By George William
The fifth installment in the iconic Scream franchise hit theaters in January and is now available to rent on Digital HD. If you haven’t caught up with the newest Ghostface Killer mystery, now is the perfect time to do so and see if you agree or disagree with our assessment. The first film in the franchise since the passing of director Wes Craven excels in a number of departments, but, unfortunately, doesn’t come together in others. So, what does Scream (2022) get right and what does it get wrong?
First and foremost, the newest Scream film feels like a Scream film. It would be easy for a fifth franchise out of the hands of the legendary Wes Craven to go pretty awry pretty quickly, but that’s not the case here. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gilett, who helmed the excellent Ready or Not, confidently step into Craven’s shoes. The script from James Vanderbilt and Gus Busick is characteristically sharp. This is the fifth installment in the franchise, it’s a requel (reboot + sequel), and it’s called Scream (not Scream 5), all of which the writers have lots of fun with. The meta-ness of the Scream franchise has always what’s made it stand out amongst the preponderance of slasher films out there and, thankfully, Scream (2022) continues this tradition strongly.
As much as Scream is a horror franchise, it is also, at its heart, a mystery. Unlike Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street, we never know who our slasher(s) is/are in a given installment of Scream. Scream (2022) executes its mystery very well, keeping you guessing until the big reveals unfold in the third act.
Amidst its rather sizable cast, David Arquette steals the show here. His Deputy Dewey character remains a fan favorite for over 30 years for a reason – he is so undeniably genuine, likable, and warm, all of which Arquette beautifully brings out in his performances.
Last but not least, the commentary about modern fandom and toxicity among fans is executed to perfection in Scream (2022).
Unfortunately, there’s a number of things Scream (2022) struggles with. Let’s start with it’s handling of the legacy characters. While Arquette’s Dewey is handled well (for the most part), his counterparts in Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott and Courteney Cox’s Gale Weathers feel more like caricatures. They’re badass, yes, but they deliver one-liners rather flatly and take away momentum from the film’s compelling lead Sam Carpenter, played by Melissa Barrera, in its second act.
While the meta lens through which Scream’s story unfolds fits right in with its predecessors, it’s not as clever as it thinks. Take away a few witty lines of dialogue and Scream (2022) plays worryingly similar to the original film in the franchise. Some may see this as intentional and, while it obviously is, Scream (2022) would have benefited from going a bit beyond its acknowledgment as a requel.
Scream (2022) is now available on Digital HD.