The famous horror franchise Scream is back with a new entry in 2022, though it lacks new ideas and isn’t very scary.
Twenty-five years after the horrific Woodsboro murders, a new Ghostface serial killer emerges, terrorizing a group of teens with ties to the past killings. The teens, alongside past movie regulars, must uncover the killer’s identity before it’s too late.
The original Scream (1996) was one of the earliest films to do meta-horror successfully and found phenomenal success. Original director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson incorporated talk about horror movies within the horror movie itself while adding a clever whodunnit mystery aspect, keeping audiences guessing the whole way through. All this on top of it being a brutal fright-fest.
A few sequels later, we arrive at 2022 with a franchise reboot that essentially follows the same path as the original. The same teen-group mystery whodunnit trope is there, while the story references past events and several characters from past films naturally make an appearance. The meta aspect is also back. This time, the events of past films, the fictional horror film series based on those events, and every familiar horror cliché found in real-world horror movies and fake world horror movies are heavily referenced in an attempt to be clever.
Some of it works, but ultimately, it takes the essence out of what Scream needs to be – scary. This is a slasher horror film at its core, and its job should be to terrify the audience. Most slasher’s use cheap jump scares to frighten their audience, and when executed well, it’s celebrated. Scream fails to deliver any jump scares or suspense, relying on its quirky meta themes to draw viewers into the story. Thankfully, the violence is at least brutal. Sadly, there’s hardly any emotional connection to these (new) characters to care.
The franchise’s returning characters, played by Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, are a welcome and mandatory addition to the film but ultimately only serve a nostalgic purpose and introduce the franchise’s future stars, which do show promise in carrying the series forward.
While Scream’s heyday is far behind it, the 2022 reboot delivers just enough to make it a moderately entertaining watch for horror movie fans. These days, that’s simply not enough to make it memorable, though.
This is the first Scream movie not directed by Wes Craven, who passed away in August of 2015 from cancer. The film is dedicated to him and one of the characters is named “Wes”.