Scream ★★★★★

Scream is a horror sequel (or do we say requel now?) set twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro when a new Ghostface emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth.

THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE - I will write a spoiler review when I rewatch the film.

Twenty five years following the original and eleven years since Scream 4, this franchise has only grown in popularity so naturally, for most fans, expectations have been very high for this fifth entry in the franchise and it really delivers. Scream is, for me, the best film to come out of this franchise to the original, it’s the closest you’re ever going to get to something being just as good as the latter mentioned masterpiece and I’m saying that as someone who loves the other sequels. Something just feels very different here, this feels like it could have the power to do the exact same thing for a new generation of horror fans that the original did back in 1996.

From the incredible opening scene alone, it’s clear Radio Silence are here to make something completely new and fresh whilst still being completely respectful to Wes Craven and everything he had built up until this point; it’s a love letter to the franchise as a whole, to the horror genre as a whole and to Craven’s career and reputation as a master of horror. It’s difficult to discuss the premise without delving into spoiler territory but I’ll keep this review completely spoiler free and I’ll say this, this is one of the best and most exciting premises to come out of this franchise.

The camp soap opera moments that the franchise has built so well are all in place, the hilarious comedic moments are ever so slightly more subtle but they’re very much still in place and most importantly, this is trying its absolute best to be a good old fashioned scary movie within the slasher sub genre and this really is one of the best slasher films of recent years. The kills are so over the top and brutal to the point it was a little jarring. The gore and practical effects are the best we’ve seen so far in any Scream film, whenever a character is killed, you’re seeing it all in graphic detail with nothing left to the imagination.

The commentary on the horror genre is amusing and absolutely on point for modern day, touching on the many things we’ve seen within the genre since 2011 including requels, films with the same name as the original but acting as a sequel with legacy characters (I mean, the total for this film does that alone but the characters discuss it a fair bit) and elevated horror, high brow horror with complex themes that includes the likes of The Babadook, The Witch, Hereditary, etc. The film perfectly ties elements of both into the execution of this film and it works so damn well. It’s paired with a brutally honest look at toxic fandom and the expectations of film fans across all genres to have everything exactly how they want it. It does this in such a way that ties into the premise and gets its message across loud and clear, it’s brilliant and helps make the film feel so ridiculously relevant.

The new cast members all do such an incredible job featuring standout performances from Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mikey Madison and Mason Gooding. It’s the duo of Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega that steak the show when it comes to the newcomers though. The latter provides the better performance out of the two but they’re both great and their characters, Sam and Tara, are so easy to become invested in. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette return to provide the best performances we’ve seen from them in the franchise so far. For me, they all had the right amount of screen time to let the new characters shine through and have their moments, whilst still having enough screen time to have plenty of their own standout moments.

Sidney, Gale and Dewey all feel so much more mature this time around, and it’s clear to see how the events from the previous films have traumatised them, something that helps make this film feel like the most serious entry of the franchise so far and something that helps make these familiar characters feel even more sympathetic than in the previous sequels. Of course, it’s also amazing to see Marley Shelton return as Deputy Judy.

Shelton is so good in this role and it was great to see her come back to be the centre of one of the film’s best scenes. The cinematography is stunning, elevating the intensity of so many scenes with quick paced editing, expert lighting and fantastic camera work that really knows how to get the viewer on the edge of their seat. The soundtrack goes hand in hand with the cinematography, providing an incredible score that both provides callbacks to familiar moments from the previous films as well as doing its own thing to create moments of nail biting suspense and tension.

Overall, Scream is the perfect example of how to make the perfect sequel. Acting as a love letter to Wes Craven, the Scream franchise and the horror genre as a whole as well as providing hilariously accurate commentary on modern horror and toxic fandom, this very well made, well written, well acted and ridiculously brutal slasher flick is one of the best slasher films of recent years as well as my favourite Scream sequel, one that has come extremely close to being just as good as the masterpiece original; this has set the bar very high for horror films in 2022.

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