Warning: Mild Scream (2022) spoilers may be ahead…Read the quotes in the final section at your own risk…
In 1996, Scream revitalized the slasher genre. In 2022, Ghostface has slashed up the playbook it all over again.
When the original Scream movie released, a certain young teen, obsessed with stars Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox because of their iconic turns in the TV roles of Julia Salinger and Monica Geller, respectively, braved her way into the horror genre just to see what they had done in this film she kept hearing about. By the time the sequel dropped, just before that teen’s birthday in 1997, she’d seen that first film, to quote Casey Becker’s opening scene from the original Scream, (at least) 20 goddamned times.
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m that girl.
Since originally falling in love with Sidney Prescott, I’ve rewatched every film—every sequel, every moment—every Halloween and countless other random times…whenever it’s on, really…ever since. So, when I heard there was going to be a fifth film in the franchise, even in a post-Wes Craven world, I was hesitant. More like, “don’t fuck with the original,” honestly. But then my snarky icon, Gale Weathers, and the Final Girl, Sidney Prescott, signed on. Or, well, Cox and Campbell did. Same thing.
And suddenly, it was back to being all Ghostface, all the time, for Yours Truly.
If you know me at all, you know I had exactly one rule for Scream (2022). I’m not giving that away because when I say that this new film somehow managed to bend or break it, without making me hate the film, I don’t want to spoil anything. But if you know, you know…And yeah, I don’t hate it. I kinda love it.
So, what I will say is this: The Scream “requel,” as it’s dubbed within the film itself, was made for those of us who grew up with Sidney, who knew we’d always be safe from the latest slasher, as long as we were with Dewey and Gale. And yet…it’s also not made for us, not exactly.
The movie somehow manages to be a love letter to the fans of the original, mixing in so many references and parallels, it’s probably impossible to catch them all on a single viewing. But it also fixes the severe and chronic lack of representation plaguing pretty much all of our ’90s and early 2000s faves.
Scream (2022) doesn’t feature a quirky camera guy and “sassy bff” stereotype as the only “main” characters of color past the opening kill like in Scream 2; there’s no Black cop who makes a quip about guys who look like him always being killed just before, you know, being over-killed as in Scream 4. Instead, Woodsboro actually looks a bit more like the real world this time around.
Two latinx women, Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega, drive the story in ways that are both familiar and totally brand new. See also: The “holy shit” that came out of my mouth in one particular Sam (Barrera) moment was truly the result of me being shocked by a franchise I thought I knew everything about and could predict in every possible way but was…so, so wrong about. But I digress.
Barrera and Ortega are forces to be reckoned with. Full stop. Even without all the beautiful nods to the movie that started it all, I’d be falling in love all over again because of these two, Barrera in particular. (If you are just now meeting her in Scream, get on the Starz app and see her kick ass in Vida, for the love of God.)
Is anyone going to beat a Sidney or a Gale for me? Will there ever be another Deputy Dewey or a film expert quite like Randy Meeks in my world? Almost certainly not. But are these two young women the standard for the new generation? Yes. They are, in fact, beyond.
Speaking of Randy…As we learned from Sarah and Ash on the Scream movie’s official TikTok ARG, we have the dearly departed’s niece and nephew, who are of course key players—Mindy Meeks-Martin, played by queer, biracial Jasmin Savoy Brown, and her twin brother, Chad (Mason Gooding.) Again, without giving too much away, they just fit. And the way their connection to Randy is handled is equal parts hilarious, touching, and just…right for this franchise.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson had gotten the band back together again and just done their thing, just like they’ve always done since back in the days of my slasher-nerd youth. It’s so beautifully, sometimes heartbreakingly, clear from start to finish that Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett both knew and loved what Craven and Williamson started over 25 years ago. The film they made here is, quite simply, the best form of flattery…But it’s not mere imitation, as is usually described that way. No. It’s inspiration. It’s almost like they found this piece of artwork somewhere, starting to gather dust, and went on a mission to restore it but found, along the way, they could make something totally their own.
Basically, this movie is just really, really good and not at all what I was terrified it would be. It’s not out here to ruin my childhood (teen and young adulthood?) or disrespect any legends. The filmmakers obviously even knew about fans’ fear of destroying something precious to us well enough to get a bit meta: They poked delicious fun at our worries and at themselves—we stan self-deprecating kings—with (I guess this is the one direct spoiler I’ll give y’all here) their Stab 8 clips within the film. That detail alone was proof that we were seen and heard, just like every single nod to the Woodsboro of our youth.
So, if you’re protective of Scream like I’ve always been and have been afraid to see what this reboot looks like because of it, don’t be. There’s really nothing to fear but Ghostface himself.
A few thoughts that didn’t make this Scream (2022) review’s final cut…
- Ok but the angst…What does it say about me that one of my all-time ships came from a horror movie? Anyone?
- No but…those sets. Even some of those camera angles. Some actual physical sequences…It’s them. It’s, it’s…that’s my favorite scary movie.
- The music.
- The Gale Weathers to Jennifer Aniston connection continues to be hilarious AF. Like, they talked about this in some of the interviews leading up to Scream (2022)’s release. I’m still shook.
- Neve Campbell’s voice. During that one phone call. I cried.
- “To some people, the original is their favorite thing in the world.” Yes, I took notes. And yes, I am absolutely “some people.”
- Hm. I bet those still taste like ass.
- The kills are…whew. These directors said, “fuck having chill.” I appreciate that. I bet Wes would, too. (Am I allowed to take his name in vain like that?)
- “Oh, my God. You’re…you’re you.” BIG. MOOD.
- I’m just saying Scream (2022) is all about the multi-generational girl power. And like, this must lead to multi-generational stanning.
- Sid. And. Gale.
- There’s this one look from Courteney Cox that had me absolutely howling. The Gale Weathers Bitch Factor was off the charts, and it was such a small thing that did it.
- Speaking of: There’s one particular “fuck you” in this movie that literally gave me a sore throat because of my reaction to it.
- “Enjoy that torch.”
Scream (2022) is in theaters now.