Ok, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty—“Scream” 2022—the newest slasher thriller can’t be called a sequel (“Scream” circa 1996) or a reboot. This new movie stands on its own so bold that it introduces a new word—“requel”—which is explained as a tidy link between the past and the present. The filmmakers cleverly paid homage to the legacy of the first film, and returning to give that extra punch are actors David Arquette, Neve
Campbell, and Courteney Cox.
The original “Scream” came out 26 years ago and it was made for moviegoers who enjoyed their horror sequels. Let’s be honest: fans are obsessed with sequels.
The new movie is also set in the sleepy town of Woodsboro, California, where there is much chatter about a horror franchise that started with “Stab,” a movie based on the Woodsboro massacre, with seven sad, unfilling sequels in the can.
Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), the horror-cinema geek, explains that it’s the first “Stab” that has any cinematic credibility. You guessed it, this film is mocking itself and the fans that keep franchises running. And in the best way, the film does keep you guessing who the killer is, building suspense knowing that the film will stay several steps ahead of our best guess.
Pound for pound, the new “Scream” is solid and keeps the thrill of the first, and it does not rewrite the rules of a successful slasher playbook. And this is all done in a manner that fits this new generation, meaning it owns up to the fact that this is recycled without any shape, and kind of has this condescending air at the same time.
The film directors are Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who cut their teeth creating the anthology horror film “V/H/S.” These filmmakers know how to lure in an audience, starting in act one where Tara (Jenna Ortega), who is home alone like Drew Barrymore in the original “Scream,” keeps getting called by the killer, who wants to play a game about scary movies. Now, this 2022 version of a “victim” is a horror-movie snob and can’t pass the killers’ quiz.
Naturally, the Ghostface killer attacks Tara, but she survives, and we are quickly introduced to a line-up of characters including Tara’s older sister, Sam (Melissa Barrera), a recovering addict who jumped ship years ago after learning who her father was, and now she’s riddled with psychotic flashbacks. Next is her boyfriend, Richie (Jack Quaid), a kind kid; Amber (Mikey Madison), a hell-raiser; and Mindy, an obsessive film-fan gal.
“Scream” isn’t a very scary movie, but it is a very good movie for those who love this genre. There are jolts, shocks, and suspenseful sequences that make it worth the price of a theater ticket.
Plus, the filmmakers used Cox, Arquette, and Campbell beautifully, tossing them into the heart of the action like the pros that they are.