules. Anyone can be killed at any time, and anyone can be the killer. 25 years after the first streak of brutal murders terrified the sleepy town of Woodsboro, someone is back wearing the Ghostface mask and knocking off their new set of victims one by one.

Immediately Scream establishes itself as a bold and fresh take with its opening sequence. The opening sequence is something the franchise is known for and it doesn’t disappoint, giving us blood and gore right from the get-go as Ghostface terrorises Jenna Ortega’s Tara. It shocks, it scares and it entertains with the opening reminding us once again just how bloody brilliant the Scream films are and how much fun they can be.

Tara’s close-knit group of friends all gather after her attack to try and figure out what’s going on including Tara’s estranged sister Sam played by In the Height’s Melissa Barrera along with her boyfriend Richie (The Boys’ Jack Quaid) who journey back to Woodsboro to investigate what’s going on. Among this group of friends is Dylan Minnette’s character named Wes, a fitting tribute to the late Wes Craven, director of the first four Scream films to whom the film is also dedicated to.

Scream cashes in on the murder-mystery aspect of it far more than it ever has in the past. Ghostface isn’t like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees where you always know who it is beneath the mask, and the new film plays with this with every single one of the characters constantly suspecting the others of being Ghostface.

It’s no reboot so it’s not just about the new cast, nor is it a straight up sequel, it’s more of a legacy sequel, or as the film calls itself, ‘a requel’- part reboot, part sequel. As it’s a Scream film, of course they constantly refer to other horror films and franchises, in particular using the fictional Stab franchise and it’s rather divisive eighth instalment directed by a particular well-known director to shed light on the toxicity of fandom these days and it does so in a really fun and clever way. Like with the previous instalments, it’s never meta for meta’s sake. It avoids the criticisms that The Matrix Resurrections received in that the self-awareness feels important to the film’s plot and it actually adds something to it rather than just admitting it’s re-treading the original. It has important things to say about film franchises and the toxicity of fanboys and it does this with its sharp writing and biting humour.

That being said, and as much as it likes to make fun of them, the film still does fall into some of the classic horror movie traps and tropes that brings it down. Characters do still occasionally make stupid decisions leaving you wanting to shout at the screen and it does seem slightly odd that every single person we ever meet in Woodsboro seems to be somehow related to someone else we’ve met before. But largely, as usual, the film cleverly ingratiates the known tropes of the slasher franchise and it makes enough changes to keep horror fans on their toes and completely on the edge of your seat throughout. Ghostface feels menacing and he feels truly terrifying, even more so than usual, with his kills seeming more brutal than ever, including some very shocking kills in broad daylight, once again reminding you that absolutely anything can happen in this franchise.

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett do a great job honouring Craven’s franchise whilst also doing something new. The legacy characters are treated so well and with the utmost respect. They all have such strong emotional beats to their arcs and it feels like they all add so much to the film rather than being there for the sake of bringing back the old cast. As well as all the blood and gore, there’s a lot of heart to the film which is why it’s the most consistent horror franchise of all time. Scream very cleverly mixes old and new, doing so in a way that’s incredibly fun yet also fitting for the original characters. It’s a wildly entertaining film full of laughs and ferocious deaths making for a killer time at the cinema!

Verdict

It’s bold, funny, wildly entertaining and the best Scream film since the original.

⭐⭐⭐⭐


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