I’ve never really been a horror fan, why would I actively enjoy being scared?
But when a friend asked me to watch the new Scream movie, I went along with it. Now I have never actually seen any of the previous Scream movies or the wacky spinoffs like Scary Movie, so I wasn’t necessarily sure what to expect.
Now I could go on and rant about how slasher flicks aren’t as popular as they used to be in the 80s and 90s. Audiences today prefer a sociological horror that makes them think and has an actual story, I.e., Us or Get Out.
Scream just feels like it missed that memo, and from what I’ve been told about the franchise, it seems Scream doesn’t really change all that much.
This new movie, simply titled Scream, is what the Chucky series was for horror fans. Reoccurring characters that were in past movies, the same killing techniques and mantra; the only thing that was different was the cast.
The story just falls apart the longer you think about it, and don’t get me wrong, I didn’t walk into this movie thinking I would get anything other than screams and blood...but there could have been a little more effort.
The plot boils down to hardcore fans wanting to make the in-universe Scream movies, called ‘Stab’, better. However, the only way to do this is to recreate the first one as nothing is better than the original. So instead of becoming someone who works in the media, they kill people who are linked to anyone that was involved in the original event that led to the ‘Stab’ movies being made.
Sometimes it can be a little confusing in whether characters are referring to events in the fictional movie or the events that happened in ‘real life’. They also use the failure of the past movies as a way to make this one better, now usually this is a great thing and more failing franchises should strive to do this.
But Scream doesn’t pull it off.
Instead of taking the criticism and applying it to the movie, they have the killers vocalise their disappointment with the ‘Stab’ franchise, and it’s gotten to the point where the fans have to fix it. They don’t take into account the faults actual fans of the Scream franchise have but instead turn their complaints into two characters whose whole personality is that they hate what the franchise has become.
I can’t tell if they’re trying to be cool to relate to the fans and be in on the jokes or are actually making fun of them.
The story just falls apart with a closer inspection, many scenes were predictable and to an extent, so were the identities of the killers. The grand reveal at the end felt like a waste of time when you’ve already labelled the characters as killers in the first ten minutes of the movie.
There is a scene in this movie where a ‘legacy character’ is explaining the three rules of a ‘Stab’ movie, which is constantly hammered down on during the entire two hours of this film. But this legacy character literally says who they think the killer is and what do you know? They’re right.
There are many moments in this movie where characters gang up on each other, each blaming the other for being the murderer. This combinates in such a disastrous scene in a basement where two characters are threatening each other by saying they’re the killer, except one of them is joking. But the character not joking? It’s very, very clear they’re not playing along.
And quickly going back to how predictable scenes were, any scenario where Ghostface is present was not scary in the slightest. You knew he was going to show up and even where he would pop out from, with a killer on the lose you want to be surprised where they’ll show up. Here? I guessed an entire scene just from simple music cues and camera shots.
Moving onto the characters, which shouldn’t take long considering how little development each of them had. Starting with who I think gave the best performance in this movie, Jenna Ortega, who played Tara Carpenter. Her character went through the biggest struggle in this movie, from being the first to be attacked to murdering the killer at the end, this girl went through it.
Compared to her emotionless sister, Jenna poured her heart into the role, and it shows. Comparing scenes of Tara crying to scenes of her older sister, Sam, is night and day in my eyes.
‘Legacy Characters’ as the movie likes to call them return for fan-service more than anything else, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell and David Arquette all return as their famous characters. They don’t really serve any purpose in the movie’s lacking plot, two out of the three don’t even show up until a third into the movie.
The characters just felt like they were there to put some names on the poster and bring in fans or just a person who remembers watching the original Scream movie. If I were to compare it to another movie it would be Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the legacy characters, in this case the three original Ghostbusters, don’t show up until the ending fight in the last twenty minutes of the movie.
Similar to Scream, they don’t really serve much purpose to the overall plot and were definitely there to sell some tickets to fans who had lost faith in the franchise. However, unlike Scream, Afterlife uses these legacy characters in a way that furthers the story and adds onto existing lore and develops it further.
What does Scream do? It has the characters fight the killers and fail because they didn’t adapt to the new killers' style. And unlike Ghostbusters, you didn’t get the feeling like the characters needed to be there in the first place. I just felt like there was a better way to reintroduce these characters without having to shoehorn them into a story that doesn’t really matter.
The side characters don’t offer anything good either, with only two of them dying and with multiple fake out deaths, you tend to not care what happens to them. They’re also quite unlikeable characters, the only one I did end up liking more than the others dies thirty minutes into the movie and their death isn’t really relevant to their friends.
I do want to praise one thing about this movie, the score. Even though Ghostface’s scenes aren’t scary, the music does help to elevate the tension. It does a great job at having this slow fading sound when entering the scene and then this sudden stop moments before a jumpscare occurs.
I want to say so much more about this movie, but the more I think of it the more plot-holes I find. This movie wasn’t necessarily bad, just sort of...meh.
I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it. It has many references to the previous films' fans will enjoy, certain shots of the movie were creative, and I wasn’t expecting that.
I wish it was scarier, the only scare coming from the Samsung default alarm that I get school flashbacks from.
Scream (2022) gets 2 Ghostface masks out of 5.
Scream (2022) is available in cinemas.