August 12, 2022
Scream Paramount+ Review

Ghostface returns in Paramount Pictures’ fifth chapter in the long-running horror franchise. Are you ready to Scream once again?

For the most part, I hate reboots, remakes, and pointless cash-in movies based on popular horror movies. For every one they get right (Halloween 2018), there are ten that get it completely wrong (Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Psycho 1998, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003, A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010, etc). But then we have the so-called ‘Requels’, films that are reboots and sequels all in one. The aforementioned ‘Halloween 2018’ is a prime example. Here we have a film that reboots the franchise while being a damn good sequel in its own right. And so, we turn to ‘Scream 2022’, a film that happily admits to being a ‘Requel.’ It could have gone either way. But thankfully, it falls into the same category as ‘Halloween 2018’, becoming a worthy reboot and a terrific sequel.

I am a fan of the first two ‘Scream’ films. The third was pretty much ok but couldn’t match the first two slasher flicks. The fourth was a Hollywood exercise in squeezing the last breath and blood from a dying franchise. I hated it. So I had my reservations going into this fifth chapter. I shouldn’t have worried. The film opened in January of this year to critical and audience acclaim. And to great box office. A sixth and possible seventh film are on their way in the next year or two. But this fifth chapter will be dropping onto Paramount Plus UK on the 29th of July. To get you in the mood for it, check out the trailer below:

SYNOPSIS

The film takes place twenty-five years after the original Woodsboro murders when yet another Ghostface appears and begins targeting a group of teenagers who are each somehow linked to the original killings. Similar to previous entries, Scream combines the violence of the slasher genre with elements of black comedy and “whodunit” mystery to satirize the trend of reboots and legacy sequels. The film also provides commentary on the horror fandom culture, particularly the divide between “elevated horror” and classic slasher films.

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

OPENING

The film pulls off a masterstroke with its opening. It replicates, in certain ways, the opening to the original ‘Scream.’ It could have gone either way but thankfully, it works to the film’s advantage. You know the scene. A young girl is home alone when the phone rings, a mystery caller is on the other end who begins to terrify the girl, things begin to happen and Ghostface appears. But the opening, though very similar to Drew Barrymore’s cameo in the first film, moves things into the new technical age. Cell phones can be cloned, giving our killer an even bigger area in which to play around. Things such as door locks that used to be only able to be unlocked by hand, can now be locked and unlocked by a phone app. It is a scary prospect, one that the film uses to its advantage.

THE STORY

Once again, the town of Woodsboro is plagued by grisly murders carried out by Ghostface (once again masterly voiced by Roger L. Jackson). We are introduced to the new characters that will, for the most part, lead this new chapter. Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Jack Quaid, Jenna Ortega, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minette, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar are the new cast that we will follow through the film. Of course, not all of them will make it to the end credits. Along the way, secrets are revealed, and suspicions are raised against them all. All the while, the killings continue, leading the OG stars Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), Courtney Cox (Gale Weathers),  David Arquette (Dewey Riley), and Marley Shelton (Sheriff Judy Hicks) to make their reappearance.

THE DEATHS

It wouldn’t be a ‘Scream’ film without some gory deaths along the way. And the killings here don’t disappoint us. There are some shocks and frights along the way as Ghostface tears his/her way through the cast at will. Many deaths you can possibly predict. But at least two of them do come as complete shocks to the audience. Characters we thought would be safe end up on the wrong end of Ghostface’s knife, despatched brutally and with copious amounts of blood and gore. One character suffers a nasty death as we witness the knife being slowly pushed through their neck with their death throes making us wince in terror. The film doesn’t pull its punches in the onscreen murders, much to the delight of the fans of the franchise and slasher film fans in general.

THE WRITING

The screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick is inspired. The pair have taken the premise and moved it forward, kicking and screaming into the modern day. Their use of today’s technology to give Ghostface an edge gives the film a more modern angle while still keeping the formula that served the first films so well. They also went into the previous four films to create a screenplay that pays homage to what’s gone before and brings back certain nods that the fans will appreciate. And the film is also dedicated to the late master, Wes Craven in an extremely nice and moving touch.

THE CAST

Don’t be fooled by having the four OG characters return. They are only really in the film for possibly no more than twenty minutes. Out of the four of them, it is David Arquette as Dewey that gets the most screen time. It is the new cast that gets the lion’s share of the length of the movie. And that, to be honest, is as it should be. Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega shine in their roles as Sam and Tara Carpenter respectfully, their sisterly bond shining through at times. Sonia Ammar is short-changed in her role as Liv, however. She appears for one minute and then vanishes for a large part of the film, only making sporadic appearances until her big moment.

JACK QUAID

The rest do their jobs pretty well, coming across as would-be victims or would-be serial killers in equal measure. But it is Jack Quaid, coming off the back of his role as Hughie in the Prime Video series ‘The Boys’ that really excels. Out of all of the new cast, he is the one we cheer and root for from the minute we meet him. Quaid is a brilliant actor in his own right and we can see his leading man potential from the start.

THE OG STARS RETURN

But the film wouldn’t be the same without the OG stars making an appearance. David Arquette as Dewey is just as lovable as when we first met him way back in 1996. Marley Shelton as Judy Hicks, making her second appearance in the franchise is a welcome returnee, bringing the film to life. However, as expected, Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox are the ones we want to see. And despite having limited screentime, both are excellent once more. And the way the pair spar off each other in certain scenes is pure genius. I guarantee that one exchange, near the climax, will have the viewer not only laughing but cheering at the same time.

Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), left, and Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

VERDICT

The film is the perfect response to ‘Scream 4’. It dispenses with all the stuff that dragged that film down and replaced it with ideas and a script that does more than it needs to. It has rebuilt the bridges that the fourth film burned in style. Alongside the returning actors, the new cast, and several surprises along the way (listen to the voices in the party sequences and guess the former actors and actresses who have appeared in the franchise), the film expertly delivers a slasher film for the ages.

It is on par with the original film in many respects. And delivers the perfect ‘Requel’ that we were all hoping for. A scary, enjoyable slasher movie with a terrific dose of black comedy thrown in alongside the references we have come to expect. So, the question must remain, “Do you like scary movies?” Based on this film, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes.’

Scream‘ will be available to watch from July 29th, exclusively on Paramount Plus. If you haven’t subscribed yet or are considering doing so, you can start your membership here

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