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SCREAM (2022)

To those of us who has been craving yet another clever continuation of the Craven-classic from the 90s we now have a fifth film in the franchise, which might be non-differentiable to the original in more ways that just its time-and-age-appropriate title, ‘Scream’…

Also, since Wes is no longer with us, this is the first film in the self-aware serial-killer-series without its creator. Another MIH (missing in horror) person is writer, Kevin Williamson, who did not return to refuel this requel into the next decade. So, herein lies a million-dollar question whether the new directing-duo is ready or not to rekindle the long-faced killer without leaving its long-time fans with equally long faces.

This slasher sequel slash requel slash reboot starts off as any other ‘Scream’ movie, though with a few modernized updates. And in general, that is very much the formular for the rest of the film as well, which honestly is no surprise nor necessarily a setback. I completely expected to just lay back in the cinema seats to watch a meta-horror not outright backtrack or backstab its own legacy, but certainly jab at or point to its own popularized pop-culture meta-verse. And so it does. In mostly satisfying ways.

Maybe the fifth film’s fourth wall breaks aren’t even a third of the way fun as the second or first film in the series, but I’m surprised to say that it still works… One could say that the franchise will always be able to stay semi-fresh and relevant because of its constant commentary on the current state of horror movies and studio strategies – but even so, it is still the exact same bag of tricks. But by now you know exactly how the tricks are treating you and you either ride high on the sweet sugary rush of on-the-nose nostalgia and murderous mono-mysteries, or you roll your eyes at the knock-knocking references standing in line outside the door, constantly trying to charade itself in yet another obvious getup.

‘Scream’ does get a tad silly, but it is still a requel that never ends in complete ridicule. While the finale doesn’t quite stick the landing, the film as a whole doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb either. It sits proudly and persistently as part of the franchise – at least according to itself – and it doesn’t tarnish a legacy though its legacy characters aren’t utilized as well as they should have been. The acting can be a mixed bag too and not everything works here, but I’m surprised by the decent pace and established set pieces, though neither of those elements pierces as deeply or delicately as that of Wes Craven.

‘Scream’ anno 2022 fits the bill of the franchise and will make the money needed to tell the studio that people scream for more. But with that said, I do hope they shake up and stake up things before it stalls completely, so it doesn’t end up freeze-framing itself inside its own legacy framework and becomes a fading and forgettable Wes side story…