Scream (2022) Review – AAAAH-some Fun and Frights Ahead

Scream (2022)

The original Scream still stands as one of the greatest horrors of recent times, primarily because it defies familiar slasher tropes and surprises us at every turn. It’s the first of its kind and single-handedly revived the horror genre. Unfortunately, the subsequent sequels that tried to revive the franchise died upon arrival. Yet, horror “requels” of classic franchises have become the norm lately. The problem is that most of them are either done great (Halloween) or poorly (Child’s Play). Luckily, Scream (2022) is a frightening affair populated with beloved legacy characters and appealing new ones.

While Scream (2022) acts as a homage to the original 1996 film, it also diverts expectations by playing upon the material we already know—as a Scream “requel” should do. At the same time, the movie combines in-jokes, the usual scares, and a biting social commentary on toxic fandom. The film sets up that last bit through a myriad of meta-on-meta plotting. In the real world, we had Scream, but in this world, we have Stab. Therefore, we have references to Stab, which is, as you know, a direct copy of the first Scream. As a result, writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick use Stab as a way to poke fun at the many toxic fandoms out there.

Sadly, some of these self-referential bits become too heavy-handed for their own good. Too much exposition about rules that a majority of the audience knows about already completely bogs down the film. At least these scenes are set up more humorously than the first film, which, in turn, makes them more palatable to watch. Much like the first Scream, once you know the rules of the movie, then it’s time for it to begin messing with you and your expectations. I mean, that’s half the fun of the franchise, and Scream (2022) does it in a variety of fun ways. 

The jump scares lay in waiting until it’s the right time for it to strike. It catches you off guard, and that’s where most of the fun of Scream (2022) happens.

Once again, the flick subverts several tropes from the horror genre (not just slashers) by doing the unexpected. Musical cues highlighting the impending doom of a character? Hah, we’re just kidding. The killer hiding behind a door that a character just opened? Nope, simply a red herring. It’s a trick that’s similar to the predator killer itself. The jump scares lay in waiting until it’s the right time for it to strike. It catches you off guard, and that’s where most of the fun of Scream (2022) happens.

However, that’s not indicative of the ensemble at all. The legacy stars haven’t lost a beat, while the newcomers prove to be a riveting lot. Chief among them is Jenna Ortega, who pops off the screen. Although she struggles to convincingly deliver her lines at times, Melissa Barrera is still able to bring forth a multi-layered character. 

Overall, Scream (2022) isn’t a film that’ll break new boundaries, nor will it revolutionize the genre as its predecessor did. Is it a delightful addition to the franchise? I think so, but there will be those who won’t like the film because of its close resemblance to the first Scream. Then again, that’s the whole point of the movie: To poke fun at Hollywood’s “requel” craze. What better way to do that than with a franchise that prides itself on commenting on subject matters such as this.

Also, yes, Matrix Resurrections did it first, but Scream did it better.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

Scream (2022) hits theaters on January 14th.

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