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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For 5Cream

Posted by October 18th, 2022 No Comments »

Scream (2022)
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Melissa Barrera

This is the fifth Scream film. Can you believe Wes Craven was able to deconstruct modern horror with FOUR films before he died? This was an especially amazing feat given he helped redefine the genre in the first place. Could a new set of directors, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, tap into what made the originals so special? Could they successfully emulate the films that were meta before meta was called meta?

You can’t have a film with Scream in the title without Sidney Prescott played by Neve Campbell. Who else is still alive in this fictional universe? Former real-life husband and wife Courteney Cox and David Arquette return as Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley. Dewey is a retired sheriff and Gale is still an intrepid reporter. Sidney is still a traumatized woman locking herself away from the past, but this time is the mother of a child. These beloved characters give fans of the originals a bit of the nostalgia needed to jump into yet another Scream story.

And it’s the new story that makes Scream 2022 engaging. In fact, we don’t see the legacy players until well into the film, and I hardly noticed. The new tale of young Tara Carpenter and “just back in town” sister Sam was riveting enough to capture my attention. Early on, Tara and Sam’s circle of friends teach us how horror tropes “work” and in turn remind us that the franchise has its own set of tropes.

“I scream you scream we all scream for 5cream!”

These sisters are the heart of the story. Tara is played by Jenna Ortega with panache and vigor. Older sister Sam is played by Melissa Barrera, who brilliantly conveys a tortured mind and sets up a great reveal in the third act. Barrera’s performance shows a real depth of range given her Scream character is in such sharp contrast to her equally-exceptional performance in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s 2021 musical In The Heights. Add some great young actors as the aforementioned group of friends, and, by the time the legacy characters show up, we don’t need them but are glad to see them.

The violence, like in all Scream films, is hyper-realistic and difficult to watch, but these moments are balanced by the meta-comedic-moments for which the franchise is famous. The tropes are once again deconstructed, but is a deconstructed trope of a trope now just the original trope? I’m not sure.

This pair of directors wowed me with Ready or Not (2019). Will it be enough for me to view their first film, the poorly rated Devil’s Due (2014)? Probably not, but, going forward, I will watch any film directed by this pair. They seem to adept at this ever changing genre.

If the original Scream and Scream 2 are A’s, Scream 3 is a B, and Scream 4 is a C, then this new film, (that should have been titled 5cream), is a B+.

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