“Scream” draws crowds of franchise fans and “film bros” alike


Image courtesy of IMDb.

Payton McGlory, Former Contributor

As the previous sequels to the late Wes Craven’s 1996 cult-classic film Scream frequently state, movie sequels can almost never live up to the standards of the original. Regardless, the rules seem to be rewritten with the fifth film of the franchise, which provides the perfect blend of nostalgia and modernity to appeal to both diehard fans and new viewers. 

    Scream (2022) features many familiar faces from the previous films, including Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, who reprise their original roles while starring alongside series newcomers such as Disney’s Jenna Ortega and rising star Melissa Barrera. The movie also introduces the relatives of many original Scream characters such as the niece and nephew of the beloved Randy Meeks, as well as the teenage son of quirky Deputy Judy Hicks. 

    The film follows the story of sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter as their town of Woodsboro, California once again becomes the site of a killing spree. They are forced to endure the deaths of many loved ones and are placed in constant danger as they fight for their lives while attempting to unmask the murderer before it is too late. Much like the original, audiences are drawn to the mystery and gore of the movie while holding out hope that the ending provides a reprieve from the fear.

Unsurprisingly, Scream (2022) greatly surpassed other 2022 releases in the box office, making it the most successful film of the year so far. With opening-day earnings of $13.3 million, it soared past other recent pictures such as The 355, which raked in an underwhelming $4.8 million on its own opening day only one week earlier. 

With the three previous sequels providing little more than underwhelming screenplays and predictable plot twists, it could be expected that viewing this movie would also result in similar disappointment. However, audiences flocked to theatres and were met with a film riddled with easter eggs and references that even hardcore Scream fanatics could appreciate. The movie also paid homage to Craven, even featuring a new character of the same first name. This is the first of the series that is not directed by him, as he passed away in 2015 due to a brain tumor. This picture is truly the perfect love letter to the beloved director as it honors his legacy while staying true to his unique style.

 The series seemed to be given a facelift with this film as well, as the decade gap between Scream 4 and Scream (2022) allowed for more believable gore and altogether higher quality production. It was even more well-received, however, that the film provided much-needed nostalgia that was lacking in the previous sequels. It returns to familiar locations such as the house of original killer Stu Macher while also frequently mentioning his partner in crime, Billy Loomis. 

The film was also revamped with a creative screenplay by writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, known for their work on pictures such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Ready or Not. One way they prevented the script from being stale was by appealing to the younger generation of film connoisseurs. They created humorous quips about popular modern horror films as well as what truly makes a movie “good” according to this demographic. The dialogue pokes fun at modern-day “fandoms” and seems to playfully emulate the type of pretentious exchanges one would see on a typical know-it-all teen’s Letterboxd review or Reddit thread.

Although there were many evocative references as well as interesting new additions to be seen within this film, the absence of Ghostface’s characteristic clumsiness is one misstep that was painfully apparent. The almost lovable quirkiness of the iconic killer that is highlighted in the previous films is lost here, making it much scarier than its predecessors. This also prevents the movie from being a true “requel,” a term used ironically in the film to describe a sequel that recreates the events of a previous movie in a series. 

In spite of this, Scream (2022) is a playful combination of 90s horror and modern flare that finally provides viewers with a satisfying sequel to the beloved classic. It is unclear what the future holds for the iconic Scream franchise, but if there is anything to be learned from the first five–they’ll be right back.